A New Union Marketing Strategy, Hire a Republican

By Robert Mark on September 7th, 2009

It’s Labor Day again and some fresh thinking is long past due.

Wal-MartEveryone knows the American labor movement has fallen off the edge of a cliff the past few decades and even a blue president isn’t going to be able to fix it all. The big question is why labor has dropped off the radar of most young people. I’d venture to say that if you asked folks in the 20-40 year age range their views on unions, they’d probably growl at you.

(photo – Alan Peto) 

We don’t even teach much about the labor any longer and we seldom see much in the media either. Except for the Boeing strike a few months back, think about the last time a major labor organization made the press. And let’s be serious, a strike means everyone stopped talking anyway, hardly a great example of solid labor/management relations.

But why?

I think the major reason unions have fallen into disrepair is not because people don’t think decent wages and a good working environment are valuable. The real problem is that we’ve all been so indoctrinated into believing that we have no power to affect change that most see little reason to make a stand. If working conditions were awful, people just left to find another job, something that’s not so easy now. 

Marketing the Labor Movement

Now that I’m a big mucky, muck adjunct lecturer in the Integrated Marketing department at Northwestern, I’ve come to realize that labor organizers need to take a few marketing courses and learn a few new tricks. People don’t join unions because, for the most part, they have no idea that doing so would be of any real benefit to them. We’ve been selling the steak of the labor movement, not the sizzle. And as I said earlier, organizing – hell, even supporting a union – can often be the kiss of death at most companies and these days especially, people are scared.

Wal-Mart spend a few hundred million dollars last year trying to convince employees not to join a union, ostensibly so the company can maintain its low-price advantage. Wonder what kind of a raise the tens of thousands of Wal-marters might have seen if even a fraction of that cash had been spread around.

Same Old, Same Old

Labor organizers with no marketing experience try to sell the union movement the same way they did a hundred years ago and the past few decades have shown that simply doesn’t work. So let’s try something new. Let’s find some people who really know how to organize people, who really know how to stir up the population either for or agin an issue. Let’s hire some Republican strategists.225px-Gompers-Samuel-LOC

C’mon, theses are the guys that have been stirring the pot against health care reform and let’s be serious, they’ve got the new blue White House on the run. Even with a majority of Congress and the White House in blue paws, the Republicans have managed to convince people of whatever it was they wanted them to believe. And it’s not the first time the Republicans have out strategized the Dems.

(Photo – Sam Gompers)

So why should you union organizers work so darned hard. March on down to your local Republican field office and tell them you have some contract work for their strategists. “We need some smart Republican men and women to help us convince the American people that the U.S. Labor Movement is worthy of attention. And we need your best people. The pay and benefits are great.”

How can this fail? And while they’re at it, maybe the labor organizers can put the squeeze on those Republican strategists for advice the Democrats can use to convince everyone that our U.S. health care system needs work too.

Happy Labor Day.

Rob Mark

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2 Responses to “A New Union Marketing Strategy, Hire a Republican”

  1. Bill Palmer Says:

    Great strategy, I love it!
    If they can convince half the populace that the president talking to kids about staying in school is going to steal their brains and make them socialist zombies, then maybe they could fight the rhetoric that unions have been the downfall of America.

  2. Mind Guru Says:

    Yes You are Right if you want to fast Fast growth Then We need some smart Republican men and women to help us convince the American people that the U.S. Labor Movement is worthy of attention. And we need your best people

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