Urge to join a union rising…rising…rising


I love watching corporate idiots roasting over an open fire. Delta Airlines tried doing a little gentle union-busting with some posters, and it didn’t go at all well.

Two posters made by Delta as part of an effort to dissuade thousands of its workers from joining a union drew a torrent of criticism after they were posted on social media Thursday.

The posters included messages targeting the price of the dues that company workers would be paying if the union formed.

“Union dues cost around $700 a year,” one noted. “A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.”

The other, with a picture of a football, was framed similarly.

“What does $700 mean to you?” it said. “Nothing’s more enjoyable than a night out watching football with your buddies. All those union dues you pay every year could buy a few rounds.”

Who needs job security, safe working conditions, and better wages when you could just play video games and drink beer? Those posters reveal how much contempt management has for their workers.

Here’s my favorite response:

The meme that points out that you can build a guillotine for $1200 is my second favorite.

Comments

  1. chrislawson says

    You do NOT want to read the comment thread on the Jalopnik story about this. It is chock full of mindless anti-union propaganda. Some of it I’m pretty sure is targeted PR. But it looks like an awful lot of people have bought into reflex anti-union idiocy.

  2. says

    A colleague recently distributed a calculation demonstrating how dramatically faculty wages have lost their buying power over the years due to COLAs that didn’t keep pace with actual increases in the cost of living. He was promptly excoriated by the union president at a sister college for his “incendiary” message. Didn’t he know we were preparing for contract negotiations?? Uh, yeah; that’s why he thought his data was a timely contribution to the discussion. Is the union representing faculty or shilling for the administration?

  3. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    The gaming console is an interesting touch. We’ve come a long way since the Romans. The wealthy now know that if the circuses are entertaining enough, you can get the peasants to forego even the bread.

  4. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Here’s another one of these kinds of things from a Kickstarter union organizing counter-effort: https://gizmodo.com/leaked-memo-shows-kickstarter-senior-staffers-are-pushi-1833470597

    One of the many reasons they don’t think their workers should unionize, but so important that they wanted it high on the list:

    2. Forming a union is a great tool—for marginalized workers. Unions are historically intended to protect vulnerable members of society, and we feel the demographics of this union undermine this important function. We’re concerned with the misappropriation of unions for use by privileged workers, some of whom receive compensation more than twice the average income in NYC, [etc.]…

    So, if you try to start a union while being well paid, you’re practicing cultural appropriation according to a faceless, raceless, sexless corporation. It’s a little disgusting that they would even suggest this.

  5. mrquotidian says

    #1 Chrislawson

    But it looks like an awful lot of people have bought into reflex anti-union idiocy.

    It’s so true. I was having a chat with an ostensibly liberal friend recently who swore that what was needed to “fix education” was to make it easier to fire “bad” teachers. As though that wouldn’t just open up the profession to the worst kind of market forces (firing older, “bad” teachers and replacing them with young, cheap hires). You find this kind of sentiment everywhere – that the problems aren’t due to systemic failures, but because of individual lazy employees are collecting paychecks.. Obviously there are a number of freeloaders in every profession, but the better solution is to create a dignifying work environment, not a cutthroat boiler-room race-to-the-bottom.

  6. unclefrogy says

    the people who i have run up against who were spouting the anti-union BS have all been employees some where. If you can move the conversation away from the slogans stage and toward their own work situation they have admitted they all wanted the same things that unions are advocating. It is quite funny to see the expression on heir face when they confront their conflict, something similar happens when talking with some libertarian is going off on unions and fails to consider that everyone including workers have the right to enter into contracts agreements including an agreement to work together toward better working conditions and better pay with employers as a group
    uncle frogy

  7. Snarki, child of Loki says

    “The meme that points out that you can build a guillotine for $1200”

    Wood-chippers are also quite reasonably priced, readily available, and have secondary uses.

    Okay, the fuel use makes guillotine’s more “green”, but when used properly, they’re both bright red.

  8. says

    I’m a member of a union and while I may have some disagreements with mine, they have done an outstanding job at representing the needs of myself and all of our members. Before we joined I found out I was making a lot less money, doing the same job as my fellow coworkers. After we voted to join my wages went up, my medical coverage was much better and I had someone looking out for me for representation. I’m very grateful because I make very good money, have decent medical insurance, four weeks of paid vacation, education benefits, as well as another of other ones such as a pension.

  9. F.O. says

    I cannot think of better PR for a Union than “your bosses really don’t want you to join one”.

    ^ This

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    A lot of the (mostly middle-class) people I’ve known who complain about unions also complain about “welfare cheats”. They’ve swallowed the kool-aid fed to them by corporatist bullshit artists and conservative politicians. Pointing out that the world is much better with unions than without them, and that corporate cheats account for many times more in revenue losses than the poorer kind shuts them up, but I don’t think it changed their minds.

  11. chrislawson says

    ck@7–

    There is a core of truth to what they’re saying. I’ve seen unions use their less powerful members as trading chips in negotiations (not that this is a common behaviour from unions, just that it can happen). But it’s not an argument offered in good faith. If there are marginalised workers who are not being compensated fairly, then Delta could fix this problem any time it wanted to.

    And the line about how unfair it is to allow union representation when the highest-paid subset of their workers have wages “more than twice the average income in NYC” is outright hypocrisy from a company that gave its CEO $13.2 million in 2017. That was 142x the median pay of Delta workers.

  12. liberalhysteria says

    Governments and corporations both need checks on power. The paranoid right is all for checking one powerful entity, while letting the other do whatever it wants, even if it’s at the expense of the worker.

  13. ck, the Irate Lump says

    chrislawson wrote:

    And the line about how unfair it is to allow union representation when the highest-paid subset of their workers have wages “more than twice the average income in NYC” is outright hypocrisy from a company that gave its CEO $13.2 million in 2017. That was 142x the median pay of Delta workers.

    The anti-union quote I reproduced was from Kickstarter, not Delta. The Kickstarter CEO is paid a little less well at around 3.0x the median wage. It’s unclear the motivation for Kickstarter unionizing. It might be about pay, but it could also be about working conditions. IT can pay comparatively well, but it can sap the life out of you in other ways (mandatory unpaid overtime “crunch”, vacation you can’t take, overuse of contractors and temps instead of FTEs, etc).

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