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Resolutions & Amendments

30th International Convention - Las Vegas, NV (1992)

Support of Free Speech for Reporters

Resolution No. 116
30th International Convention
June 15-19, 1992
Las Vegas, NV


Sandy Nelson, union activist and education reporter at the Tacoma, Washington Morning New Tribune, campaigned on behalf of a 1990 ballot measure endorsed by the Pierce County Labor Council to protect job and housing rights of lesbians and gay men; and


The Morning New Tribune retaliated by banishing the veteran reporter and Pacific Newspaper Guild member to a non-reporting job for refusing to cease her off-hours political and community activities and the MNT has refused to reinstate Nelson despite a union grievance and widespread community protest and national publicity; and


MNT newsroom employees have had no protection from such capricious behavior by MNT management since McClatchy Inc. bought the newspaper in 1986, abrogated all labor contracts and fueled a successful decertification drive in August 1991; and


Media corporations across the country have retaliated against other reporters for their political activity or views, including reporters who criticized a right-wing, anti-labor talk show host, participated in abortion rights demonstrations, asked critical questions of President Bush or engaged in similar free speech activity which is the lifeblood of a democratic and informed society; and


AFSCME has an interest in protecting and encouraging journalists like Nelson who are fair, accurate and knowledgeable because of their community and labor involvements.


That AFSCME join AFSCME Council 2 and other unions and civil rights organizations in endorsing the fight of the Sandy Nelson Defense Committee to restore Nelson to her reporting beat and in donating money to her defense fund; and


That AFSCME send a letter to Morning New Tribune publisher Kelso Gillenwater demanding Nelson's reinstatement to reporting and an end to retaliation against activist reporters.


Vikki Goodman, President and Delegate
AFSCME Local 435, Council 28