Patricia Montemurri

14 years at the Free Press

My parents came here from Italy, and many in their generation found work and prosperity in the auto industry. Unions helped shape their lives and livelihoods, and paved the way for a better future for their children. Compared to my parents' hard work and sacrifice, I've had it easy. Because of what my parents endured, because of my husband's unwavering support, and for my little girl's future, the decision to support the strike — and what's right — was easy.

It has not been easy to watch friendships dissolve and people I once respected become warm, fuzzy mouthpieces for corporate thuggery. I started at the Free Press as an intern in 1978, and I want to go back now — in part, because they don't want another union member back in and because I'll be a better reporter for all I've seen and learned in the strike. The newspapers betrayed this community's trust and heritage. I'm too good a reporter not to have figured out what the company's intentions and deceptions were all about — union busting to "enhance shareholder value." I don't understand how alienating more than one-third of your customers and losing hundreds of millions of dollars makes good business sense. But my bosses seem to think this strike has made them better businessmen. It sure hasn't made them better journalists, or better people.

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