Unions call for boycott of Columbian newspaper

The Southwest Washington Central Labor Council and the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council passed resolutions placing the Columbian newspaper on their respective “Do Not Patronize” lists.

The daily newspaper covers the greater Vancouver/Southwest Washington area.

“They don’t report the news of the entire community,” said Shannon Walker, president of the labor council and a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. “The Columbian continues to publish articles that are biased against and inflammatory toward working-class people, union members, and public employees.”

The resolution calls for a boycott starting this month and continuing through July 31, 2011. In August, the labor council will revisit the issue to determine whether or not the newspaper has expanded its coverage “to represent all of the community.” If it has, the boycott will be withdrawn.

Meantime, the labor council and building trades council are asking union members to cancel their subscriptions and to not advertise in the newspaper. They also ask union members to write letters to the editor and publisher explaining why they are canceling.

“If you’re not a subscriber, write or call them and tell them why you don’t subscribe,” Walker said.

Ed Barnes, a retired business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48, said he canceled his subscription after 60 years reading the newspaper. “I delivered that newspaper as a kid, and I’ve sat on their community advisory board,” he said.

Barnes advised union officials to spread the word of the labor action via newsletters, websites, and at meetings.

The Portland-based Northwest Oregon Labor Council will vote on the resolution at its monthly meeting Feb. 28.

Walker said she is forwarding copies of the resolution to local politicians.

To cancel a subscription, call 360-694-2312. Send letters to the editor to lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.

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