Union Printing

News about print designing and campaigning being done by unions.

Union Printers Put At Odds By Press Closures

And you wouldn't believe how intense these disputes can get!

Hotcards is a union printer. All our employees are members of Graphic Communications Union Local 546. As a union printer, we do a lot of political printing for campaigns that support unions, and we print for unions and unionized business, nonprofits, and other organizations that rely heavily on print promotion.

One of the great things about being a unionized print shop is the sense of community and value placed on the employee, which we believe results in the highest possible quality product for our customers. Almost ever since the printing industry existed, unions have been an important part of it.

But the term 'printing industry' gets thrown around a lot, as if everyone involved in putting ink on paper is at sea in the same rocking boat. Which is simply not the case. Digital printers are not in the same boat as offset printers. Textbook printers are not in the same boat as trade paperback printers. Marketing service providers are not the same as silkscreeners. And as is becoming increasingly clear, newspaper printers are not in the same boat as commercial printers.

Although we represent two strongly union-centric sectors of the diverse print community, newspaper printers and commercial printers have been placed increasingly at odds over the last few years. Cost-cutting measures by struggling publications have led to newspapers shutting down print operations and outsourcing their printing work to commercial printing shops.

Not surprisingly, the trend doesn't sit too well with newspaper printer unions. In France, free daily paper Direct Matin recently made the move over to a commercial printer, inciting an intense strike at the paper's former printing plant. Strikers have even been stealing and destroying thousands of copies of the paper in protest of the move.

In France, the feeling on the newspaper trade union side of things is that jobs are being lost to commercial printers who are not unionized and are therefore able to offer significantly lower rates to newspaper publishers. Interestingly, according to the folks over at Newspaper Innovation, the French media is nervous about reporting on the subject because it could lead to countrywide newspaper union strikes.

Over the last few years, similar problems have been arising in the U.S. And not only between newspaper print unions and nonunion commercial printers. Could a move that helps one segment of the print industry hurt another? And if so, what are the alternatives? Weigh in, readers!

Union Editors Show Their Grit in the Face of At-Risk Print Jobs

Do you need copy editing? Yes you do!

Case in Point

The Toronto Star – one of Canada's largest newspapers – recently announced plans for a major restructuring that would put over 160 union print jobs at risk. Publisher John Cruickshank's released a memo discussing plans to outsource 100 union editing jobs, and 60 union prepress jobs – most likely to contractors overseas.

The Star's union is predictably shocked and upset, as are its editors. The Torontoist received a copy of Cruickshank's memo from an anonymous source claiming to represent a Star editor. The memo had been altered to demonstrate just how badly the newspaper needs its local, invested editorial staff.

Image after the jump...

McDonald's Hosts Idol-Style Competition for Employees

Is the age of the corporate reality show upon us?

Is McDonald's giving employees business cards now? Not exactly. But the fast food giant – which has often taken flak for defining the 'Mcjob' – isn't as indifferent to employees as you might think.

For the third year in a row, McDonald's is running its Voice of McDonald's event, an American Idol-style singing contest that any employee the world over can enter. The last two years of the competition – previously an internal affair – have been so incredibly successful that McD's is going viral with the event.

On Labor Day, Hug a Union Printer

Great moments in printing history.

Ahh, there's nothing like a four-day week. But did you know that Labor Day got its start thanks to union printers?

It's true.

Way back in 1872. The Toronto Typographical Union went on strike to demand a 9-hour workday and Sundays off. The movement garnered massive public support.

Unfortunately, at the time, unions were still illegal in Canada, and many of the strike organizers were arrested.

It seemed like a grim day for the labor movement. However, the arrests led to tons of protests across Canada, and the Canadian government finally had to agree to abolish its anti-union laws. To celebrate, Canadians began to take a day off for labor union parades.

In 1882, American labor leaders brought the celebration to the U.S., and it stuck (the holiday, at least, if not the celebration of unionized labor).

So there you have it. The beginning of union printing also led to the birth of one of the greatest long weekends of the year.

Is it because of the large role that printing plays in union action that printshops have always been so enthusiastic about unionizing? Lincoln Cushing connects the dots in his great history of the U.S. Labor Movement in posters.

Check it out, and hug a union printer ASAP!

Print Unions Save Jobs

Times are tough, but union printers are stepping up.

I was talking to a client the other day, and she mentioned how difficult it was becoming to find a union printer in Ohio. Not that we’re all that scarce, just a whole lot harder to come by than we used to be. And that’s particularly a shame in an economic climate like the one we’re experiencing.

When we're feeling flush, it’s easy to forget the value of unions. Everybody’s making lots of money, paying well, and new generations of workers start to ask, what’s the point of this union – and my union dues – anyway? When’s the last time my union did anything for me?

Thing is, unions really come up to bat when times are tough, and workers need representatives to fight for them with the corporate side of business that wants to protect its bottom line by cutting jobs and hacking away at benefits.

Lately, things have been double hard for the print industry. The economy is down AND the nature of our profession is changing. Luckily, our union print reps have been there for us, and have been fighting it out, all over the world, to keep print jobs safe.

Union Printing at Put People First

Pics from the march and the rally.

Over the weekend, I happened to find myself in a London hotly anticipating the meeting of the G20 that took place this week. While the midweek protests turned angry and violent, the march and rally I attended on Saturday (March 28th) were very peaceful and positive.

The event, called Put People First, was organized by London trade unions looking to encourage the G20 to focus on “Jobs, Justice, and Climate.” The result was the coming together of a ton of different unions with an amazing variety of agendas – all on display through colorful, plentiful union printing.

Signs and banners covered everything from environmental issues, to poverty, to the plight of third world nations, and anger at banks over the recession. Here are some shots of the union printing on display last Saturday in London:

Union Printing Takes to the Streets in Paris

They've even got balloons!

You've got to hand it to those Parisian unions. They know how to throw a protest. Yesterday, eight of France's largest trade unions organized a massive event of work stoppage and picketing in the streets in protest of the French government's handling of the economic crisis.

As images of the protest pour in, it's clear that the union printing of signs and banners was full force. Looks like people all over the world don't approve of the idea of banks getting billions in bailout money from the government. Quelle suprise, as the French say.

One Last Piece of Political Printing

Behind the scenes of history, there's always a printer.

It's a new year, and the Presidential elections may be long decided, but there's at least one piece of political printing still in the works.

Invitations needed to be printed for Barack Obama's inauguration January 20th. And this time around, choosing the printer, the direct mailer, the paper supplier and the ink supplier for the job took on historic proportions.

Chosen for the job of printing the 1 million invitations was New York printer Precise Continental. The New York Times ran a feature piece on the selection. Precise Continental were apparently chosen over competing bidders because they are, like Hotcards, a union printer, and certified by the FSC.

Want the stats on this epic project? Check 'em out:

Colors: Black and gold.

Typefaces: Modified Shelley Allegro and Kuenstler.

Ink: Supplied by BuzzInk, in Chicago.

Paper: Classic Crest Recycled Natural White, by Neenah Paper.

Teachers Union Printing Banned From Classrooms

Should teachers keep political opinions to themselves?

Across the country, teachers unions have been distributing button printing in favor of the Obama – Biden Presidential campaign.

Unions are encouraging teachers to wear the buttons to school, and some unions are even running email campaigns asking teachers to come to school dressed in "Obama blue."

Now, however, the Board of Education is putting a stop to it. They say there is a long-standing policy in place against the distribution or presentation of union printing promoting political ideologies in schools.

A similar incident occurred in 1969 when teachers were barred from wearing black armbands, or coming to school with political printing speaking out against the Vietnam war.

Union reps say that teachers have the right to freedom of expression, but the Board of Education says that school is no place for politics, and that parents are complaining.

What do you think, should union printing, particularly of a political nature, be allowed in schools?

Boeing Workers Break Out The Union Printing

Machinists' union hits the picket line.

At 12:01 on Saturday night, the machinists union at Boeing went on strike after lengthy contract talks with Boeing Company. That's 27, 000 union members assembling picket signs and carrying union printing up and down the line.

Their strike slogan is, "It's Our Time, This Time," a slogan that seems to be directed as much at union negotiators as at Boeing. Union workers actually voted to strike as early as Thursday, with a massive 87% majority voting to walk out.

By the time a strike was actually called on Saturday, union workers were plenty peeved about the 48-hour delay, which may have inspired the "Union Time" theme.

During the delay, the union had plenty of time to put together its logos, slogans, and designs for union printing. So far on the picket line, we've seen apparel, signs, stickers, and multiple unique banner designs, all bearing the union printing bug.

Even though it's not us on strike, union printers are closely involved with strike actions all across the country. Our printing walks the picket line with strikers seeking fair wages and benefits, and we put our speedy machines and commitment to quality into every piece of union printing we produce.

Unfortunately, it seems like the Boeing strike might be a long one, which is always hard on union workers and their families. As happy as union printers are to print for strikers, we'd just as soon see everybody back at work and happy.

When it comes to the time question, the Machinist Union's strike slogan bears a kind of double message. On the one hand, it says to Boeing "don't waste our time." On the other, it seems to say that their time is theirs to use as they see fit. Which means if they have to wait, they will.

SEIU Makes Big Plans, Prints Big Vehicle Wraps

Look out! Union printing on the move!

The Service Employees International Union is having a busy summer, and so are their printers! Besides the usual union printing staples, such as signs, brochures, and apparel printing, the SEIU has been drawing media attention with large-scale vehicle wrapping.

Union Printing on House, M.D.

Echoes of the writers strike in Hollywood

Are the screenwriters back on strike? Nope, this is an image from the opening scene of this week’s episode of House, MD – you know, that show about the angry doctor?

In this scene, the nursing union is walking a picket line outside the hospital featured in the show. Everything from color scheme, to font design, to the white space left for union strikers to write in their slogans, is a match to the writers’ union print collateral. They’ve even got the same red t-shirts! No corners cut on apparel printing here.

Nurses Strike on House MD

So what’s going on here? Is this the showrunners making use of leftover print materials, running out their retainer with union printers? Or are the folks over at House making a statement?

I’ve also got to wonder if a union printer did the printing for this fictional union strike. After the writers strike, are Hollywood and the printing industry best buds? I couldn’t see a union bug on the ‘nurses’ signs, but you never know…