The Worker in Modern Economic Society

By Paul Howard Douglas; Curtice N. Hitchcock et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
UNION POLICIES AND METHODS--Continued

1. THE UNION LABEL1
The trade-union label, using the term in its widest sense, is used in three forms: (a) a label to mark a product, (b) a shop card for display in a place of business, and (c) a button for personal use.Whether or not a trade union can establish a demand for goods bearing its label depends upon a variety of factors: (1) on whether the goods are bought by unionists or by other classes in the community; (2) on whether the goods are ordinarily purchased by men or women; (3) on whether the goods are of such a character or are purchased under such circumstances as to make it possible for other unionists to know whether the unionist purchasing the goods is buying union or non-union goods, and (4) on whether the purchase is one frequently repeated or only one made at considerable intervals. The influence of these factors will be considered in this order.
As has already been noted, the unions have for some years almost entirely abandoned the attempt to promote the demand for label goods among those sections of the purchasing public not closely identified by sympathy with the unions.

The general rule that label goods are demanded chiefly by unionists is strikingly illustrated by the differences in the demand for such goods in different sections of the country. Where large manufacturing or mining interests absorb a large part of the attention of the population and the workers are well organized, as in the coal fields of Pennsylvania and the Middle West, in the mines of the Western States, or in the manufacturing towns of the Middle West, the demand for label goods is more than proportionately strong. The aggregation of large numbers of unionists produces an intensity of pro-union feeling which contributes greatly to the sale of label goods. For the same reason there is no considerable demand for the label on the more expensive grades of goods. Cigars selling at over ten cents rarely have the label. The majority of hats having the label are of middle quality. The

____________________
1
Adapted with permission from E. R. Spedden, The Trade Union Labd, pp. 16 ff. ( Johns Hopkins Press, 1910.)

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