Dean Baker pointed out on Saturday an important fact, perhaps the fact that allowed the maid to report Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged assault. Haven’t seen this in any mainstream publication (emphasis added):

Union Maid Reported Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s Sexual Assault
Saturday, 21 May 2011 07:39

This point should have been mentioned in a NYT article on the risk of sexual assault/harassment that housekeepers face in hotels. As the article notes, many housekeepers are reluctant to bring such attacks to the attention of their supervisors and/or law enforcement both out of embarrassment, but also out of fear of losing their jobs.

In this particular case, the housekeeper belonged to a union that has provisions in its contract that explicitly require the management to take cases of sexual assault or harassment seriously. This meant the housekeeper knew that she could make a complaint to management and not worry about being ridiculed or putting her job at risk. This fact would have been worth mentioning in the article.

“Worth mentioning”? C’mon Dean, you could use stronger language than that! (smile)

Anyway, a Saturday article in the Arizona Republic, also on the risks of sexual assault and harassment that hotel maids face, also fails to mention the fact that being in a union typically means there will be job contract provisions that protect workers who report sexual assault or harassment.

I’m seeing a pattern here, anyone else!? Union Member comments at the bottom of the Dean Baker article:

Chances are greater of seeing an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker and a Black Swan in the same tree than a journalist acknowledging the many, many, positive non-financial benefits of unions, even to … non-members and their families! …

Meanwhile, the litany of obvious union shortcomings is frequently recited in the media, but not in an effort to understand their role or improve their performance but to stigmatize and weaken them.

Anyway again, it’s not just a key, union-supportive fact being missing from the mainstream media, but the ‘why’ and the ‘what to do about the why’ that matter.