Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Imagining the future of organized labour (part one of three)

List of unions.
This is the first of a three-part blog post about the historical invisibility of organized labour in science fiction. The second postwas published in mid-February explores recent works that address this notable absence. A third blog post examines labour unions in science fiction TV and movies. These articles could not have been completed without the help of science fiction historian Alec Nevala-Lee and labour researchers Mark McCutcheon and Bob Barnetson
Science fictional narratives are filled with depictions of employment.

Whether it’s Gaal Dornick taking a job with the mathematics department at the University of Trantor, or Robinette Broadhead leaving his job in the protein mines to pursue an opportunity with the Gateway corporation, the genre is rife with examples of standard capitalist employment relationships.

Often given less focus, however, are the rights of those workers, and the means by which those rights are asserted. When it comes to employment, the majority of science fiction offers either utopian visions in which everyone has a share in societal prosperity, or dystopian nightmares in which the elites have all the power and workers are crushed underfoot.

For example, neither Star Trek nor Babylon 5 ever explore the reason why productivity gains of new
The character Robocop crosses a picket
line to appease the corporate masters
of a privatized police department.
In the labour movement, he would be
called a 'scab.'
(Image via DenOfGeek.com)
technologies have not been concentrated into the wealth of an ultra-elite. Conversely, neither Altered Carbon nor Neuromancer offer explanations for why the working class has failed to organize solidarity-driven or democratic responses to societal problems.

Few of us have memories of the might of the North American union movement in the 1940s and 1950s. It was this movement that accorded workers stability and living wages that increased on par with productivity gains. It is probably this era of increasing income equality that made expansive utopian imaginings without explanation seem plausible.

In 1951, famed science fiction editor John W. Campbell wrote to H. Beam Piper, one of his regular writers, asking the author to tone down anti-union language in the story Day Of The Moron. He did so not because he supported the labour movement, but because he was afraid of offending members of the printers’ union that his magazine, Astounding, relied upon.

At their peak in 1954, unions represented almost a third of workers in the United States, and it was easy to take their existence — and their action as a counterbalance to the power of capital — for granted. Even employees in non-union workplaces enjoyed gains because employers had to keep up with union shops to retain and recruit labour.

But despite their prevalence in society, labour unions were largely absent from science fictional narratives during the Golden Age, and their few portrayals in the genre are usually either comedic or antagonistic.

As labour activist and science fiction author Eric Flint pointed out at WorldCon76, the major
At Worldcon 76 in San Jose, Eric Flint,
Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Cory
Doctorow discussed the dearth of
labour unions in science fiction.
(Photo by Kateryna Barnes)
contributors to the development of science fiction — from the dawn of the Golden Age of Science Fiction through this era of union organizing and stability — were largely drawn from academic circles or the upper middle class. Despite working for a living, these authors and editors did not see themselves as part of the proletariat, and thus based their narratives on assumptions that their privileged working relationships allowed them to hold.

Arthur C. Clarke’s scientist and astronaut heroes exist in a rarefied academic bubble that’s divorced from more typical job markets. Even when tackling a worker’s revolution in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Heinlein defined the conflict in terms of nationalism rather than solidarity. Ray Bradbury seems to be largely unaware of conflicts about labour conditions. And the Amalgamated Union in Alfred Bester’s classic The Demolished Man is largely a force for ill due to corrupt leadership.

Of all the big-name authors of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, special notice should be given to Isaac Asimov’s troubled relationship to organized labour. Despite the fact that Asimov came from a working-class background, his portrayals of workers is often problematic and condescending - In Caves of Steel (1954), workers who are displaced by robots are shown to be semi-literate at best, using pidgin like “‘Maybe it’s time the gov’min’ reelized robots ain’t the only things on Earth.”

If his portrayal of individual labourers is dismissive, his depiction of organized labour is actively hostile: In Robbie (1940), the labour movement forms an unholy alliance with religious fanatics to oppose progress in the form of robots; in the Foundation saga, nepotistic labour guilds are in part responsible for the collapse of the Empire; and to make his antipathy more obvious, he wrote the story Strikebreaker (1957), in which the heroic lead character forces a worker to accept employer demands.
A hero to many left-wing science
fiction fans, Isaac Asimov had feet
of clay on some subjects, including
workers' rights.
(Image by Rowena Morrill) 

It is disappointing to note that Asimov, member of the Futurians and an author often perceived as a progressive voice, might have had such a significant blind spot.

Even one of the most labour relations aware works of that era, Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth’s comedic novel The Space Merchants, is far from a paragon. The novel introduces us to the United Slime-Mold Protein Workers of Panamerica, a union that both exploits its membership through unfair fees, and is unable to stand up against the corporation’s might.

The progressive New Wave of science fiction of the late 1960s may have addressed the genre’s blind spots around race and gender, but when the subjects of class and labour were examined, it was usually with a sense of despair. This viewpoint is understandable in the context of the times: after declining for most of the previous four decades, American inequality was on the rise; trust in liberal democratic political institutions was being undermined; and the worst aspects of hierarchical business unions were on full display through such figures as Jimmy Hoffa and Carlo Gambino.

Those few representations of labour-rights organizations are presented with either antipathy or comedic disdain. When Douglas Adams introduces the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries and Other Professional Thinking Persons in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the union’s representatives Vroomfondel and Majikthise are actively fighting against knowledge and research. Arnie Kott, the antagonist in Philip K. Dick’s Martian Time-Slip, is a broad caricature of a union leader and is presented as bigoted, corrupt, egotistical, and thin-skinned.

One notable exception to this anti-union sentiment was found in Larry Niven's 1966 short story A Relic Of Empire, in which unions are described as a necessity

Depictions of workers rights and the struggle to defend those rights are few and far between by the
Has anyone from the Occupational
Health and Safety department
completed an ergonomic assessment
 of this power armor?
(Image via TheVerge
late 1970s and 1980s. Employees of the Weyland-Yutani corporation in Alien have little-to-no recourse when it comes to their right to refuse unsafe work. Neoliberal assumptions around employer-employee relations are reflected in more and more depictions of independent contractors in the genre. Johnny Mnemonic is a precarious worker, as are most denizens of the sprawl.

It could be argued that the cyberpunk subgenre is the apotheosis of despair over the state of workers’ rights. In The Diamond Age, the thete (lower-class) citizens have absolutely no rights, let alone employment rights, while workers like Molly in Neuromancer are even stripped of their right to remember the tasks they perform.

In these corporatist dystopias, workers are either unwilling or unable to organize in opposition to these measures, and what few escapes from serfdom exist are accomplished through heroic personal narratives. This view of the struggle for workers’ rights can be seen again in Neil Bloekamp’s 2013 box-office dud Elysium, in which a disenfranchised worker fights an unfair system, but does so on his own through violent action, rather than by organizing his workplace.

Interestingly, even in Ursula LeGuin’s exploration of anarcho-syndicalism The Dispossessed, workers rights are defended in neither the capitalist society of Anarres, nor on the anarchic world of Urras. On the latter world, the protagonist is forced into manual labour due to societal strictures, while on the former he’s part of a labour protest that’s violently put down. In neither world do we see an example of an effective labour movement.

As Mark A. McCutcheon and Bob Barnetson argue in their 2016 paper Resistance is Futile: On The
"THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE!
YOU WILL BE PRIVATIZED!
PRI-VA-TIZE! PRI-VA-TIZE!"
(Image via BBC.com)
Under-Representation of Unions in Science Fiction
, “The paucity of realistic representations of unions in SF thus has political implications: it reinforces the absence of alternatives to ... neoliberal capitalism.” This observation is mirrored by Margaret Thatcher’s famous slogan, “There Is No Alternative.”

The rigid adherence to one paradigm might be understandable in memetic (non-genre) fiction that strives to represent the world as it is, but in a genre like science fiction, which purports to be based on imagination, it is deeply disappointing. As Cory Doctorow noted this summer at a Worldcon76 panel on the working class in science fiction “There is no sentiment more antithetical to science fiction than ‘there is no alternative,’ … what we do as science fiction authors is exactly to imagine alternatives.”

Thankfully, a new generation was about to do exactly that.

Part two of this blog post, covering a renewed interest in organized labour in science fiction in the 1990s and 2000s, was posted on February 18, 2019. 

Organized labour in science fiction

Organized labour in science fiction

 

Additional suggestions are welcome.

This list is to supplement our blog posts on labour in SF: part onepart twopart three

 

Terminology:

Business union” is defined as an organization that is legally certified by the government to negotiate on behalf of a group of workers.

Solidarity union” is defined as a group of workers organizing themselves on a grassroots basis to seek concessions from an employer.

Guild union” is defined as a group of workers whose labour negotiating ability stems from their near-monopoly on a particular set of skills.

“Primary depiction” is defined as union activity being the focus of the story. These are stories in which organizing workers or workers asserting their rights is crucial to the events depicted. 
“Secondary depiction” is defined as union activity being important to the story, but not the primary focus. This is often an important plot point. 
“Tertiary depiction” is defined as anything that is not substantive. This can range from a one-sentence reference, to a piece of world-building that is not crucial to the plot.

 

(Note: This list excludes inherently criminal organizations such as the Assassin's Guild from Discworld, the Guild of Thieves from Robert Silberberg and Randall Garrett's A Little Intelligence or the Traitor's Guild from James Blish's A Style in Treason.)

Year

Title / Author

Union Model

Qualitative Depiction

Extent of depiction

1887

Log of the Flying Fish – Harry Collingwood

[Novel]

Solidarity union – shipbuilding

Negative depiction – character complains at length about how unions impede production.

Tertiary

1890

News From Nowhere – William Morris

[Novel]

Solidarity union
(Manufacturing)

Positive depiction – worker organizing leads to utopia

Secondary

1923

Nordenholt’s Million – J.J. Connington

[Novel]

Solidarity union
(General)

Mixed depiction – unions raise some objection to techno-fascism, but are crushed.

Tertiary

1938

The Toys Go On Strike – Enid Byton

[Children’s Book]

Solidarity union (Toys)

Positive depiction – Union stands up to mistreatment of workers.

Primary

1940

Robbie - Isaac Asimov

 

[Short Story]

Business union
(Manufacturing)

Negative depiction - Antagonistic to progress.

Secondary

1940

The Roads Must Roll - Robert A. Heinlein

 

[Short Story]

Business union (Transportation)

Negative depiction - strike must be quashed violently.

Primary

1941

A Gnome There Was – Henry Kuttner

[Short Story]

Solidarity union (mining)

Positive depiction – Union organizer shows gnomes that monarchy exploits them.

Primary

1942

Breakdown – Jack Williamson

[Short Story]

Business union (Engineers and spacemen)

Negative depiction – Union power is stifling and overreaching

Primary

1946

Slaves of the Lamp – Leo Zagat

[Novel]

Business union (Psychoneers union)

 

 

1949

The Green Forest – A.E. Van Vogt

Business union (Spacement’s Union)

Negative depiction

Secondary

1951

The Man In The White Suit - Ealing Studios

 

[Movie]

Business union
(Textiles)

Negative depiction - Antagonistic to progress.

Primary

1951

The Traders (Foundation) - Isaac Asimov

 

[Short Story]

Guild union
(Atomic engineers)

Negative depiction - Nepotistic and anti-intellectual.

Secondary

1951

Day Of The Moron - H. Beam Piper

 

[Short Story]

Business union
(Atomic engineers)

Negative depiction - Protects unqualified workers. Bureaucratic and obstructionist.  

Primary

1952

The Space Merchants - Frederick Pohl & Cyril Kornbluth

 

[Novel]

Business union (Agricultural)

Negative depiction - Labour union exploits worker.

Secondary

1952

The Demolished Man - Alfred Bester

 

[Novel]

Business union
(Unspecified)

Negative depiction - Corrupt union leadership.    

Tertiary

1953

Null ABC – H. Beam Piper

[Novella]

Solidarity union (Reading)

Mixed depiction – Works to protect rights of skilled workers, but may be unnecessary.

Secondary

1953

Starman Jones – Robert A. Heinlein

 

[Novel]

Guild union (Transportation)

Negative depiction – Union is anti-meritocratic.

Secondary

1955

Meeting of the Board – Alan E. Nourse

[Novelette]

Business union
(Titanium manufacturing)

Negative depiction – Overly powerful unions act irrationally towards management prompting a crisis.

Primary

1957

Strikebreaker - Isaac Asimov

 

[Short Story]

Solidarity union (Waste processing)

Negative depiction - Strike threatens survival of colony.

Primary

1957

The Lineman – Walter Miller Jr.

 

[Short Story]

Business union
(Lavaworkers)

Negative depiction – Union described as “yellow-bellied obscenity.”

Tertiary

1960

The Apprentice - James White

 

[Short Story]

Business union
(Department store)

Positive depiction - Employee has job protection

Secondary

1962

Last Year’s Grave Undug – Chan Davis

[Short Story]

Business unions (multiple)

Mixed depiction – Union is implied to have helped reduce inequality. But also corrupt former union president is brutal leader in post-apocalyptic. 

Secondary

1963

Omicron

[Movie]

Business union
(Factory workers)

Positive depiction – Alien organises labour collective.

Primary

1964

Martian Time-Slip – Philip K. Dick

 

[Novel]

Business union
(Plumbing)

Negative depiction – Corrupt union leadership.

Secondary

1964

Sacheverell – Avram Davidson

[Short Story]

Business union
(Circus)

Positive depiction

Tertiary

1966

A Relic Of Empire – Larry Niven

 

[Short Story]

General statement about unions.

Positive depiction – Described as ‘necessary.’

Tertiary

1971

Holdholtzer’s Box – David R. Bunch

Business union (manufacturing)

Positive depiction – Employer praises union shop because “happy workers make better workers.”

Tertiary

1974

The Monster of Peladon – Dr. Who

[Television Episode]

Business union (Resource extraction)

Mixed depiction – Workers have valid concerns, but are pawns in larger political game. 

Secondary

1978

Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams

 

[Radio/Novel/Television]

Guild Union
(Philosophers)

Negative depiction – Antagonistic towards progress, interested primarily in “gravy train.”

Tertiary

1978

1985 – Anthony Burgess

[Novel]

Business Union

(General)

Negative depiction – Unions depicted as oppressive and anti-freedom.

Primary

1979

The Kilohertz War – Alien Worlds

 

[Radio]

Business Union (Technicians)

Negative depiction – complaints about union striking.

Tertiary

1986

Watchmen – Alan Moore

 

[Comic book]

Business Union (Police)

Mixed depiction – 1973 police strike causes violence, but may be justified.

Tertiary

1987

Robocop - Paul Verhoeven

 

[Movie]

Business Union

(Police)

Negative depiction - Heroic characters cross picket line. Quote: "Police officers don't strike."

Primary

1988

They Live – John Carpenter

 

[Movie]

Business Union (Construction)

Mixed depiction – Union is “closed shop” but hires itinerant protagonist anyway.

Tertiary

1989

Orbital Decay - Allen Steele

 

[Stories / Novel]

Business Union (Construction)

Positive depiction - Union helps ensure safer workplace.

Primary

1992

Heavy Time - CJ Cherryh

 

[Novel]

Business union (Mining)

Negative depiction - employer-dominated union.

Primary

1992

We Are Not Amused – Laura Resnick

[Short Story]

Business union
(Sex Workers)

Positive depiction – Helped advance rights of women

Primary

1994

By Any Means Necessary - Babylon 5

 

[Television]

Business union
(Dockworkers)

Mixed depiction - Striking workers are violent, but achieve fairer wages.

Primary

1996

Night Sky Mine - Melissa Scott

 

[Novel]

Business union
(Mining)

Positive depiction - Ensures equitable wages.

Secondary

1996

Bar Association - Deep Space Nine

 

[Television]

Solidarity union
(Service industry)

Mixed depiction - Achieves fairer wages, but must be disbanded because it’s “no longer needed.”

Primary

1999

Against The Tide Of Years – S.M. Stirling

 

[Novel]

Business union (Dockworkers)

Positive depiction – Protagonist provides help to union trying to support fair wages.

Tertiary

2000

1632 - Eric Flint

 

[Novel / Series]

Business union
(Mine workers)

Positive depiction - Organizing prosperous economy.

Secondary

2000

Candle - John Barnes

 

[Novel]

Guild union
(Combat)

Positive depiction - Union   provides health, dental and legal coverage.

Secondary

2000

Company Man - Robert Jackson Bennett

 

[Novel]

Solidarity union
(General)

Positive depiction - Union   works to combat inequality.

Secondary

2000

Cosmonaut Keep - Ken MacLeod

 

[Novel]

Solidarity union
(Online workers)

Positive depiction - Balances power of capital.

Secondary

2000

Midnight Robber – Nalo Hopkinson

 

[Novel]

Solidarity union (Transporation / pedicab drivers)

Positive depiction – fights for fair compensation

Secondary

2000

SimGen Sequence (AKA “Sims”) – F. Paul Wilson

[Series of stories]

Solidarity union (manual labour)

Positive depiction – fights for the rights of non-human sentients.

Primary

2000

Perdido Street Station - China Mieville

 

[Novel]

Business union
(Dock workers)

Positive depiction - Unions provide counterbalance to strength of capital.

Secondary

2001

Bendless Love – Futurama

 

[TV Episode]

Business union (Manufacturing)

Negative depiction – protagonist is a scab worker. Union is mob-connected and corrupt.

Primary

2004

Iron Council – China Mieville

[Novel]

Business union

(Railway workers)

Positive depiction

Primary

2005

Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

 

[Novel]

Business union
(Mining workers)

Negative depiction – Striking workers on the news portrayed as violent.  

Tertiary

2006

Small Minded Giants - Oisín McGann

[Novel]

Business union
(Machinists)

Positive depiction

Secondary

2007

Safehold – David Weber

[Novel series]

Business union
(Foundries)

Positive depiction

Tertiary

2007

Dirty Hands - Battlestar Galactica

 

[Television]

Solidarity union
(Mining workers)

Negative depiction - Heroic governor bargains in bad faith by holding gun to the head of a worker. 

Primary

2009

The Wind-Up Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi

 

[Novel]

Guild Union
(Animal handlers)

Negative depiction - antagonism towards entrepreneur protagonist.

Secondary

2010

For The Win - Cory Doctorow

 

[Novel]

Solidarity union
(Online workers)

Positive depiction - ensuring workers’ rights.

Primary

2010

Damage Time - Colin Harvey

 

[Novel]

Guild Union
(Sex trade workers)

Negative depiction - Union excludes vulnerable population.

Secondary

2010

The Great Bay – Dale Pendell

 

[Novel]

Business Union (Electrical workers)

Mixed depiction

Tertiary

2011

The Expanse
[Series of Novels]
Leviathan Wakes (2011)

Caliban’s War (2012)
Abbadon’s Gate (2013)
Cibola Burn (2014)

Nemesis Games (2015)

Babylon’s Ashes (2016)

Persepolis Rising (2017)

Tiamat’s Wrath (2019)

Leviathan Falls (2021)

Multiple Business Unions
(Resource extraction workers, transportation workers)

Positive depiction – Union integral in democratic governance. Help defend rights of oppressed workers. Provide legal counsel to workers in need.

Secondary

2011

Contagion

 

[Movie]

Business Union
(Nursing)

Negative depiction - Union rules prevent adequate health care for major character.

Secondary

2012

High Stakes – Naomi Kritzer

[Short Story]

Solidarity Union (IWW)

Positive depiction – Union helps fight debt slavery.

Primary

2012

Existence - David Brin

 

[Novel]

Business Union
(Child care workers)

Positive depiction - Union is part of positive and functional workplace.

Tertiary

2012

“The Doctor Is Sin” – Episode of Venture Brothers

 

[Television]

Business Unions (Machine Workers, Nuclear Engineering and Custodial Super Science Unions)

Mixed depiction – Union has legitimate grievances but are treated as joke.

Secondary

2013

Phosphorus – Veronica Schanoes

 

[Short Story]

Solidarity Union & Business Union (Manufacturing, General Labourers)

Positive depiction – Union stands in opposition to unsafe work practices

Primary

2013

Burning Girls – Veronica Schanoes

 

[Novella]

Solidarity Union (Garment Workers)

Positive depiction – Union stands in opposition to unsafe work practices.

Secondary

2013

Fortune’s Pawn - Rachel Back

 

[Novel]

Business Union
(Merchants)

Positive depiction - Union provides information to employees.

Tertiary

2013

The Day The Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers

[Children’s Book]

Solidarity Union
(Crayons)

Positive depiction – Union helps improve the working conditions of labourers. 

Primary

2014

Climbing the Date Palm – Shira Glassman

 

[Short Story]

Business Union
(Construction)

Positive depiction – Union fights against wage theft.

Primary

2014

Ancillary Sword – Ann Leckie

 

[Novel]

Solidarity Union
(Agricultural)

Positive depiction – Union fights against indentured servitude in tea production operation.

Tertiary

2014

War & Mir Vol. 2: Darkold – Minister Faust

 

[Novel]

 

Positive depiction

Secondary

2015

Windswept - Adam Rakunas

 

[Novel]

Business union
(Manufacturing)

Positive depiction - ensuring fair wages.

Primary

2015

Bangarang – Killjoys

(Reappears throughout series)

[TV Episode]

Business union
(Resource extraction)

Mixed depiction – Union interferes with protagonists, but also helps vulnerable workers.

Tertiary

2015

All The Childhood You Can Afford - Daniel Suarez

 

[Short Story]

Business union
(Manufacturing)

Positive depiction - Ensures gains of automation are shared more equitably.

Secondary

2016

Checkerboard Planet – Eleanor Arnason

[Short Story]

Business union (Natural resource extraction)

Positive depiction – Labour organizer protagonist striving for better working conditions.

Primary

2016

Company Town - Madeline Ashby

 

[Novel]

Business union
(Sex trade workers)

Positive depiction - Ensures workers’ safety and rights.

Secondary

2017

New York 2140 – Kim Stanley Robinson

[Novel]

Multiple unions
(housing, general labour, office workers)

Positive depiction – through co-ordinated action striking workers help reform democracy

Secondary

2017

Another Girl, Another Planet - Lou Antonelli

 

[Novel]

Business union
(Duct workers)

Positive depiction - Ensures safety standards in construction.

Secondary

2017

Hunger Makes the Wolf / Blood Binds The Pack - Alex Wells

 

[Novel/Series]

Business union
(Mining workers)

Positive depiction – Unionization drive is response to corporate exploitation.

Primary

2017

The Death and Life of Schneider Wrack - Nate Crowley

[Novel]

Solidarity union
(Undead labourers)

Positive depiction – Union fights against exploitation of labour

Primary

2017

Quirks – Marie Vibbert

 

[Short Story]

Business union
(Carpenters)

Mixed depiction – Union uses memory   uploads to share skills.

Primary

2018

Sorry To Bother You - Boots Riley

 

[Movie]

Business union
(Telemarketing)

Positive depiction - Balances power of capital.

Primary

2018

Unfulfilled/Bike Parade - South Park

 

[Television]

Solidarity union
(Warehouse workers)

Positive depiction - Union   fights for safety standards and fair pay.

Primary

2019

The Future Of Another Timeline - Annalee Newitz

 

[Novel]

Multiple unions

Industrial Workers Of The World,

United Steelworkers

and

The Carpenters’ Union

Positive depiction – Unions are depicted as allies in the struggle for women’s rights.


Steelworkers achieve fairer overtime compensation for workers. 

Secondary

2019

Closed Shop – Kevin J. Phyland

 

[Short Story]

Solidarity union
(Artificial Inteligence)

Positive depiction - Union fights for fair wages and public good.

   Primary

2020

Lapsis

 

[Movie]

Solidarity union
(Gig workers)

Positive depiction - Organizing in adverse conditions.

 

Primary

2020

The Factory Witches of Lowell – C.S. Malerich

 

[Novella]

Business union (mill workers)

Positive depiction – Union fights for better working conditions.

Primary

2020

The Salvage Crew

Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

 

[Novella]

Business union
(Mining)

Positive depiction – Union secures better pay.

Tertiary

2020
&2021

Hardspace: Shipbreaker –Blackbird Interactive

 

And expansion pack

[Video Game]

Business union
(salvage)

Positive depiction – Union protects vulnerable workers.

Primary

2021

Machinehood – S.B. Divya

 

[Novel]

Business union (construction)

Mixed depiction – Union funds antagonistic/violent protesters. Union also helps push back against erosion of human rights. 

Secondary

2021

Heritage - Superman & Lois

 

[Television]

Business union (manufacturing)

Positive depiction – Fights for worker wages and safety at villain Morgan Edge’s factory.

Tertiary

2021

Orumai’s Choice – Gautam Bhatia

[Short Story]

Solidarity union
(General labour)

Positive depiction – Sentient robots assert their right to work-life balance.

Primary

2021

The Horizon – Gautam Bhatia

[Novel]

Business union (Agricultural workers)

Positive depiction – union is central to revolution seeking to address inequity and inequality in society.

Primary

2021

Song of Slag – Louis Evans

[Short Story]

Solidarity union (Foundry workers)

Positive depiction – union fights for fair compensation.

Primary

2021

The Association of Twelve Thousand Flowers - Ursula Whitcher

[Short Story]

Solidarity union (Jade miners)

Positive depiction – Union counterbalances power of capital.

Primary

2022

Unionized In The Butt And Now Everyone Is Safer, Happier And Better Paid – Chuck Tingle

Business union (Spaghetti Mug Manufacturing)

Positive depiction – Union fights for health and safety of workers as well as reasonable break times.

Primary

2022

Ogres – Adrian Tchaikovsky

Solidarity union (Manufacturing)

Positive depiction – Union fights against exploitation and racism.

Secondary

2022

We Built This City – Marie Vibbert

Solidarity union (window washing)

Positive depiction – Fight for safer work environment

Primary