In the wake of many headlines to come out of the Meghan Markle/Prince Harry interview released last week, one unexpected story began to circulate. While detailing the mistreatment she suffered as part of the Royal Family (yes, our hearts bleed) Meghan decried the fact that she no longer had union representation, like she had while she worked as an actor.
She is, according to Vice.com, the latest in a series of high-profile people to publicly come out in support of unions and the work they do. Vice goes on to announce that "Unions Are Cool Now" because of a supposed string of influencers declaring their unionism.
Well, we almost fell off our chairs. We dusted off our denim jackets and put on our sunglasses. We put on some Taylor Swift (is that what the kids are into?) and Shook It Off up Lygon Street to the local discotheque.
Seriously though, the claim that unions were never not cool is ridiculous. Bruce Springsteen (The Boss, ironically) has been talking about unions for years. The most memorable episode from the golden age of The Simpsons (Dental plan! Lisa needs braces...) was about unions. Even Cardi B (an actual cool person and former United Food and Commercial Workers International Union member) has spoken publicly with Bernie Sanders about how important workers' rights to organise and bargain collectively are.
On a deeper level, what is unionism but a rebellious spirit? And isn't that what being cool is all about? No one ever looked cool licking boots. James Dean wasn't A Scab Without A Cause. (Having a cause would have been preferable, to be honest, but at least he wasn't a sellout.)
James Dean wasn't A Scab Without A Cause.
Fighting the power is cool. Public Enemy didn't write Try To See The Power's Side of Things.
There was never a band called Sit Down And Talk With The Machine. Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine has been explicitly talking about unions for years, and is currently super active in the Fight For 15 minimum wage campaign.
Vice, a billion-dollar media company, is just trying to be the gatekeepers of what is cool.
And you know what? That's not cool.