Union Membership Slumps
The percentage of Americans who are members of a union plunged back to its pre-pandemic low in 2021 despite several high-profile efforts to organize workers at employers.
10.3% of workers belonged to a union in 2021, matching 2019’s low. It’s down from 10.6% in 2020, when the share temporarily spiked due to a disproportionate and temporary decrease in total nonunion workers due to pandemic shutdowns. The big picture: The national unionization rate has been steadily drifting down for decades. It was 20.1% in 1983, the first year of comparable figures.
How Newsrooms Are Experimenting With Twitter Spaces
Twitter Spaces launched as a mobile-only product for a select number of hosts back in December 2020. Eric Zuckerman, head of U.S. news partnerships for Twitter, said he and his team have been talking to newsrooms about using Spaces for the past year. Zuckerman stated social audio like Twitter Spaces presents “an opportunity for newsrooms and journalists to have an open and authentic conversations with their audiences about what’s happening in the world and about the stories that they’re covering,” he said.
Houston Will Get A $20m Startup Newsroom
A group of philanthropies is launching an independent nonprofit news organization in Houston with initial funding of more than $20 million, marking one of the biggest investments into local news in recent years.
The investments—$7.5 million each from the Houston Endowment and the Kinder Foundation, $4 million from Arnold Ventures, $1.5 million from the American Journalism Project, and $250,000 from the Knight Foundation––are for an initial period of three years.
The endeavor follows a two-year research effort led by the American Journalism Project, a venture philanthropy dedicated to local journalism. The newsroom, which is as yet unnamed, will begin operating in late 2022 or early 2023, the group said.
Business Groups Urge Congress To Create National Privacy Standard
The Association of National Advertisers, Interactive Advertising Bureau, U.S. Chamber of Congress and other business groups are asking lawmakers to pass a privacy law that would override state measures. “A growing patchwork of state laws are emerging which threaten innovation and create consumer and business confusion,” dozens of organizations said in a letter sent to Congress this week.
The groups signing the letter say a federal privacy standard should “provide meaningful and robust protections for consumers,” but do not offer details. The organizations also say the standard should only be enforceable by federal agencies and state attorneys general — which would preclude consumers from suing over violations. The letter was signed by 15 national organizations and dozens of local business groups throughout the country.
Federal lawmakers have put forward numerous privacy bills in the last several years, but none appear to have gained traction. Two of the major sticking points are whether a national bill should override state laws, and whether consumers should be able to sue over violations.
Suit Alleges Google Misled About Ad Price Fixing
Google misled publishers and advertisers about the inner workings of its ad auctions, according to newly unredacted allegations in a December 2020 lawsuit brought against the company by state attorneys general. The complaint reveals Google misled publishers and advertisers for years about the pricing and processes of its ad auctions, creating secret programs that deflated sales for some companies while increasing prices for buyers.
The company “pocketed the difference between what it told publishers and advertisers that an ad cost and used the pool of money to manipulate future auctions to expand its digital monopoly,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The documents cite internal correspondence in which Google employees said some of these practices amounted to growing its business through ‘insider information.’”
Google told the WSJ that the lawsuit is “full of inaccuracies and lacks legal merit” and says it intends to file a motion to dismiss it next week.