Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Family Circus and the NLRA

Today’s Family Circus cartoon brings up some interesting issues of bargaining power in the modern American workplace. That, and its absolutely heart-warming. The scene is thus: Jeffy stands with hands on hips and a serious look on his face. Jeffy’s dad is bending down to be nearly face-to-face with Jeffy. Jeffy says, “After how many days can I renegotiate my allowance?” I’ll give you a second to take in the scene.

Jeffy clearly represents the American unionized worker. Bill, Jeffy’s father, represents the American industrial interests. This much is clear to anyone reading the funny pages. However, I believe the constrictive circular panel represents the framework of the National Labor Relations Act and collective bargaining agreements, whereby the employer is forced into negotiations with the employees over wages (and other topics). Bill’s posture tells us all we need to know about the efficacy of the NLRA in today’s society. Jeffy’s father (take note of the paternalistic imagery) is bending down to Jeffy’s level, condescending to negotiate with his “son.” Knowing that his full stature towers over little Jeffy, Bill only humors Jeffy's request for entrepreneurial imput. Furthermore, Bill is only partially in the frame, a nod to the economic reality that Bill has power outside of the NLRA. In contrast, Jeffy is entirely enveloped by the frame, suggesting that collective bargaining is his only option to try to even the inequality in bargaining power.

Hats off to Bil Keane for highlighting the absurdly unequal bargaining position of modern American workers. Many choose not to face the harsh reality that faces America's working class. Not so Mr. Keane. Bravo.

Note: I tried to find the comic online to link to but was unsuccessful. Sorry.


Blogger Matt said...


12:24 PM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

I can't believe you know the names of the Family Circus characters.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous cdawg said...

That's it. I warned you. I am no longer on the blog readership.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

Family Circus is an important piece of our social fabric. Fuzzy, I am suprised that you, or anyone who claims to be an American, does not know the names of the characters.

5:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home