The Mirror

Politico Denies Labor Reporter Is Gone Because Of Union Organizing

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger

In a statement sent out Thursday afternoon, Politico denies that labor reporter Mike Elk‘s parting of ways with the pub had anything to do with his goal to unionize the newsroom.

Still in dispute is whether he was fired, but things are looking that way. Politico has been on the outs with Elk for much of the time he’s been employed there. They’ve published seven stories in the nearly 12 months he has worked for the publication, which is a meager output by anyone’s standards. Elk wrote more stories than that, but they went unpublished.

It was no secret he had prickly relations with his editors.

“Mike Elk no longer works at POLITICO,” reads a statement that first appeared in HuffPost. “As a long-standing company policy, we do not and will not comment on the specifics of personnel matters. We can say that Mike Elk’s recent departure has nothing to do with his union activities. POLITICO employees have been, and continue to be, free to engage in or refrain from union activities.”

The statement comes in response to a European journalists group which sent a stern letter to Politico President and CEO Jim VandeHei earlier in the day. The letter demanded to know why Politico wasn’t acknowledging Elk’s efforts to unionize the newsroom. The group also expressed dismay that Elk had been fired.

Elk had a response to Politico‘s statement. I am running it exactly as he sent it — with no edits and no corrections. As this statement insinuates, it appears he thinks he may still work for Politico when, in fact, Politico‘s statement clearly states that he does not.

“I want to congratulate my father ,Gene Elk, on his election as UE Director of Organization at the 74th UE’s Convention in Baltimore yesterday. Growing up a single father, my Dad got a lot of help from the UE raising me and these last few years in my struggle with PTSD . I am doing this because someday I wanna have children and because like my Dad I wanna be able to watch baseball with them and tell them the kind of stories of organizing and solidarity that my dad told me as a kid.

“As Marion Washington of UE , who had known me since I was a little baby yesterday, my chief competitor in organizing the unorganized is my dad. I look forward to the challenge. The status of my employment remains as Bruce Jett informed POytner earlier today – see his statement.”