Commentary

Hearst's Union Conflicts Expose Generational Rifts

Management at Hearst Magazines was shaken up after editorial employees voted to unionize, an effort that highlights how publishers need to be more cognizant of the millennial workforce's attitudes toward employers.

Hearst management doesn't appear likely to recognize the union voluntarily. It seeks to thwart employees' efforts to organize by urging some workers to withdraw their support, while characterizing the union as a threat to its "culture and values," New York's Sarah Jones reported this week.

Culture and values are malleable ideas, and completely useless in negotiating matters that have become more important to people who work in publishing. The industry is suffering from lost readership and declining ad sales, leaving many worried about their jobs.

The millennial generation, which is generally categorized as those born between 1980 and 1996, is especially sensitive to these financial worries.

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The Great Recession was traumatizing to people who either saw their families suffer significant hardships or experienced their own difficulties in starting a career, establishing a household and doing all the things that typically come with adulthood.

Countless surveys indicate that millennials are more likely to favor socialism, which may explain why many Hearst workers voted to unionize.

While unionization shouldn't be confused with nationalizing industries and ending capitalism, the idea of organizing workers to make collective demands of their employers is likely to appeal to anyone who wants the government to provide greater economic security.

1 comment about "Hearst's Union Conflicts Expose Generational Rifts".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 21, 2019 at 8:53 a.m.

    What's next---a copy writers' union for ad agencies, a network TV time buyers' union, a brand managers' union, a trainees' union? Maybe we will soon see a management's union---or a U.S. senators' union---or, even more interesting a womens' or mens' union. But, please,  let's start the ball rolling with a millennials' union----that should be fun to watch.

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