WaPo Reporter Accuses NewsGuild of Sexual Misconduct Cover-Up – California Respiratory Therapists Strike – N.C. McDonald’s Workers Fed Up

NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss in LA Times staff photo (LA Times)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where it is a very good day for Payday Report. 

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Washington Post Reporter Accuses NewsGuild of Sexual Misconduct Cover-Up

Over the weekend, NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss held an open-invitation NewsGuild union town hall meeting attended by over 100 reporters. 

At the meeting, he was grilled over the union’s inaction on multiple complaints and warnings of sexual misconduct against former Pittsburgh NewsGuild President Michael Fuoco. 

Earlier on Friday evening, Washington Post education reporter Moriah Balingit, who accused Fuoco of sexual misconduct, took to Twitter to also blast Pittsburgh NewsGuild leadership for writing that they had no knowledge of sexual misconduct in a letter they released on December 9. 

Hi @PGHGuild, this statement is pathetic and woefully inadequate. There was no “cover up”? Members of your executive committee WITNESSED SOME OF THIS HARASSMENT,” wrote Balingit on Twitter. 

Why Melk Reported Sexual Misconduct Complaint to the Union 

Over the past week, I have received some criticism for reporting Moriah Balingit’s sexual misconduct complaint to the union that I would like to address. 

Initially, Balingit gave me permission to report knowledge of Fuoco’s sexual predatory behavior to the NewsGuild without naming her, which I did in a December 2019 email. However, in January of 2020, NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss informed me that the NewsGuild would not open an investigation unless I provided a name. 

The NewsGuild promised me that the decision to reveal this would remain entirely confidential. But recently they leaked this information to reporters and in their initial report of the incident, which contains many inaccuracies, in an effort to discredit me for breaking journalistic ground rules and distract from their failures in addressing sexual misconduct in their own ranks.

As The New York Times reported, I gave the NewsGuild my source’s name and they did not contact her for eight months until August of 2020, which was 8 months after I urged them to investigate dozens of times. 

At no time did we at Payday ever use Balingit’s story for publication purposes, honoring our agreement to not publish her information. Journalists, like therapists and doctors, are bound by confidentiality on most matters, but there are exceptions to report information about sexual abuse as I did to prevent harm to others in the future. 

Research shows that women often don’t report sexual abuse for a wide variety of reasons. Therefore, it is recommended that therapists and doctors report incidents of sexual abuse immediately to the authorities to prevent harm to future people. 

After consulting with experts in sexual violence,  I felt a duty to report it to the union to prevent future harm to other women and to protect the union as it headed into a strike. 

I am proud of the work I did that led to Fuoco’s resignation and I stand by my decision to attempt to force our union to take action by immediately reporting my knowledge of a sexual predator in our leadership ranks. 

Health Care Workers Strike in Castro Valley of California 

While TV cameras broadcast round-the-clock images of healthcare workers getting the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, other healthcare workers went on strike over unsafe working conditions. 

A group of more than 140 respiratory therapists went on strike today  in California’s Castro Valley at Sutter Health Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley of California. 

“We’re burned out, the last ten months have been brutal and it’s getting even worse as we speak,” Maleah Best, a Medical Lab Technician at Eden Medical Center told KTVU. “We want more staff. We want the patients to get the care they need and we don’t have the staff to do that.”

For more, check out KTVU. 

Durham McDonald’s Workers Go on Strike 

In Durham, North Carolina a group of McDonald’s workers are on strike after a co-worker tested positive for COVID, but nobody in the restaurant was notified. 

“We demand that McDonald’s take our safety seriously,” McDonald’s worker Monteigo Wilson told INDY Week. “Pay for workers to get tested. Shut down the store and bring in a professional cleaning crew to make sure it’s really safe. And pay workers who need to quarantine.” 

For more, head to INDY Week. 

Shoplifting Skyrockets During the Pandemic 

Finally, The Washington Post has a long look at how shoplifting has skyrocketed during the pandemic: 

Early in the pandemic, Joo Park noticed a worrisome shift at the market he manages near downtown Washington: At least once a day, he’d spot someone slipping a package of meat, a bag of rice or other food into a shirt or under a jacket. Diapers, shampoo and laundry detergent began disappearing in bigger numbers, too.

Since then, he said, thefts have more than doubled at Capitol Supermarket — even though he now stations more employees at the entrance, asks shoppers to leave backpacks up front and displays high-theft items like hand sanitizer and baking yeast in more conspicuous areas. Park doesn’t usually call the police, choosing instead to bar offenders from coming back.

“It’s become much harder during the pandemic,” he said. “People will say, ‘I was just hungry.’ And then what do you do?”

For more, go to The Washington Post. 

Alright, that’s all for today. Keep on sending tips, story ideas, and comments to [email protected] 

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Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is a yinzer labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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