San Mateo Labor editor shows labor journalism is not a lost art.
By Tim Simmers
When Paul Burton was a teenager, he got an old-school education about organized labor that stuck. It began when he worked with his father, a union brick layer. Burton mixed cement and carried bricks, and wiped the sweat off his brow as he developed a respect for union workers.
Now he’s a labor writer and editor, and his respect for union workers keeps growing.
“I like the connection with the people doing the work,’’ said Burton, editor of San Mateo Labor, a tabloid newspaper that covers San Mateo County and the Bay Area. “It keeps me close to the working class.’’
Burton, an active member of Guild Freelancers, enjoys telling the human stories of workers. Like the city tradesman who was called out of bed in the middle of the night to fix a water main, thereby preventing a disaster. That work’s crucial, Burton insists, and it deserves good union pay – not a wage cut.
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Hint: San Francisco isn’t one, at least according to a survey by nerdwallet, a financial planning Web site. The self-described nerds factored in things like the number of self-employed people in the area, the cost of housing, and the cost and availability of insurance. Los Angeles was at the top of the list, followed by Portland and Miami. Coming in at number 10 was Lincoln, NE. San Francisco didn’t make the cut, although Oakland scored No. 19 on the top 20. The list is hardly definitive, but it will give you some idea of what it might be like to live and work somewhere else.
Follow this link to the story by Maggie Clark.