There are plenty of reasons the professional-managerial class should be interested in unionsâ€”itâ€™s always been the plan that the bosses willÂ comeÂ for you guys next, after they crush the working classâ€”but over the past decade or so itâ€™s struck me that culture is one of the things creating the gap betweenÂ highly educated professional workers and unions. And I donâ€™t mean culture in the hackneyed sense of â€śunion workers drink six-packs and professionals drinkÂ fine wines.â€ť I mean that the products made by union workers are all too often themselves seen as inferiorâ€”mass-produced, not interesting, not cool.
There are lots of great union-made products out there, but because of the patterns of unionization in recentÂ U.S. history, it tends to be the case that the newer a product is, the less likely it is to be made by union workers. Budweiser yes, craft beer no.
Which is why it feels really significant that to seeÂ Anchor brewery workersÂ unionizeÂ this week, with a 31 to 16 vote, and with workers at the affiliated Anchor Public Taps still to vote separately.Â Worker pay at Anchor not only hasnâ€™t kept up with inflation, but was cut at one point, among other cuts including to health care, paid lunch breaks, sick leave, and 401Ks.
Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of greatÂ ways to get your union-made drink on, and you can pair that with Boarâ€™s Head, the best of all the deli meats. Want your sandwich grilled? Do it in an All-Clad pan and serve it up on some retro-cook Fiestaware. But nonetheless, it is good to see unions making headway in the craft beer world, and may other bastions of semi-hipness follow.
This blog was originally published at Daily Kos on March 16, 2019. Reprinted with permission.Â