Guest: Dr. Marick Masters of Wayne State University; Also: Twitter/X allowing flood of misinfo, disinfo, propaganda amid Israel-Hamas war...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2023, 6:21pm PT  

On the heels of last weekend's Hamas attack on Israel and Israel's subsequent retaliation against Gaza, there has been a flood of disinformation about the conflict allowed to circulate on social media. Also on today's BradCast, we take some time to focus on a major victory back home in the ongoing strike by auto workers against Detroit's Big Three. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

FIRST UP, a quick word or two on the landfall of Hurricane Lidia last night on the Pacific Coast of Mexico near the resort of Puerta Vallarta. When we got off air yesterday, the storm had quickly spun up to a Category 3 before ultimately making landfall as a Category 4, with windspeeds topping 140 mph. Happily, it hit in a sparsely populated area, so damage and loss of life, so far, has reportedly been minimal. But the rapid intensification of the storm, and its gaining of strength as it got closer to land is both remarkable and something we have seen much more of in recent years as our climate crisis worsens. Also, the fact that Lidia made landfall on the Pacific Coast of Mexico just one day after another storm, Max, did as well, should similarly be ringing alarm bells.

NEXT, the relentless military response by Israel against Gaza continues in the wake of the unspeakably horrific attack by Hamas on Israel over the weekend. So does a flood of misinformation, disinformation and propaganda on social media sites. Elon Musk's Twitter/X site is particularly horrible in this regard, following his firing of most of the company's content moderation team and its replacement by community volunteers who are, according to an NBC report today, largely being ignored by the company as false and inflammatory content runs wild. AP is helpful today in offering independently verifiable facts to correct the record on a number of viral social media videos and photos purposely doctored to mislead. One, for example, showed a manipulated "order" from President Biden, claiming to send $8 billion in aid to Israel. Another purports to show videos of Russian President Vladimir Putin warning the U.S. to "stay away" from the Israel-Hamas conflict. Both assertions were completely false, but were allowed to remain on Twitter for hours without correction to be seen by millions of users.

THEN, in some brighter news, the United Auto Workers union struck a stunning deal late last week with GM that will allow workers who build batteries for electric vehicles to join the union's master agreement with the company. That, after many thought that an agreement to unionize workers at EV plants would be impossible.

Our guest today is DR. MARICK MASTERS, Professor of Business and Political Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he also served as Director of the Labor@Wayne program. He joins us to discuss the big news for workers at battery plants and other successes, so far, by the UAW and its President Shawn Fain during the ongoing, unprecedented strike against all three major U.S. automakers.

Late last week, Masters published an article at The Conversation on "Why the UAW union's tough bargaining strategy is working". He joins us today to discuss the new tactics and strategies employed by union leaders in the growing work stoppage and how it might both lead to success and ultimately be adopted by other union organizers.

On the landmark agreement with GM to include workers making parts for battery electric vehicles in the master union contract, Masters describes the deal as "a monumental achievement on the part of the UAW," adding: "I don't think that anyone, including myself, thought that this was doable. I didn't think that was something that the companies would concede, but GM did."

He cautions, however, that "it remains to be seen whether the two other companies [Ford and Stellantis] will accede to this demand of the union. But I don't think the UAW would sign a tentative agreement with them if they didn't."

Masters breaks down the UAW's so-far successful three-part strategy in the ongoing strike; explains why labor leader Fain is receiving so much support from the public both for his "audacious" demands and style of negotiations; and discusses whether the strategies employed by the auto workers might be applied elsewhere, at both non-union companies like Elon Musk's Tesla and in other industries where workers are finally standing up to management and demanding better pay, benefits and working conditions...


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