Low Pay, High Profle by Andrew Ross is about how Barneys wokers successfully leaded the labor movement with alternative perspective by bringing the local subculture such as gay culture.
It also offered me a knowledge of background about how Barneys could succeed as a big department store from the largest men’s clothing store but which was not really luxurious.
The union knew how to get public attention. They opened the show at the workplace and let the models expose the insignia of UNITE. So they reflected their demands through the show and let the public know their concern.
To advertise their labor protest, they also used the gay culture which is still one of strong subculture in NYC. I believe this historical background became the good basis for building the strong relationship between Fahsion Industry, gay culture and NewYork city.(From this year, same-sex marriage became legal in New York)
This kind of creative and smart way of labor protest reminds me of many protests on 42nd street, which is noisy and even brings antipathy. When I was in High school, there was a big strike by MTA labor union. It is called 2005 New York City transit strike in Wikipedia. So all students and workers who didn’t have car had to take a cab to go to their work and school.(or they had to ask for a ride) If it was L.A, it wouldn’t be a big problem. However commuting in New York city is totally based on taking public transportation. So I still clearly remember how really UNCOMFORTABLE it was. They used the tool that they have so well! so all NYC resident could feel how huge their absence is. Their strike was not just a labor protest. It became big social issue and brought so much antipathy from the public.
I know labor protesting mostly comes because they have been unfairly treated by the vicious enterprises for long time and threatened their right to live. But the successful example by Barney’s labor union protest in 1930s, still makes me think about what form of protest would be ideal for everyone.