When I saw this “poster” today, I realized that I haven’t seen any union promotions in a really long time.
It also put me in mind of this old TV ad. I’ll bet every American above a certain age still knows every line of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union song by heart.
I’ve belonged to two unions in my life. When I was a grocery store cashier for several months in high school, I had to join the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America because it was the union that represented our shop. I still remember their name because, really, who couldn’t remember a name like that, LOL. They used to send me the membership magazine, and I can still recall (if memory serves, all these decades later) bloody photos of meat saws and cuts of beef on the cover. The other union was when I was in graduate school. It was a new thing, voted in toward the end of my time there. I can’t remember if this was the name then, but I just checked and it’s now called The Association of UW Professionals (UW-Milwaukee graduate employee chapter), Local 3535g.
Unions were far more prominent when I was a kid. My dad was “management,” so I saw them as a somewhat undesirable element growing up. Not as “the enemy” so much as a sign that a company had failed in its relationship with workers if things had gotten so bad that a union had successfully infiltrated. Kind of like a virus that infects you if you’re run down and haven’t been taking good care of yourself.
In the past couple of decades unions have weakened and many have disappeared. With the Alec Baldwin on-set shooting incident prompting much online attention to exploitative and unsafe working conditions on Hollywood’s production stages, however, I wonder if unions might begin a comeback in the public’s consciousness.