Four major newspaper unions have decided to band together to try to effect a change in the American newspaper industry. The group, the Newspaper Industry Coordinating Committee, represents a shift of strategy for labor's involvement in media affairs. Instead of concentrating on labor-management problems at various local newspapers, the committee is focusing on industry-wide matters. These include the increasing concentration of newspaper ownership within a few corporate hands, and a push to get the United States to better monitor foreign control of the media.
``One of these days, foreigners are going to buy those papers,'' says Thomas McGrath, director of the newspaper and driver division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. ``Someone has to stand up and say something about it, and we think we are the group to do it.''
The group includes the Teamsters, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Graphic Communications International Union, and the Newspaper Guild.
One of the problems with newspaper strikes in the recent past has been the lack of coordination, particularly between the Teamsters and the other unions. With the reaffiliation of the Teamsters with the AFL-CIO in 1987, labor leaders say that inter-union cooperation will increase.
``The reaffiliation of the teamsters has greatly contributed to the ability to take care of jurisdictional disputes and a great deal of bitterness that is now history,'' CWA president Morton Bahr says.