CLEVELAND — The country’s oldest continually published labor newspaper has been printed in Cleveland since 1892.
The Labor Citizen is distributed to more than 18,000 union members every month, and despite some challenges keeping the paper afloat, its owners say they don’t plan on stopping its publication anytime soon.
One reader, Mike McIntyre, is a retired union plumber and still likes to keep up with labor news in Cleveland.
“I'm plumbers local 55, so I look for that,” McIntyre said.
One of the ways he’s kept up to date with union news since he started as a plumber in the 60s is through the local monthly newspaper.
“[I’ve read] one a month since 1968, so you gotta do the math," he said. "That's 32, 55, 12 times 50? A lot."
The paper, now published by the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, has been distributed to union workers for more than a century.
Council executive secretary, Dave Wondolowski, said the paper keeps the 17 trades and unions updated about the work they’re all doing and it can also be an organizing tool.
“So some of its feel good stuff, some of its call to action, you know, when we need people for political walks, or to get a get a message out on a ballot initiative that may be important to us,” Wondolowski said.
Like many newspapers, “The Labor Citizen” has faced its fair share of challenges over the years.
When Wondolowski took over in 2013, he said some advertisers weren’t paying what they owed.
“We just weren't where we needed to be financially,” he said. “So we had to get rid of some employees and let some people go.”
Wondolowksi said it was a tough decision but what needed to happen to keep the historic paper afloat.
Despite those difficulties, demand never dwindled.
“They really enjoy getting this publication,” Wondolowksi said. “Every once in a while, when it doesn't get to somebody's house, they'll call me with a complaint.”
For folks like McIntyre, they’ll keep reading as long as it’s printed.
“Oh, no, it has a lot that concerns me,” he said.