What is a Narrative?

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What is a Narrative?. The union narrative is the story people hear about who we are and what we do. Our story has largely been defined by others, in a way that damages our ability to move workers’ interests forward. Changing the Narrative.
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What is a Narrative?The union narrative is the story people hear about who we are and what we do. Our story has largely been defined by others, in a way that damages our ability to move workers’ interests forward.Changing the NarrativeThrough this project, we aim to change the narrativeso people see unions for what they really are – workers standing together.This new narrative willposition us “on offense”so we can be moreeffective for workers. MethodsThe California Labor Coalition worked with nationally-known neuroscience and political expert Dr. Drew Westen to:Conductresearchon the public’s attitudes toward unions nowDevelop themessagesthat move voters to where they could beResearch FindingsThe opposition branding of public sector workers has been effective. BUT, we have an opening to re-brand unions.Our new messages beat even the toughest opposition arguments.We can move people by repeatingthe new messages that stick. Your Opportunity
  • Together with your union, you are:
  • Among the first to use our new, groundbreaking messages and tools.
  • Pivotal to the success of our new union narrative.
  • Working together with the whole labormovement, you can help change the way people think about unions andmove the worker agenda forward. Our New NarrativeDrawing on our research, our new narrative:
  • Rebrands unions as “working people standing together.”
  • This phrase resonates with people who have negative views of unions or think they are irrelevant.
  • Refocuses voter concern where it should be: on corporations and CEOs.
  • Voters understand the inequality resulting from CEOs who negotiate their own compensation but won’t let workersdo the same.
  • Puts a human face on workers.
  • The “spell” of the right is broken when we paint pictures of real people, help voters identify with them, and evoke gratitude for what they do.
  • Our New Narrative1. Rebrands unions as “working people standing together.”“The great American middle class didn’t just happen.In our grandparents’ generation, workers stood together in their unions to create the 40-hour work week, vacations, and wages that were the envy of the world.”Our New Narrative2. Refocuses voter concern where it should be: on corporations and CEOs.“Before we cut another dime from the wages and benefits of workingpeople in California, we need to talk about the 15 million dollar retirement packages for CEOs, who don’t believe in letting their workers negotiate for retirement but do a pretty good job negotiating for their own.”Our New Narrativewhen the water lines burst are no different from the rest of us. One in 10 has lost their jobs and the rest are struggling to get by like everyone else.” 3. Puts a human face on workers“The sanitation workers who pick up our trash and the people who come to our homes at 3 a.m.Our New FrameWORKING PEOPLE STANDING TOGETHER.Our New Narrative
  • In our grandparents generation, working people stood together in their unions to create the 40-hour work week, paid vacations and good, American, wages.
  • Sitting across from employers at the negotiating table, they made American companies the envy of the world and built our middle class, brick by brick.
  • Our New Narrative
  • But now that middle-class is being systematically dismantled by:
  • Wall Street bankers and their lobbyists outsourcing our jobs and slashing wages and health care to get bigger bonuses for themselves (private sector)
  • Big corporations and CEOs demanding more corporate tax breaks even if it means teachers who challenge our kids and firefighters who put their lives on the linelose their jobs (public sector)
  • Our New Narrative
  • Today, the only thing that stands in the way of the CEOs and corporate lobbyists is what stood in their way in our grandparent’s generation: working people standing together.
  • With no one sitting across from them at the table negotiating for working families, CEOs walk away with bigger bonuses and workers walk away wondering how they’ll feed their families.
  • Our new narrative
  • That’s why workers and their unions are innovating to keep California competitive by retraining workers for new industries, partnering with small businesses to keep jobs here at home, and fighting alongside parents for smaller class sizes so teachers can teach and students can learn.
  • Using our New Narrative
  • Our new narrative messages are worth repeating! See how our strong messages can be used to:
  • Reframe the attacks on workers
  • Position workers on offense
  • Reframe
  • Working people are losing ground in today’s economy because CEOs are outsourcing our jobs and slashing our wages to give themselves bigger bonuses. They’re systematically dismantling our middle class, and the only thing that stands in their way is workers standing together.
  • 1. Unions might have made sense in our grandparents generation, but now we have laws to protect workers.Go on Offense
  • Working people are losing ground in today’s economy because CEOs are outsourcing our jobs and slashing our wages to give themselves bigger bonuses. They’re systematically dismantling our middle class, and the only thing that stands in their way is workers standing together.
  • My paycheck doesn’t go as far as it used to and feeding my family means watching every penny. It’s too bad our town is losing its character as all the mom-and-pop stores are closing up, but the big box stores make it a whole lot easier to stretch a dollar. Reframe
  • Companies are sitting on record profits and CEOs are hauling down $15 million bonuses. That’s what happens when no one is sitting across from them at the table negotiating for working people.
  • 2. Unions are killing our economy by making American companies less competitive.Go on Offense
  • Companies are sitting on record profits and CEOs are hauling down $15 million bonuses. That’s what happens when no one is sitting across from them at the table negotiating for working people.
  • I keep hearing on the news that the economy is improving, but where are the jobs?! My sister has a degree and tons of experience and she’s been out of work for 2 years. I’m worried things will never get better.Reframe
  • The problem isn’t that the teachers who challenge and educate our kids can count on $25,000 a yearin retirement, it’s that the rest of us can’t.
  • 3. Public sector unions use their political clout to buy politicians so they can get gold-plated retirements and perks those of us in the private sector will never see. Go on Offense
  • The problem isn’t that the teachers who challenge and educate our kids can count on $25,000 a yearin retirement, it’s that the rest of us can’t.
  • Our parents and grandparents never expected to get rich but at least they knew after working for 30 years they’d have the security of a decent pension. With the way the economy is now, only government workers have any security. I’ll probably never be able to retire. Match the word to the definition1. Frame2. Message3. NarrativeA. The story being toldB. Describing an issue from our perspectiveC. The specific words & phrases to communicate your point
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