Picketing on Woodward

This morning I was privy to a silent protest at the junction of Woodward and Canfield. Wayne State University is putting in a parking structure off of Forest and condominiums are being built beside the Whitney along Woodward. The signs read “Local Labor for Local Workers”, or something of the sort, held by 50-70 men. Aside from the fact that my usual parking spots were taken, the strike didn’t seem all that effective in eliciting any feelings whatsoever. Work was continuing and there was no pedestrian traffic from which to draw sympathy. In cities, we tend to become immune to unusual scenes and it is easy to block things out. I am very much about people demonstrating, but perhaps demonstrators should think of tactics other than the one’s people have been using for the last century. Wrap a dump-truck in hot pink plastic and ride up and down Woodward, then more people may stop to inquire as to what you are talking about.

4 Comments so far

  1. Kim (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 9:52 am

    I have seen numerous of these protests around town for various projects. Much like you saw, they go on unnoticed.

    This appears to be the sign of the slow, sad death of the labor union. While I think unions still have a place, they have failed to change with the times to remain relevant and needed (particularly where there are labor laws that address many of the concerns that led to unionization in the first place). Nowadays, the public has little sympathy with union workers particularly where productivity among union workers is perceived to be much less than that of non-union workers. (Not sure whether the perception is true or not but I have heard many anecdotes that propel this belief)

    While a more splashy display would bring more attention, unions need to find the way to change the national dialogue about their place in society. Much like global warming was pretty much ignored up until almost a year or two ago. The dialogue was changed by the efforts of environmentalists, and the tipping point was reached.

  2. Abster (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

    I saw this same demonstration. I thought a vague “Wonder what this is for?” and kept driving. Much like you mention they went seemingly unnoticed – in at least one case, mine – its not even clear what they were really demonstrating for…

  3. max (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

    years ago some friends and i made signs with the big red circle/slash over silhouettes of people holding signs and marched near some other picketers (again, for some un-obvious cause) thus picketing the picketers. we seemed to get way more support from passers by i think because our cause was so apparent. say it loud/say it proud!

  4. Kevin (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 8:49 am

    Part of the problem is that Detroit and the area is based on the car, and really we’re so spread out, that, in general, not that many people spend more than a fleeting moment looking at a protest. How much impact does the protest on Woodward have when I go by once in a while, in my air conditioned car, at 45mph? Not much…

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