Wednesday, January 19

Union-praising magazine publisher's staff joins UAW

This is just too funny:

Seems Harper's Magazine is in financial trouble, losing money hand over fist. (No, that's not the funny part.) Its "publisher and patron," John MacArthur--heir to a ceramics fortune--has been keeping it afloat by injecting cash from his own pocket.

In 2009 he paid $4.4 million to keep the mag going. So he clearly has a big stake in the enterprise.

MacArthur is a total liberal, and has staunchly defended unions. In fact, in a 2009 Harper's piece he called the UAW “the country’s best and traditionally most honest mass labor organization.”

(If you have trouble seeing "best and most honest" in the same sentence with "UAW," you're not alone.)

Anyway, MacArthur--tired of having to pump money into the mag year after year--has been trying to cut costs by trimming staff. This ticked off the staff, and they responded by (here's the funny part) voting to join a union.

Now, there's a union called the Newspaper Guild of America, so you'd think....Nah, too logical. Instead the staff voted to join...the UAW.

Mac then tried to have his senior editorial staff classified as "management," thus preventing them from joining the union. This would have allowed the mag to keep publishing in the event of a strike.

The editors made a formal complaint, and the issue went to that bastion of left-wing symps, the NLRB. Which ruled against MacArthur. So his editors are now members of the union.

So MacArthur is now caught in a trap set by his own leftist politics: He can't continue to try various cost-cutting moves without triggering a strike. In particular, he can't fire the two editors who spearheaded the unionization drive without paying a HUGE penalty, since the union will claim "retaliation."

Finally, if he were to sell his stake in the mag he'd get just pennies on the dollar (if he got any offer at all) since the mag is a money pit *and* is now unionized.

A less ideological person would simply shut down the mag and leave the wanna-be-king former employees unemployed--at a time when the entire magazine industry is in a layoff mode. That would be some major poetic justice.

But if he did that Mac would be admitting that the unions he'd praised so highly for so long had snookered him--and somehow I get the idea that he'd rather spend every cent he inherited before he'd admit his praise was totally misplaced--equivalent to the nonsensical ramblings of a child.

So...there he'll sit, writing big checks every year to pay the salaries of the folks who have effectively stolen his business and yet continue to collect their salaries from his personal bank account.

That is *some* lesson. Wonder if he or any other rich leftist will get it?

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