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The following is an editorial in the Union Producers and Programmers
Fall 2004 Newsletter.

Labor Media And The AFL-CIO Debate
 THE ONGOING DEBATE IN the AFL-CIO about the future direction of labor and
 how it is going to survive will be limited unless it includes the issue of a
 labor media strategy that involves all forms of media and how to use it in
 the battles against union busting multi-nationals and the governments they
 After spending over $200 million dollar on the this year's election cycle,
 the AFL-CIO and it's affiliates have nothing concrete to show for it. It has
 no labor tv channel, no labor radio channel, no national labor newspaper and
 no plan on how to challenge the corporate media as well as the corporate
 dominated PBS which millions of our members contribute to with their tax
 UPPNET has fought since it's inception in 1989 not only to support labor
 media on tv, radio and the internet but also to develop a labor media
 movement based not only on the institutional structures of labor but on the
 rank and file.
 Labor needs to train tens of thousands of unionists in locals throughout the
 country to produces labor tv and radio programming on community access tv,
 the internet and community radio stations.
 We need to develop a plan of action to protest anti-labor stories by the
 corporate media and PBS/NPR and to demand that labor get regular programming
 on PBS/NPR like business gets.
 How about a labor perspective on the economic news every day on tv and radio
 that can be listened to by millions.
 Every local should have a media committee that supports the training of
 members on how to use a video camera, edit and get it on the web and how to
 post pictures and articles on indymedia web sites around the country and
 Labor cannot rely on public relations firms to tell it's story. They cost
 too much and they negate the need to train  rank and file workers to start
 to tell the stories themselves and use new communication technology to get
 it out throughout the country. Only an engaged rank and file labor media
 movement can put the punch into a real media campaign.
 We have supported annual Labortech conferences www.labortech2004.org as a
 means  to develop our skills and to educate labor about corporate mediam how
 they control the agenda and how to challenge them. As we all know if you are
 not on tv today you are marginalized since most workers get their
 information from TV in the United States and most industrialized countries.
 We can learn an important lesson from the Korean labor movement where
 hundreds of labor videos are being streamed by nearly all the major unions
 and thousands of rank and file  Korean workers are being trained to do their
 own media.
 We have supported the proposal of CFT Communications Director Fred Glass
 that regional labor media centers be set up around the country to help do
 the training and help broadcast their stories. If the AFL-CIO had put aside
 $5 to $10 million of the money it spent on the last election cycle these
 labor media centers could be up and running around the country.
 The technology is in place now for 24 hour labor tv and labor radio
 programming in English, Chinese and Spanish to reach millions of workers in
 the US.
 The UPPNET supported initiative of WINS, the Workers Independent News
 Service www.laborradio.org is an important and historic step and it should
 just be the beginning but it has yet to be fully supported by locals and
 internationals that need to break the media blockade.
 We need in depth documentaries on tv and radio on the attack on pensions
 using the bankruptcy laws and the effort to end all defined pension
 programs. We need documentaries on the effects of deregulation and
 privatization and the war against labor's right to organize with case
 studies. Many independent producers are working night and day to get these
 docs out but they need help. Many such as "Thirst" on water privatization,
 "The Corporation" need to be shown in every city in the country.
 We need labor festivals in every city of the country that will have labor
 film and video festivals that present this rich material to workers and the
 millions of unorganized.
 This material will not be provided by corporate media and their bosses who
 want to hide these stories.
 It is up to us in labor to develop this labor agenda to go on the offensive
 media wise.
 The failure to include this in the growing debate within organized labor is
 something we cannot afford.
 If you agree with this agenda and some of the proposals please contact us.
 We want to build support for them at the AFL-CIO convention this coming July
 in Chicago. 
 UPPNET News is the publication of Union Producers and Programmers Network
 (Promoting production and use of tv and radio shows pertinent to the cause
 of organized labor and working people)

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