Macy’s Advertisement for Scabs

By Paddy Quick – On Sunday, June 12, 2016 The New York Times issue contained a full-page two-color ad for scabs. “Macy’s is now hiring temporary sales and support associates” the ad announced and made the reason crystal clear by including, in bold print, that this was “In anticipation of a possible labor dispute.”  Applicants were promised not only “competitive salaries” but “generous, immediate merchandise discounts, extended beyond completion of temporary assignments.” A follow-up ad, on June 14, omitted the phrase “labor dispute in progress” but was otherwise unchanged.  [The last line (in both ads) stated that “Macy’s is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment.”]

The RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) had threatened to strike on June 16, but a contract was reached before this threat had to be carried out. Macy’s obviously placed the ads as a form of pressure against the union, but of course people seeking temporary retail work are not well represented among subscribers to the New York Times!  Instead the ad was most likely directed to Macy’s fellow-capitalists notifying them that Macy’s deserved their support for its courageous stand against the greedy working class!  The support that Verizon workers had received from the public during their long strike was no doubt on its mind.

Leftists understand that capitalists always hope to hire scabs to replace striking workers, so I suppose I should not have been shocked at the blatant announcement of Macy’s intent to do so.  But I was. It constituted the legitimization of anti-union sentiment similar in some respects to the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments brought into the open by Trump’s attacks on “Muslims” and “Mexicans.”  As such it constituted an escalation of rhetoric, in a mainstream “liberal” newspaper, that seeks to demonize workers and their unions.