A word about Online Union Activist's

inspired and with quotes by friend and mentor Richard Negri from UnionReview.com

We are getting larger, we have friends who are Union activists online and we are making a difference, with UnionReview as the meeting place we have been able to generate a great show of interest in the online Labor movement. The administration of UnionReview, myself, Chuck Lazette, Richard Negri and Steve Dondley all have our own separate blog sites. But as you will read below in the quotes from Richard, we all get involved spreading the message onto other forums, sites and blogs. We spread ourselves out using information we shared with each other to use facts in our statements, comments and stories.

For me I use this blog to help generate traffic for UnionReview and also get some more lightweight material and personnel opinion pieces published without tainting the UR Labor movement status by clogging the front page with my non and slightly related stories. I feel more at ease blabbing about more localized issues, politics and media censoring here.

Chuck, who is an upstate New York Carpenter and quite a videographer runs his blog the UBCNewsroom-Union Carpenters News And Information, UBCNewsroom is dedicated, but not limited to Carpenter union news, the fight against misclassification of workers, safety issues, politics, workplace injustice. A lot of Chucks stories wind up on UnionReview, he has definitely helped me learn a thing or two about the latest breaking news in NYS labor laws, worker misclassification and his videos have been the rage on the net, especially the rally against Orange County Choppers who are building without union carpenters and electricians. Chuck is the guy who said "you need your own site". Thanks Chuck, now my girlfriend hates my computer even more.

Steve Dondley, is a very busy man nowadays, he is the backbone and owner/operator of Prometheus Labor Communications, which makes union made websites. Steve was a former organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers in MA., who when at that job realized "(that) the poltical dynamics and intrinsic unfairness of the employer-employee relationships weren't revealed to me until I became an organizer". Steve lost his job when the membership in his area dropped by 1/3rd when Wal-Mart came to town and union Caldor and Bradlees stores, which people could earn a decent living, closed their doors for good. But that didn't stop Steve, he learned everything he could about the world wide web, while continuing his dedication to the labor movement by working as an occupational safety and health educator, community organizer, and volunteering time with his local labor council. In 1999 he built his first union made website for his former employer UFCW Local 1459. Steve is all over the internet, but unfortunately he is a very busy man now, a quick Google can show you how many sites he posts on regularly and his past, that man has 5,680 hits all by himself. If he could be cloned, the second one not owning his own company, he would probably post more stories than me, Chuck and Richard combined. Now I'm not sure of ownership, but when I think of Steve, Communicate Or Die is the site that would most fits his mission:
" One of my key missions in life is to do what I can to help the labor movement grow and flourish. And so, my current work, building websites for labor organizations, is very fulfilling for me. It combines my passions for technology and communication with my goal to serve the cause of labor."
Richard Negri, well what can I say about him, when we first talked on the phone he was working piece work in the mother of all Right to work states Florida, to make ends meet, but he had a dream. The dream was to fill the gap that labor left behind, up to date immediate rank-and-file communication. He grew up in Brooklyn, NY, in an area where the thing to do after high school was to get a good union job, and while Richard, like myself has seen the ups and downs of those jobs, he also never strayed from the path of getting information out there, not just the bad deeds of labor unions, but the good information for and about workers. Workers who stick together, workers who fight with or without union support and make the world a better place, if the rank-and-file and the general public could see that when we stick together with other workers it can make the labor movement stronger. Richard is very bright and has a lot of "Hutzpah", he can feel other working peoples needs and with his own special empathy can bring that story directly to your computer screen. Richard is the creator of UnionReview, who I befriended through MySpace, he encouraged me to post my first Blog story about Hershey's Chocolate moving a mass of it's operations into Mexico and losing 1,500 union members in the process. Without Richard's inspiration and his bulletin's through MySpace you probably wouldn't be reading this.

Thanks fellas, but let me not forget to mention all the inspiration in this new labor frontier I receive, Eric Lee and the staff at Labourstart, Mike Hall and staff at the AFL-CIO WebBlog, Building Bridges Radio, WIN Radio- Workers Independent News, Brain Labor Report, the IWW- Independent Workers of the World web staff, the Big Labor website, the guys and gals at Shop Union Made- very up to date on American and Union Made products, People's Weekly World, SolidarityMail and people doing what our crew is doing on their own blogs and forums, Working Life, Jimmy and TeamstersOnline.com, Mike at Springfield, MA Union News, Larry Hubich's Blog, Talking Union Blog. Then theres all the people I get stories from on MySpace, almost too many to name, but heres a few ~ ♥ my Laborer~, Bert, The Man Common, Todd M. Jordan, Erin Brockovich, etc. . And the most encouraging aspect of doing this are the people who you meet in the real world, the ones that read and give you ideas , like George G., the man who got my unions site started and I wish had some more time to write a story or 2, Jimbo638 who shot me an e-mail about HowToBuyAmerican.com and some other very interesting sites I haven't visited , like Labor Educator, American Rights At Work and American Economic Alert, My buddy Charlie P. who pointed out Story Corps, a site where people can record their story which will be broadcast on public radio, the internet and archived at the Library Of Congress for our future generations, Gene Jackson and Flip Wilson, the retired Steamfitter and Fireman who sell shirts to help fund the Wounded Warrior Project, who also go out of their way to help in every aspect in our wounded returning veterans to get desperately needed medical assistance, lodging here for that treatment and getting these seriously injured back into believing that they can maintain a somewhat normal lifestyle, those two absolutely amaze me and I'm gathering info for an updated story on them. My man Dennis the local 79 Laborer here who doesn't know how to turn on a PC but wants to know as much as possible, Big Kevin the Teamster on the dump truck at work. The folks at the NYC Central Labor council, who never fail to get the e-mail's out to keep us in the know about labor strife and rallies here in NYC. And to all the people who I've handed a UnionReview leaflet to and actually read it. Everyone who tells me they like what they see. Even the comments here are so greatly appreciated. God theres just so much more people to thank and I'm tired, so without further ado, the reason I wrote all this:
(directly from Richard's post at UnionReview)

Union Activists Blogging - A Basic How-To Approach

I had an interesting discussion with some friends about union activists blogging. In that chat I mentioned that workers who are getting their news online, especially at the online version of their local paper or television stations, should always be on the look out for a comment box at the end of the story. If there is one available, get a user name and password and offer up your 2-cents.

On many local papers’ websites I have found that getting a user name and a password is not only painfully simple, it is generally a very fast process. And as for a quick hint: I have found using one user name and password at every site I visit a safe and secure way to remember how to log on when I am especially heated about something that I read; which happens often.Innocent

It is almost cliché at this point to say that stories affecting working people, especially union workers, are not very well presented in mainstream media. This is where our work comes in as activists.

I find myself telling people not to worry about their typing skills or grammar, the most important thing is to get heard – and then tell people where you are posting so that we can support what you are doing. I am of the opinion that workers of every trade are rarely, if ever, asked what they think by mainstream media reporters. Instead, workers are often asked how they feel about this or that situation. Interestingly enough, a CEO or a company manager is never asked how he feels about much of anything. I have made this argument in the past, and it is worthwhile to bring up again: Working people can and do think and our thoughts should be heard and understood. We can save our feeling for own personal diaries and conversations with family and friends, but when it comes to discussing something as important as our working lives and our unions, it is critical we organize our thoughts and share those thoughts.

With the open access of comment boxes on mainstream media news stories, we have a unique opportunity to speak up and get heard -- and I urge everyone to do this in their free time.

Finally, the question of anonymity comes into play. Some workers might be less than giving with their personal information or use their real names. My reply to this is generally the same: then don’t! If you are really concerned about being tracked down, open a free Yahoo email account (or any other) and use that email strictly for your blogging activity.

For many people this blog on blogging will seem obvious and common sense, and that’s cool – but for those who are just getting cozy with their computers and getting online, maybe it will be of some help – that is my intention, anyway.

Chuck replied:
skills to publish
This a most important story for me to read, I've known Richard for some time now and we have talked about this platform many of times. The key to being a blogger is the way you present yourself, understandable some people don't have the skills to publish the same kind of content as others with more experience but, with a little practice you will soon see major results that make the story stick out. So if there anyone out there that thinks they are imune to writing good stories, a blog, is ablog, is a blog... So, Keep writing... Things Can Only Get Better...
I think what Richard explained is a great Activist maneuver, we have spoken in the past about getting the word out, you too can do it, even in unfriendly territory, if you have facts no one will ever continue the argument, or at least only those with a factual opinion will. This goes back into the anti-union sentiment I have previously posted about. The idea that someone will just post "I hate unions" or "unions destroy jobs" cannot go unanswered. Only we can make the difference, and the 4 of us need your help in doing that.

Please note that I haven't touched the Facebook story in this article, but it is definitely a worthwhile read.

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All views are welcome, please post links, if any, that have to do with the story, as this will help myself and other readers to follow for more information. Thanks, Joe