Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trade Unions: Strategize or Disappear

As trade union members still protest at the site of Post Brothers' Goldtex Apartments, things are getting a bit, well, sad.

They've clearly switched from targeting the construction crew and general public to targeting potential renters. Their latest stunt has included a couple mannequins in white decontamination suits with signs suggesting that the site is infested with mold.

Of course without proof this might be considered slanderous, but why bother? The fact that the unions are trying to deter renters means they've ceded to the notion that the building will be rented.

At this point, what is their end game? What resolve will satisfy the few who continue to protest?

The media has dragged the Post Brothers' names through the mud, L&I has repeatedly halted development for investigations, City Council and the Mayor's Office have proven where their allegiance lies, and the project is still active.

If any misconduct is taking place at Goldtex it would have been revealed by a media or government at the unions' beck and call for the past year. Yet the Post Brothers are still succeeding.

What would make the cheerleaders happy? Do they want jobs at Goldtex? Do they want the project abandoned? Do they want to bankrupt Post Brothers? Do they think they can?

At the beginning their message was clear: Post Brothers didn't hire a union crew.

But what's left?

The unions lost this battle, but there are countless other projects throughout the city worthy of their inflatable rat.

They continue to peddle a lost message at Goldtex, one that has proven to be ineffectual, and a protest that no longer does the unions any favor. Without focus they look like grown toddlers throwing a temper tantrum, hurting whatever credibility they had left by focusing their attention on one lost cause.

What's even worse for the unions than their reluctance to cede this battle is that they've learned nothing from the loss. Their strategy is unchanged. They launched a 21st Century turf war with fifty year old rhetoric.

When inflatable rats and poorly worded banners don't work, you don't drag your rat and worn commentary to the next protest. You regroup and strategize.

As our city grows more and more tired from union fatigue, they've become the white noise of a dying movement.

Where's their PR manager?

Their message appeals to a working class mid-century America, not to the diverse crew of Post Brothers' workforce and certainly not to anyone with the means to rent a $1400 apartment.

In order to advertise their cause they need to sell it to yuppies shopping for a cushy loft or understand why "scabs" exist. People who buy $90 bottles of olive oil take one look at your typical union picket line and think, "geez, if they don't want me to live here it must be swank."

No comments:

Post a Comment