How To Spot Anti-Union Rhetoric at Your Workplace

As a rank-and-file union activist it is possible you will run into anti-union coworkers. Here are some simple, straight-forward talking points when dealing with this situation.

  • They insist that there is no real health and safety threat and you are overreacting.
    • This is management’s line. We know that Omicron spreads rapidly and while it seems to have less severe consequences for those who are boosted, infected teachers can still spread it to those with greater risk. A pro-union position is to encourage rank and filers to speak up about their concerns and to help members realize their power to make change when they come together. Belittling their concerns does the opposite.
  • They call you hypocritical.
    • This is a long standing trope of employers and the alt-right. It is a way of distracting you from your workplace concerns by trying to get you to defend your character. Whether you are a hypocrite or not has nothing to do with whether your workplace is safe.
  • They say other workers have it worse.
    • This is always true and it is an argument for passivity and acceptance of management’s power over you. It will never be difficult to find someone in a worse predicament than you are. One who is pro-union uses the lessons of those worse off as a rallying cry to make sure the same doesn’t happen to all of us.
  • They say the boss is trying their best and your actions only interfere.
    • Unionists know that it is not the members’ responsibility to make the employer’s life easier. It is the employees’ right to demand safe working conditions from the boss and how hard the boss is trying is irrelevant. Allowing the boss to get away with an effort but few results puts all union members at risk.
  • They ridicule those who want to act.
    • This is an age-old method of employers and the alt-right to create an intimidating and atomizing atmosphere. Unions are strong when members act together and take each other’s wishes seriously. Those who ridicule or berate union members are doing the boss’ work by intimidating those who want to stand together.