July 1996

One Big Media Union?

People who don't come to Branch meetings say we spend too much time on internal politics. People who do, try to remember when we did. In June, though, we did deal with a deeply trade-union issue. Tony Lennon, President of BECTU, spoke -- entertainingly, we thought -- on the future for media unions. As far as the internal politics go, union officers are "a bit like Bill Clinton talking about marijuana: I'm willing to have the discussion, but I won't inhale."

But: "The hype about the Information Superhighway doesn't go one-tenth of the way to explaining the impact it might have on us workers. We're seeing a convergence of philosophy and rationale among the congomerates. They don't own empires that produce newspapers, or movies, or whatever. They see themselves as owners of intellectual properties and they don't necessarily give a damn about what form that property takes.

"Could we create a trade union which began to match that web of cross-ownership? If you stand back far enough, the reasons are obvious; but unless people like you start to talk about it, it's not going to happen."

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