As campaign season begins to take off here in Texas, there is already a rather heated discussion over the use of Union printers. Any chance I get, I take an informal survey of all sorts of people in these discussions. What better format to do so, I thought, than asking the community their opinions and regular practices where you live.
When I began researching the issue while working our campaign, I was surprised to find that, at least in CA with regards to state business, very specific rules already apply.
As of yet, I have not located any specifics for Texas. It has varied on previous cycles where I have worked on campaigns, some candidates use the newest and greatest desktop publishing software and equipment, proud to print everything in house and not apologetic for it. Some candidates will not print anything unless it's through a union printer and still other do a hybrid of both. Currently, all materials that we hand out has a Union bug, including the business cards. As a previous Party intern, I was taught early on that there was no exception to this rule and I have adhered to it intentionally. Banners, letterhead, envelopes, business cards, signs and bumper stickers, all Union printed. Disposable in office items like volunteer sign in sheets, call sheets and memos are printed with "Printed In-House" clearly visible at the bottom and promotional items like pens or lanyards are printed in large mass and are generally not available with a Union bug. We also only use a Texas printer rather than ship anything out of the state for a cheaper rate.
My primary question is, how stringent is this rule used and does it begin to change as more and more are able to print on their own at lower cost with virtually no labor? I have received items from VERY well respected liberal organizations, sans bug. Is it still a requirement or an antiquated view of how the Democratic Party previously operated? Is it acceptable to photo copy letters that were printed on Union bug letterhead for mass mail out? I have seen some In-House printing done with "We Support Union Printers" at the bottom, also, sans bug. I am wondering what that means if a Union printer was not used? Have they adopted a Union family since they didn't pay one for their print materials? Is it acceptable to use a combination of both Union printing and In-House printing? These items are generally the most expensive on a campaign short of media advertisement so I certainly see how some campaigns would look here at the easiest place to save some money.
At Follow Me To DC we not only support Union printers, we use them. We don't send our work out of state to get printed and we order items as money allows us to. I have never worked in a profession that allowed me to belong to a Union but because of their decades of progress for workers rights, I don't have to work along side 10 year olds, I know my boss will only work me 40 hours a week or has to pay overtime, and I don't worry that my work place could be so unsafe that it could risk my death or dismemberment. Regularly I hear commentary on the death of Unions as they previously existed...often I think these folks must be Rethugs praying for that eventuality. I hope that is not the case, I believe that Unions provide a place for carrying on the rich traditions of apprenticeship that Guilds previously provided. Unions should be respected, if not for the history of the story they tell, but for the education of future workers.