"Unions used to make sense but are obsolete in today's economy!" Unions are an "outside force" or "third party." "I'm a strong worker. Unionization will harm me personally and only help the weak and lazy workers." "Unions are rigid, old fashioned hierarchies."
We’ve all no doubt heard these talking points at some point, if not often, from news shows, opinion pieces, TV dramas, members of our families, our co-workers and, probably most of all, our bosses.
What’s remarkable is how little these general talking points have changed throughout the decades. Some versions of these pat anti-union lines have been around since there have been unions. It's generally unseemly to appear anti-worker or not OF the working class so opposition to the one thing that historically empowers the working class––unions––is seen as crass and politically incorrect.
So, in its place has emerged a popular set of go-to, sophistic arguments that allow one to appear pro-working class without the messiness and ideological heavy lifting of actually supporting labor organizing and unionization. These McArguments––that after decades of anti-union messaging feel right without being right––appeal to ignorance, prejudice, vagueness and gendered and racialized perceptions of what labor is, and what labor deserves: the protection and stability offered by collective bargaining.
On this episode, we detail eight of the most popular anti-union talking points, their origins, who they serve, their purpose and power, and––most important of all––how to combat them.
Our guest is union organizer and author Daisy Pitkin.