By Don McIntosh
Twitter can be a constant conflict zone where woke warriors and conservative trolls do daily battle. But it can also be a place of whimsy, where people pursue passions and spread joy. Created March 15, the Twitter account @UnionLogos tweets little doses of joy three or four times each weekday, each one a shout-out to the beauty and symbolism of a union logo. Tweets can feature union logos from anywhere in the world, any point in time, and even fictional unions.
The account is the project of Sam Nelson, an officer in the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild (CWA) who works as an organizer for the national office of Jobs With Justice. A collector of union buttons and stickers, he created the account because he kept seeing great union logos.
“These are beautiful things that workers are creating for their own unions,” Nelson told the Labor Press by phone. “In the past 10 years there’s been a revitalization of good graphic design.”
IBEW locals seem to be especially creative with their logos, like the electric pirate of Local 915 in Tampa, or the spark-spitting gator of Local 606 in Orlando. [On Facebook there’s actually a 5,200-member group, IBEW Sticker Swap, where members trade the stickers of their locals.]
Members of Nelson’s own union, the NewsGuild, have also been having fun with logos. Amid a historic surge of newsroom unionizing, new locals are being formed around the country, with logos like a crab with pincers shaped like pen tips for the Chesapeake NewsGuild, or a logo featuring flying bats for the Austin NewsGuild.
Augmenting Nelson’s own collection, Twitter followers are sending him their unions’ logos. He schedules them to post, sometimes as part of “theme” days. For April Fools, the theme was fictional unions, like the International Brotherhood of Jazz Dancers, Pastry Chefs and Nuclear Technicians, which made an appearance on a 1993 episode of The Simpsons. On April 20 (4/20) he’ll tweet logos of recently formed cannabis workers unions.
It turns out the Twitterverse is teeming with labor nerds and collectors. Nelson’s @UnionLogos account immediately made a splash, and within three weeks had over 2,200 followers.
Says Nelson: “I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people saying, ‘I’ve wanted someone to do this!'”