Boxing Up Labor

May 3rd, 2021 Barry Posted in Labor rights & Unions | No Comments »

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This cartoon has six panels, all of which show a man and a woman on a hillside. There is a mostly-constructed crate there, large enough for a person to stand in.


The woman, who is wearing a dark vest over a purple dress, and glasses, is explaining something, gesturing with her hand and looking grumpy. She is standing inside a partly-built wooden crate. The man, who is wearing a suit without the jacket (but with a necktie) and is holding a hammer, is concentrating on hammering the crate and doesn’t seem to be listening to the woman at all.

The crate is missing two sides, which are leaning against the panel border behind the man.

WOMAN: It isn’t a free society unless workers have a strong voice!


The man is now hammering one of the missing sides into place, leaving only one side of the crate open. The woman, looking intense, leans out of the open side to talk more.

WOMAN: So when you pass laws that make it harder for workers to form unions, that harms the whole country!


The man is lifting the final side of the crate into place. The woman keeps on talking, raising one palm in a “hey, stop that” gesture.

WOMAN: And when you find excuses to fire organizers, and force workers to watch anti-union propaganda-


The man, smiling, hammers the final side of the crate into place. The woman, inside the crate, is no longer visible.

MAN: Done! That’s over with.


Suddenly a whole crowd of people, some smiling, some angry, is marching up to the box. Some of them carry signs; we can read that one says “STRIKE” and another says “Fight Until We Win.” One is carrying a saw; another, a short-haired woman in front, is carrying a crowbar. The man yells at them, a little hysterically.

MAN: Hey, who are you people? What are you doing? Help! Thugs! Vandals!


The crowd is taking the box apart; the front side of the box is being carried away by two people in the foreground, and the woman with the crowbar is prying off another side. We can now see the woman in the box again, who has her arms folded and is smiling. One sign in the background says “Union Pride”; another says “sign.”

The man stands near the box, waving his fists in the air and stomping his foot ineffectively and cry-yelling.

MAN: How dare you! This isn’t fair!