There still appears to be mass confusion over whether labor reporter Mike Elk still works for Politico.
Politico says no. Elk says nothing except touching gibberish about his father and some lady who knew him as a baby. His union rep says yes, he still works there.
What the hell?
Elk’s union rep at the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild told Poynter on Thursday that Elk is on vacation but still works at Politico. Poynter later had to add this ridiculous correction to its piece that has this headline: “Mike Elk Apparently Not Out At Politico.”
Except apparently he is.
Poynter added, “Update: Politico told Poynter Thursday afternoon that Elk is no longer with the company.”
Bruce Jett, Elk’s union consultant and spokesman at this point, announced, “Mike Elk is an associate member of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild through the national guild, and he is a labor reporter for Politico, and he is on vacation until Sept. 1,” Jett said.
As of Thursday, Elk was still insisting that he’s still a Politico employee. “I am on vacation until Sept 1. I am still an employee of company,” he wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Twitter turned into eulogy of sorts for Elk.
PandoDaily’s Mark Ames supported his plight, writing, “Politico thought they could tame labor reporter @MikeElk now they think they can mistreat him.”
“Most difficult guest I’ve ever dealt with was Mike Elk. I’d like to think the firing wasn’t about the union push tho,” wrote Peter Ogburn, executive producer of the Bill Press radio show.
NationalReviewOnline‘s Charles C.W. Cooke said this: “Shock news! Silly man who did no discernible work and tried instead to unionize his workplace is no longer employed.”
Washington Free Beacon Executive Editor Sonny Bunch had this take on Elk’s status at Politico: “Person who never did any work for Politico now officially not doing work for Politico.”
Elk told New York Mag that during a phone conversation with Politico Pro Editor Marty Kady, things turned contentious and the reporter felt that he was possibly going to be fired. So he employed his “Weingarten rights” and said he wanted a union rep present for the conversation.
As far as we know, “Weingarten rights” thankfully have nothing to do with WaPo‘s Gene Weingarten. I am certain the “humor” columnist who specializes in poop issues could not help Elk in any way whatsoever.
But let’s just hope this sh-t gets sorted out soon for everyone’s sake.