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  • Writer's pictureVex

The Importance of Collective Public Bargaining – Leveling the Playing Field

Collective bargaining – using the influence of a united mass to bargain with an entity, often used when attempts at redress at the individual level are stonewalled or otherwise met with failure. The union is the most popular form of this in modern culture. Unions unite workers under a leadership structure which acts on their behalf to gain favorable terms for the workers. When those terms are not met or negotiations break down the union typically instructs workers to participate in various forms of non-compliance such as strikes until demands are met or a compromise is reached. These unions may also use dues payments to fund litigation against employers for anything from breach of contract to personal injury.

Point being that individuals are often unable to effect change on their own. Unless you are notably wealthy it will be very difficult to accomplish anything meaningful. Funding lawsuits as either the plaintiff or defendant, buying ad space, boosting a new website into recognition, and just being heard in general are all tasks whose primary roadblock is adequate funding. However, these roadblocks may be overcome by collectivizing individual effort. The voices and money of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people can be funneled through just a few outlets, concentrating the resources of a disorganized mass into a coherent stream of activism. For such efforts to be effective however you need leadership capable of directing a mass of people (not all are up to this task), an understanding of what the people ultimately want, and the ability to clearly and loudly project the demands of the crowd while maintaining a clear message.

With a mass of sufficient size collectively organized and primed for action, the power to influence the powerful now exists. This collective public bargaining force, a union of otherwise unaffiliated individuals united by a common cause, can pool their resources together to act as an amalgamated person – the will of the people made manifest through a single large bullhorn. Examples of this include Sleeping Giants, an activist organization whose focus is stripping advertising revenue from select media outlets by calling for businesses to pull their ads from the media outlet, theoretically resulting in a reduction of overall revenue. They boast a Twitter following on their primary account of over 340,000 – which they use to quickly amplify and bring notice to whatever the current effort is. Another such example is the @Popehat Twitter account, primarily run by attorney Ken White. As of this writing the account had a following of over 266,000 – and among those followers are multiple notable activist organizations and other attorneys. This account and the connections formed by it has been used to quickly find legal aid for subjects of SLAPP suits or other such suppressive litigation who can’t otherwise afford it. Other examples are celebrities or notable individuals who use their large followings to bring attention to things like people’s GoFundMe drives or need for assistance.

Wielded properly, the power of a collective mass is an effective tool for change and arguably the best way to support those in dire need on short notice. The effort can be as small as a simple Tweet or as large as a month’s long viral campaign, but either can be life changing to an individual without the support needed to get an important message out or to defend themselves from a lawsuit plaintiff attempting to stifle them. All that’s needed is a unifying voice and a willingness from the collective to act when asked. With this effort corporations can be knee capped, politicians brought back into line, and the playing field leveled for those without their own war chest.

If you’d like to be part of such an effort follow Social Actuality on Twitter @SocialActuality – or you can subscribe to the sites email list. Planned future activities include lawsuit assistance, amplification of good causes, and other such efforts.

Remember to share this article to spread the word. Though many, we are one against injustice.

- Vex

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