Why I describe Payday as “our publication” and not “my work” in interviews

Richmond Bus Drivers protest against plan to subsidize Uber (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Greetings from the Burgh, where Payday is going into holiday shutdown mode for some much-needed rest after covering strikes. 

We will be back, but I wanted to take a few moments to say how thankful we are at Payday Report for yinz. 

Sometimes when I am on the radio or a TV show I will say “we reported.” And people ask, “Why do you say we to refer to your work? Isn’t Payday Report just you? It’s just your blog?” 

Perhaps, I laugh hard because I know that it’s not just me, but our publication 

I explain to them, “Well, there is Clarissa León, our editorial director. Phil Moon, our research director, and not to mention the readers of Payday Report — the people, who give us $80,000 in donations, enter strikes into our Strike Tracker, send us story ideas, pay for my emergency dental surgery when I can’t afford it, and send along the most touching emails encouraging me to keep going on as we slowly build Payday Report.” 

The work we do here at Payday is a collective effort and I always take such pride in explaining how Payday is far more than me. It’s everyone who has believed in us to build this publication, fund it and provide us with ideas that have inspired so many union activists and workers across the country. 

Some really extraordinary people support us; not just famous writers and journalists, but folks who are veterans of tough union drives, who care and want to know about when workers are on the march elsewhere. Folks who want to know because they wanna inspire workers in their workplaces that they can do it, too. 

And we have had a huge impact. NYT, NPR, WaPo, The Economist — everyone comes and looks to us, but it’s all because we are a publication funded by workers and written by workers about the experience of other workers. 

So, this Thanksgiving I just want to say how very thankful I am for our readers. Recently, Payday has been in a pinch after a $10,000 grant expired. But we rallied as Payday always does. 

So far, we have raised $6,800 to replace the grant that expired and we’re $3,200 short of totally replacing it. So, let’s see if we can raise $3,200 by the end of the year. 

Donate to help us be the publication that we always (all of us) believed could inspire and push workers to ask for more. 

And to 632 recurring donors, thanks yinz so much — yinz are some mensches. Sign up as one today. 

Thank yinz so much. 

Love & Solidarity, 

Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the labor movement & 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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