Thursday, March 10, 2011

Members of the Newspaper Guild at the Baltimore Sun approve new three-year contract extension

In a story dripping with irony today, the Baltimore Sun has posted a story reporting that members of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild have approved a three-year contract extension with a voice vote. The Guild represents around 225 employees at the newspaper, less than half the number that were represented four years ago, according to the story.

Also posted online today is a virulently anti-union column by George W. Liebmann that claims that the same anti-union legislation that is at the center of the controversy in Wisconsin could, and should, be passed in Maryland. Liebmann represents the Calvert Institute for Policy Research -- I'll leave it to you to Google this organization to discover its political leanings.

Since the major networks are clearly ill-equipped to cover events in Madison today -- CNN's lone reporter on the scene is currently locked in the Capitol chamber and can't see what is going on outside -- here are a few detail gleamed from social media:

Students at Madison East High School have walked out of class and have marched on the Capitol. About 1,600 students took the long walk to the center of the protests escorted by police cars (update: another report confirms the walk-out, but says the number is more like 800-1,000 -- a tweet also has just reported that students at Madison West have walked out, as well).

Madison Major Dave Cieslewicz has authorized the city attorney to pursue any legal actions possible following the vote, accusing the state Republicans of violating state open meeting laws. Twitter tweets say the mayor is leading his own city workers in a walk-out to join the protest, though this can not be confirmed.

State troopers are pulling protesters out of the legislative chambers, while most of the press is being denied entrance. Some background: the head of the state troopers is the father of the State Majority leader, and was just recently named to his post in the middle of the budget repair bill controversy. This may explain why the troopers are at the Capitol in riot gear, while local and Capitol police are not.