Minnesota Public Radio today reports on the labor issues at the Minnesota Attorney General's Office that have been discussed extensively on this blog.
It has seemed extremely odd to me that most of the local general media -- particularly the Star Tribune -- has shirked its responsibility to report on what is going on in the AG's Office. I too like a lot of the external initiatives that Lori Swanson has undertaken as AG, but that does not mean that you don't provide at least of modicum of coverage to the serious internal strife going on within the office. It's our job as journalists.
On several occasions, I have compared the level of media scrutiny given to the management issues at the AG's Office with the level of media scrutiny given the management of the U.S. Attorney's Office under Republican-appointee Rachel Paulose. It isn't even close. Paulose was essentially driven from office by a barrage of negative media coverage. Meanwhile, the Strib as near as I can figure hasn't reported since May 2007 on the tribulations at the office of a DFL AG, despite allegations of harsh management practices and union-busting. It's hard not to view that as a double standard.
In any event, it will hopefully help now that things are more out in the open at the AG's Office. The people in favor of a union -- several of whom I have met in my travels -- do not strike me as motivated by anything other than concern about their working conditions and how they impact their job. If anything, some come across as a bit apologetic for having had to take the route they have, but honestly feel a union is the best alternative for the office.
I have no particular dog in the hunt as to whether or not there should be a union in the AG's Office -- there are both advantages and disadvantages to unions. I do believe that the employees there should be treated fairly regardless of whether they are in a union. I also believe employees making a union decision have the right to be left in peace to make that decision. If any of the alleged interference is still going on, it should cease immediately. Hopefully, sunlight will prove to be the badly needed disinfectant to this situation and lead to a workable solution.
UPDATE (11;55 a.m.): MinnPost reports on situation at AG's Office.