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It’s been a month since I praised The Daily Citizen for its spate of coverage in April of the strike at the Kohler factory in Searcy, Arkansas, which also means it’s been a month since the NLRB settled the union’s charges against the company. Since that settlement silence has prevailed again, a fact that I had hoped meant negotiations were happening and the labor dispute was being settled.

My hope, it seems, was absurd, although whether any movement has occurred in negotiations—or whether there are negotiations even taking place—one could never know based on anything in Charlie Gocio’s story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. It’s a litany of police reports; the statements made by union president David Smith are as good as last month’s reporting. (They may in fact be last months’ reporting, but most stories have dropped behind a paywall, so I can’t verify them at the moment.) There’s a difference between a picket line and a labor strike, but Gocio doesn’t appear to recognize that difference: his story, listing incident upon incident, can’t find the strike for the strikers.



Is that paywall the DC’s? I’ve had paywall problems from them accessing stuff that isn’t less than a week old. I mean, a paywall…for the Daily Citizen?? Who do they think they are??

It’s TDC’s. The idea that it needs a paywall to protect its articles is ridiculous and antiquated, especially for a site that hasn’t changed its design or its content-delivery model in ten years.

The Daily Citizen has a new reporter on the strike, Jack Willem, who—get this—talks to people! Turns out it’s Kohler that won’t negotiate. Union president David Smith has as good as said that salary & benefits (read: insurance premiums) are negotiable.

“If the insurance premium was the only thing it would not keep us out of the plant,” Smith said.

No further talks have been scheduled, said Todd Weber, spokesperson for Kohler.

The time of year that the strike began was not a factor in the decision to strike, Smith said. The terms of Kohler’s contracts were unacceptable in spite of other factors.

The article levels some accusations about the plant’s productivity, too. Of course the company says everything’s dandy; I wonder if it’s possible to discover real figures?... probably not—that much detail wouldn’t make it into a public shareholder’s report.

Anyway, in all respects Willem’s is a much better story than Gocio’s.