Jimmy Warren, financial treasurer of a United Steelworkers local, makes $8,252.62, according to a union spokesman and an LM-2 filing with the Department of Labor. The amount is overstated elsewhere on the Department of Labor Web site and was misreported in this editorial. Link
This is another case of a correction leaving out pertinent information. The paper had originally reported that Warren's salary was $825,262. Yes, it was a decimal error, and the mistake was also on the Department of Labour's website. But the correct information was available elsewhere online and the error resulted in a huge difference that made Warren look like a crook. Did the WSJ really believe that he was being paid over $800,000 to be the treasurer of a union local? Or did it just fit the tone of the editorial? The correction should have noted the original mistake.
Not missing a chance to hit back at a negative editorial, the USW put out a press release to object to the error and call for a correction, though the release does not acknowledge that the error also appeared on the Dept. of Labor website. So perhaps both the correction and release were missing some pertinent information. The release:
News From USW: The United Steelworkers (USW) today demanded an apology from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on behalf its 1.2 million active and retired members in the United States and Canada after the newspaper grossly over-reported a USW local union officer's compensation in a vitriol-and-error-filled Monday editorial, ostensibly aimed at congressional Democrats who voted last week to trim $2 million from the Office of Labor Management Standards' projected nearly $50 million 2008 budget.
In a particularly mean-spirited passage designed to illustrate how union leaders are not members of the working class, the newspaper singles out USW member Jimmy Warren, a democratically elected local union financial officer from Arkansas, as receiving $825,262 in payments from his union. In reality, the financial report for his local, which is available to the public online for free, clearly shows that he was compensated $8,252.62, an over $817,000 difference.
The Steelworkers said that even though the newspaper printed a completely inadequate, out-of-context correction after the USW lodged its complaint, the troubling fact remains that one of the world's most widely read financial journals has displayed irresponsibility with regard to fact-checking that insults its readers, to say nothing of the paper's obvious contempt for working men and women.