|Last week, veteran New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse — widely regarded as the oldest hand on a beat that’s waned with the power of organized labor itself — announced he was taking a buyout, and will work on another book about workers (the last one is six years old, after all). We caught up with him to talk about his last three decades covering American workers.|
How did you get into covering labor?
My parents were very active in the civil rights movement, they had me listening to Pete Seeger when I was growing up. I guess growing up in New York, you were kind of alert to what was happening in labor. The people who participated in the March on Washington in 1963, the person who led that was A. Philip Randolph of the Sleeping Car Porters Union. So I guess I was more attuned to labor than many other people.
You went to law school and did a stint clerking for a federal judge. Why leave law to do journalism?
My first job out of college was as a lackey copy boy at the New York Times, sorting mail, getting coffee. I did that for a year, and after that applied to law school and journalism school. I got into Columbia Journalism School and NYU Law School, and decided to go to journalism school. Then I worked for a year at the Chelsea-Clinton News — that’s Hells Kitchen — and then I went to the Bergen Record, and the Hackensack Record, where...