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Entangling alliance: the Globe union and O'Neill

My friend Dan Kennedy likes the op-ed in today's Globe, which hammers the New York Times Co.--the Globe's corporate parent--for outsourcing 45 jobs to India. Me, I'm not so sure.

The op-ed in question was co-written by Robert Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and Jeremy Crockford, identified as "a public relations consultant who represents both the state AFL-CIO and the Boston Newspaper Guild." What isn't mentioned is that Crockford does his PR work at O'Neill and Associates--which, as Globe columnist Joan Vennochi reminded us last summer, also lobbies on behalf of Big Dig contractor Bechtel. In fact, Crockford is an ex-Bechtel employee who was intimately linked with its Big Dig work. From his O'Neill and Associates bio:
Beginning in 1999, Mr. Crockford worked for Bechtel Corp. as Chief of Staff/Director of Communications on the nation’s largest construction project, Boston’s $15 billion Big Dig. Mr. Crockford worked with the project director, deputy director and construction manager to analyze project fiscal, construction and schedule information to determine the project’s true financial condition. Mr. Crockford was instrumental in making the project’s bottom line public, and was the chief spokesman on the issue in the national and local media.
Other O'Neill and Associates clients include MassPort, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Associated Health Plan, Citizens Bank, Sovereign Bank, and Massachusetts Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Now, the Globe's reporters and columnists won't necessarily go easy on Bechtel or any other O'Neill client simply because O'Neill represents the Globe union. The aformentioned Vennochi column is proof of that. Still, just as there was something awkward about Ted Kennedy, Steve Lynch and other local politicians sending an anti-outsourcing letter to the Times Co., there's something awkward about the Globe union's lobbying firm representing clients who'll be the subject of future Globe coverage. Haynes' advocacy raises questions too, but at least readers were told exactly who he is.

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