Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Don’t Leave Chants to Chance

Labor Notes
August 5th, 2014



It was April 1992, and my union, Service Employees (SEIU) Local 503, was rallying at Oregon’s Capitol steps. Our point was to gently urge the Democratic governor to move forward on tax reform.
But when staffers passed out the chant sheets and people started in on “Barbara Roberts, cheap and mean,” we had a problem.
Some hurried organizer had cribbed this chant off a flyer from our 1987 strike. It went to the tune of the nursery rhyme “Frère Jacques,” and the organizer had simply replaced a hated spokesperson’s name with Governor Roberts’s.
“You watch,” I said to the person next to me. “That chant is going to be the lead in the newspaper tomorrow.” And it was. Not exactly the message we wanted to convey.

It was April 1992, and my union, Service Employees (SEIU) Local 503, was rallying at Oregon’s Capitol steps. Our point was to gently urge the Democratic governor to move forward on tax reform.
But when staffers passed out the chant sheets and people started in on “Barbara Roberts, cheap and mean,” we had a problem.
Some hurried organizer had cribbed this chant off a flyer from our 1987 strike. It went to the tune of the nursery rhyme “Frère Jacques,” and the organizer had simply replaced a hated spokesperson’s name with Governor Roberts’s.
“You watch,” I said to the person next to me. “That chant is going to be the lead in the newspaper tomorrow.” And it was. Not exactly the message we wanted to convey.
- See more at: http://labornotes.org/2014/08/dont-leave-chants-chance#sthash.5VVufrQt.dpuf
It was April 1992, and my union, Service Employees (SEIU) Local 503, was rallying at Oregon’s Capitol steps. Our point was to gently urge the Democratic governor to move forward on tax reform.
But when staffers passed out the chant sheets and people started in on “Barbara Roberts, cheap and mean,” we had a problem.
Some hurried organizer had cribbed this chant off a flyer from our 1987 strike. It went to the tune of the nursery rhyme “Frère Jacques,” and the organizer had simply replaced a hated spokesperson’s name with Governor Roberts’s.
“You watch,” I said to the person next to me. “That chant is going to be the lead in the newspaper tomorrow.” And it was. Not exactly the message we wanted to convey.
- See more at: http://labornotes.org/2014/08/dont-leave-chants-chance#sthash.5VVufrQt.dpuf

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