The AFL-CIO announced it would launch a $13 million two-year advertising campaign Wednesday designed to improve labor's image and union organizing efforts particularly with the Baby Boom generation.
The "Union Yes" campaign will reach an estimated 91 percent of American homes with television sets at least four times, the labor federation asserted. The extensive effort will feature TV, radio and print advertisements along with promotional items such as hats, T-shirts, bumper stickers and tote bags.Three weeks of network television ads beginning Wednesday will be coupled with local campaigns in 13 major metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Washington and Nashville, Tenn., and Orlando, Fla.
The commercials are targeted at adults between age 24 and 49, the AFL-CIO announced - essentially the postwar Baby Boomers. The costly campaign is being financed by a 4-cent increase in monthly dues paid by international unions to the 14.1-million member parent federation.
The campaign will tackle on-the-job issues such as professionalism, family leave, favoritism, fair treatment and career advancement, the AFL-CIO said.
"It is our job to improve the climate for organizing and bargaining," noted spokesman Rex Hardesty, adding that many international unions will "piggyback" local organizing efforts on the national campaign.
The action stems from a 1985 self-critique in which labor looked at its strengths and weaknesses in the 1980s and beyond. The report, called "The Changing Situation of Workers and Their Unions," made 28 recommendations for change; 11 dealt with better, more sophisticated communications.
The TV ads feature several "celebrity union members," the AFL-CIO said, along with rank-and-file workers from all parts of the country. Tyne Daly of "Cagney and Lacy" appears in one segment and Howard Hesseman of "Head of the Class" is in another.