The Barneys Empire

The article by Andrew Ross “Low Pay, High Profile” brought up some very interesting things about Barneys that I was unaware of. I found it fascinating how the company is so reliant on gay culture. I think that Ross is biased and creates a stereotype about the company that some may be offended by. But I do believe that Ross just wants what is best for the workers despite their sexual orientation. As stated in the article, “service emplyees who were identifiably gay were not just a businees asset, they would become an economic necessity.” I did also find it interesting how the employees of Barneys stuck together. Their union seems solid and actually unified. For example the wearing of red at work was significant and would only be successful if a number of employees participated. The union seems to be very organized and focused and even a little out there. They are successful in that they are extreme, in order to get the attention from management they needed to be “outrageous.” I think that these workers took an alternative approach to a protest. Having a fashion show seemed fitting for this company. Their creative tactics were more successful than the company itself. It is too bad the workers didn’t directly benefit from their picketing but it is a lesson to all to stick up for themselves. Maybe the picketers on Wall Street can learn a thing of two from the UNITE.

Kerry Manning

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