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Why no Labor Day Movies?


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LOL

 

(...and now in reply and in my very best mumble-ly and nasally Brando voice...)

 

 

aaaaon20.jpg

 

"Yeah, Johnny?! Well, bring it on! Or hasn't anybody ever told ya not to bring a fist to a gunfight?!"

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Wasn't necessarily an "anti-labor" movie, but an expose of organized crime  and it's encroachment into labor unions in order to promote THEIR interests, not really the union's.  And the mob's involment assuring financial benefits and job security for the MOB and not the workers.

 

 

This is ostensibly so.  But the organization (I demur from calling it a union) is so unremittingly and uncompromisingly portrayed for its extortion activities that it serves as an implication of unionization.  It appears as an exclusively criminal enterprise, not a legitimate one taken over.  There are no elements in the movie that show how a union can or should operate in the interests of its membership.  The workers themselves are complicit in the criminality, the only ones in a sympathetic light being the few who have the temerity to object to the corruption.  The institutions that oppose the corruption, the Church and law enforcement, are depicted as ineffectual.  It is not the action of these groups, or the workers uniting to confront the evil that leads to triumph, or the beginning of it, but the actions of an individual, and that individual finally takes action from deep personal motivations, not a desire to cleanse the union and make it represent the workers.

 

On the Waterfront is decidedly a well made movie, with a fine and powerful performances, and timeless dialog.  It's a sensitive and insightful portrayal of human dilemmas, aspirations, and affections.  It does so masterfully, so it's not surprising it has lived so long in the public's consciousness.  And as such, it provides an effective vehicle for its anti-labor disquisition.

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I still have to disagree here.  I never saw, and probably the general public as well, the movie as a vehicle to promote an anti-labor sentiment.   "Anti-labor" in the sense of being against  organized labor anyway.  If anything the movie actually promoted  the idea of legitimately run labor unions, free of organized crime's influence and financing.  As voiced in the "....so we can run the union on the up and up."  line at the end of the movie.

 

Had only JIMMY HOFFA paid more attention to it, he may have died a natural  death instead of  being treated to a premature one.

 

 

Sepiatone

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On a lighter note, as RoyCronin pointed out, this would have been a perfect movie for Labour Day: a musical about a union:

 

 

Funny, but I didn't know The Pajama Game was set in Canada, Swithin?!

 

;)

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If it were set in Canada, it would be The Pyjama Game.

 

Funny, but I didn't know superfluous-u users spell the word "pajama" so darn strangely TOO, Swithin! ;)

 

Tell me here. How do they pronounce it? Still as how we Yanks pronounce it with a "pah-jam-ah" kind'a sound, OR like they spell it, with a "py(or "pie")-jam-ah" sort'a sound? OR might it be kind'a like how they spell words like, say, "labor"..err.."labour" I suppose in their case, BUT don't pronounce it like "lay-bour"(think of the two-syllable word "our" here at the end), but actually as "lay-bor" and just like WE do?

 

(...signed, ever the lexicologically inquisitive one and your friend, Dargo)

 

;)

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I still have to disagree here.  I never saw, and probably the general public as well, the movie as a vehicle to promote an anti-labor sentiment.   "Anti-labor" in the sense of being against  organized labor anyway.  If anything the movie actually promoted  the idea of legitimately run labor unions, free of organized crime's influence and financing.  As voiced in the "....so we can run the union on the up and up."  line at the end of the movie.

 

Had only JIMMY HOFFA paid more attention to it, he may have died a natural  death instead of  being treated to a premature one.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

As I said, I am probably in the minority.  But really, it's hard to see how the movie can actually promote unions without one positive depiction.  And as for the workers, they are either complicit wolves, or compliant sheep.  One wonders with material like that, how a union got formed in the first place.  Activity like that in years previous to the movie was dangerous, violent, and deadly.  One subtle tactic used by the movie is to turn the battle from one between the dockworkers and employers--who are absent from this movie, to one between the dockworkers and their union. So the union gets tagged with the tyranny, arbitrariness, oppression, and exploitation normally reserved for employers.  The portrayal of the dockside economy is so distorted, you'd quite naturally think it was the union that was the employer.

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Funny, but I didn't know superfluous-u users spell the word "pajama" so darn strangely TOO, Swithin! ;)

 

Tell me here. How do they pronounce it? Still as how we Yanks pronounce it with a "pah-jam-ah" kind'a sound, 

 

;)

 

Actually, I've heard Americans pronounce it differently. Scroll down. It has NYC and environs correct (meaning the way I pronounce it), though upstate they seem to pronounce it differently.

 

http://www.thejournal.ie/maps-americans-pronounce-different-words-938575-Jun2013/

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As I said, I am probably in the minority.  But really, it's hard to see how the movie can actually promote unions without one positive depiction.  And as for the workers, they are either complicit wolves, or compliant sheep.  One wonders with material like that, how a union got formed in the first place.  Activity like that in years previous to the movie was dangerous, violent, and deadly.  One subtle tactic used by the movie is to turn the battle from one between the dockworkers and employers--who are absent from this movie, to one between the dockworkers and their union. So the union gets tagged with the tyranny, arbitrariness, oppression, and exploitation normally reserved for employers.  The portrayal of the dockside economy is so distorted, you'd quite naturally think it was the union that was the employer.

In a way, they were.  The docks were owned by a company or other concern and no set number of employees were ever needed.  Not every cargo ship that ever docked required the same number of men to unload them.  Before Longshoremen formed a union, they'd just show up to the dock each morning, as shown in the movie, for a "shape up", where the needed number of longshoremen are picked for employment that day.  

 

However, a legitimately run union local would customarily find other work the remainders could do which in the case of the movie, would then leave Johnny Friendly with less money in his pocket.  So those not picked simply went home.  And as you probably must have caught on to, any complaints about their treatment was met with severe physical harm.  And also, in this case, it WASN'T the union, as a whole, that applied this sort of practice, but the corrupt union LOCALS, like the one run by Friendly that did.  The dock owners and cargo companies that owned the ships that docked had no say in how each local  operated.  Just like Ford, GM and FCA has no say in how each U.A.W. local does their  business.

 

And DARG, the pronunciation of the word is moot because NObody says "pajamas" anymore.  And IF anybody WEARS them anymore, they just call them "PJ's".   Or "jammies".  ;)

 

 

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Unfortunately, the union in On the Waterfront had real-life counterparts. Some of us remember that Dave Beck, the leader of a major American union, arranged for the murder of his rival, Jock Yablonski, who was running for union president as an anti-corruption candidate. Yablonski and his family were murdered in their home. This was several years after On the Waterfront.

 

On a lighter note, The Pajama Game is a film I'd love to see on TCM--or better yet, on the big screen. Some of the musical numbers can be found on YouTube. The staging of "There Once Was a Man" is delightful.

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Unfortunately, the union in On the Waterfront had real-life counterparts. Some of us remember that Dave Beck, the leader of a major American union, arranged for the murder of his rival, Jock Yablonski, who was running for union president as an anti-corruption candidate. Yablonski and his family were murdered in their home. This was several years after On the Waterfront.

 

On a lighter note, The Pajama Game is a film I'd love to see on TCM--or better yet, on the big screen. Some of the musical numbers can be found on YouTube. The staging of "There Once Was a Man" is delightful.

 

In the movie Tough Guys (1986) Charles Durning played a character named Deke Yablonski, a hard-edged police investigator nearing retirement.  No coincidences there.

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Unfortunately, the union in On the Waterfront had real-life counterparts. Some of us remember that Dave Beck, the leader of a major American union, arranged for the murder of his rival, Jock Yablonski, who was running for union president as an anti-corruption candidate. Yablonski and his family were murdered in their home. This was several years after On the Waterfront.

 

The Jock Yablonski story was told in Act of Vengeance, with Charles Bronson as Yablonski.

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 And as you probably must have caught on to, any complaints about their treatment was met with severe physical harm. 

 

 

 

I took the guy being thrown off the building as a clue.  It is interesting to read your post, but it doesn't have relevance to making the movie appropriate for Labor Day.  The only effectual organization is the criminal enterprise.  And is isn't institutions of society that bring it down, or begin to, let alone the workers themselves in united action, but an individual with strong personal motivations.

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I took the guy being thrown off the building as a clue.  It is interesting to read your post, but it doesn't have relevance to making the movie appropriate for Labor Day.  The only effectual organization is the criminal enterprise.  And is isn't institutions of society that bring it down, or begin to, let alone the workers themselves in united action, but an individual with strong personal motivations.

 

Sure, but remember....

 

It was that individual and his personal motivations that spurred the rest of the workers to take action to clean up their local.  Had Terry not confronted Friendly and later then walk into the dock under his own power, then it would have all gone for naught.  In relation, Henry Ford's thugs beating up WALTER REUTHER and throwing him down the steps ot the Miller road overpass didn't stop HIM, and shortly after, the U.A.W. and Ford had a pact ratified.

 

The movie ended with workers finally on the road to secure their rights and therefore makes the movie suitable for labor day.  :)

 

 

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Sure, but remember....

 

It was that individual and his personal motivations that spurred the rest of the workers to take action to clean up their local.  Had Terry not confronted Friendly and later then walk into the dock under his own power, then it would have all gone for naught.  In relation, Henry Ford's thugs beating up WALTER REUTHER and throwing him down the steps ot the Miller road overpass didn't stop HIM, and shortly after, the U.A.W. and Ford had a pact ratified.

 

The movie ended with workers finally on the road to secure their rights and therefore makes the movie suitable for labor day.  :)

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Granted,  if TCM was to show only the last 5 minutes of On the Waterfront that would be suitable for labor day.     :lol:

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Sure, but remember....

 

It was that individual and his personal motivations that spurred the rest of the workers to take action to clean up their local.  Had Terry not confronted Friendly and later then walk into the dock under his own power, then it would have all gone for naught.  In relation, Henry Ford's thugs beating up WALTER REUTHER and throwing him down the steps ot the Miller road overpass didn't stop HIM, and shortly after, the U.A.W. and Ford had a pact ratified.

 

The movie ended with workers finally on the road to secure their rights and therefore makes the movie suitable for labor day.  :)

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

The movie ends with the downfall of the corrupt syndicate/union.  Nothing has positive has been offered about workers or unions that would suggest there was anything to take its place.  The victory at the end is a personal and individual one against the organization.  There is nothing in that to inspire the workers to unite.  To the contrary, the impetus is for individualism.  The dockworkers have, or are on the way to ridding themselves of one predatory agency, only to leave themselves open to exploitation by shippers and importers, as they once were.

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The movie ends with the downfall of the corrupt syndicate/union.  Nothing has positive has been offered about workers or unions that would suggest there was anything to take its place.  The victory at the end is a personal and individual one against the organization.  There is nothing in that to inspire the workers to unite.  To the contrary, the impetus is for individualism.  The dockworkers have, or are on the way to ridding themselves of one predatory agency, only to leave themselves open to exploitation by shippers and importers, as they once were.

 

Ah, you gotta also remember that Friendly wasn't the union.  He just controlled the union local.  And someone in the crowd, also remember, told Terry if he walked to the dock it would show Friendly  that he lost and that they could take control of their local "And run it on the up and up."  With Friendly gone it didn't mean they weren't union members anymore.  And really also recall, it wasn't  the shippers and importers that were exploiting them.  It was Mob directed corrupt local president FRIENDLY that did the exploitation.  So, the movie didn't  end with the "downfall"  of the UNION, just Friendly and mob control of the LOCAL.  So at the end, the future was looking brighter for the guys on the dock.

 

 

Sepiatone

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The only effective leadership was in the corrupt union organization.  With them removed there is no one and nothing anywhere else in the movie that shows any other organization, whether government or church, let alone unions, can operate as well.  Their leadership lacked the ability to influence and command, and was held in contempt.  The person who brought down the syndicate, or initiated its downfall, was not a leader, and never acted through that motivation, but from strong personal interests.    In this light, the few comments at the end of the movie come over as insincere on the part of the filmmakers, and even a cruel swipe at the unrealistic expectations of the workers.

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:rolleyes:

Again....

 

It wasn't the union  that was corrupt.  Just their particular local.  And with the corrupt element removed makes it possible for the local to provide any "effective leadership" it obviously lacked  with Friendly at it's helm.

 

And Terry( whom you refer to as "that individual") DIDN'T bring down the entire syndicate, but just removed it's hold on their local.  In reality at the time, organized crime was trying to control the WHOLE Eastern seaboard, not just the docks in Hoboken.  And each major port in the U.S., both East and West AND also along the Gulf coast had longshoremen who were members of the SAME UNION, and weren't being encroached by organized crime.  And each port was covered by its's own union local.

 

 

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What I am discussing is the message the movie sends.  The way the union is structured is not important.  As I stated in an earlier post, the depiction of the corrupt enterprise is so one-sided and so unrelieved as to implicate the union itself.  That is, the union has not been corrupted by criminals, but is a criminal activity itself.  This may or may not be how things actually were.  This is the message the movie is sending.  And at the end of the movie, although there is the opportunity for a proper union, that is not in the movie.  One could speculate about what might, or could, or should, happen, but that is not in the movie.  And how is it to happen?  Who is there to do it?  There is nothing in the movie that would lead anyone to expect that there would be anything to take the place of the criminal enterprise.    As I posted before, the workers were depicted as, at best, compliant, and at worst, complicit in the criminality.   No one, or group of people, aligned with the workers shows any potential for guiding or perpetuating an organization on their behalf.

 

People may disagree with my position, but they cannot deny the only person who displayed effective leadership, who had the power, drive, ambition and vision to run an organization was a criminal.  People may disagree with me, but they cannot deny that all the organizations depicted in the movie were either criminal enterprises, or ineffectual entities that were looked on with benign contempt or outright hostility.  People can disagree with me about the anti-worker stance of the movie, but they cannot deny that the criminals' power was broken not by united action by workers striving to take control of their lives, or one or more leaders motivated by the same passion, but by an individual working from strong personal reasons.  And no one, not even that person himself would ever think he had the ability to be a good leader.

 

The message the movie sends is not one of a choice between a corrupt organization and an honest one, because an honest one is not shown to be possible.  The message the movie sends is that the choice is between a corrupt organization and no organization.  That is why the movie is anti-worker.

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To be a movie that was "anti worker" it would have had to show that basically, none of them were worth a damn.  But obviously, you seemed to see a different movie.

 

The guys in the film I saw, whenever they were picked at the "shape up" did the work they were assigned to do and worked hard at it.  The one exception might have been "Kayo" Dugan, seen pilphering whiskey bottles before having a pallet dropped on him because he was found out to be an informer against Friendly.  But even THEN, Dugan was keeping up his end of the loading work.

 

If anything, the movie was pro worker in that it showed how they were mistreated and disrespected( Friendly's henchmen calling them "meatballs" and such)  and deserving of a better break.  And yes, with the Feds getting involved with their investigation and Friendly finally taken out of the picture, it might be assumed that the Labor Department might step in and appoint some on the level administrator to run things until someone from rank and file can be found to run their local on "the up and up."

 

And indeed the movie is appropriate for Labor Day as it features many of the elements that brought about the national labor movement to begin  with.  Not all  Labor Day movies have  to be about how people spend their time on the day, or show people whistling and smiing while on the job or all sunshine and light.  Especially when you consider the HISTORY of labor in this country and it's struggle to organize and achieve the fairness and respect it clearly deserved ALSO wasn't all "sunshine and light".

 

And sure, the guys in the movie were "compliant" because it was made clear that if they weren't,  it could prove to be painful and deadly.

 

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To be a movie that was "anti worker" it would have had to show that basically, none of them were worth a damn.  But obviously, you seemed to see a different movie.

 

 

Anti-worker means against workers uniting to gain power to put them on an equal footing with employers so they can improve their working conditions.  It has nothing to do with the attitude of the workers or the quality of their work.  

 

 

 the guys in the movie were "compliant" because it was made clear that if they weren't,  it could prove to be painful and deadly.

 

 

That didn't stop tens of thousands of real people who worked, sacrificed, marched, struck, were falsely arrested and imprisoned, beaten by hired thugs and police, and murdered, to establish unions, and win victories to gain humane and safe working conditions.

The workers depicted in the movie are such pathetic victims one wonders how a union got going in the first place.

 

 

 And yes, with the Feds getting involved with their investigation and Friendly finally taken out of the picture, it might be assumed that the Labor Department might step in and appoint some on the level administrator to run things until someone from rank and file can be found to run their local on "the up and up."

 

 

Speculating on what happens outside of the picture, outside of what the filmmakers are saying, allows one to create any kind of just-so story one pleases.  It's a lot of fun, but it's not the message in the movie.

 

 

And indeed the movie is appropriate for Labor Day as it features many of the elements that brought about the national labor movement to begin  with.  Not all  Labor Day movies have  to be about how people spend their time on the day, or show people whistling and smiing while on the job or all sunshine and light.  Especially when you consider the HISTORY of labor in this country and it's struggle to organize and achieve the fairness and respect it clearly deserved ALSO wasn't all "sunshine and light".

Sepiatone

 

 

A movie being pro-worker means showing showing the validity of striving for workplace equity, fairness, and decency.  Some of the grittiest, most heart-wrenching movies can be this.  Just consider The Grapes of Wrath (1940).  Another fine pro-worker movie mentioned earlier in this thread is Salt of the Earth (1954).  

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Anti-worker means against workers uniting to gain power to put them on an equal footing with employers so they can improve their working conditions.  It has nothing to do with the attitude of the workers or the quality of their work.  

 

 

 

 

That didn't stop tens of thousands of real people who worked, sacrificed, marched, struck, were falsely arrested and imprisoned, beaten by hired thugs and police, and murdered, to establish unions, and win victories to gain humane and safe working conditions.

The workers depicted in the movie are such pathetic victims one wonders how a union got going in the first place.

 

 

 

#1.  The movie didn't endorse  the idea of being against workers uniting to gain power( and BTW, you're never on "equal footing" with your employers.) and the fact that the movie depicted the cruelty  with which the workers were treated and it needed to change and made that cruelty look unfavorable  is what, in my eyes, made the movie PRO worker.

 

#2.  The union was already  in place before  Friendly, with organized crime backing, took over.  And anyway....Dugan did  agree to testify, and look what happened.  But then, Dugan's death wasn't as personal to all the others as Charlie's murder was to Terry, so Dugan's death did slow things down a bit.  But Terry's "personal victory" didn't come about until after the workers convinced him that walking to the job under his own power would defeat Friendly thereby making it MORE than just his own "personal" victory.

 

In the American Revolution for example, not all  the colonists joined the Continental army and the local militias.  Only after the victories  started piling up did many others see it wasn't as futile as they first thought and then also took up arms.  It was only AFTER the  oppressors, be them the British or corporate heads, saw the futility in resisting  the onslaught of the rebellious that victory for the "downtrodden" came about.  Just like in the civil rights movement, not ALL African-Americans joined in the marches and other protests at first.  It was only AFTER smaller victories showed that it COULD be done did they join in.  I guess at the time, you saw THEM as being "pathetic victims".

 

 

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