Denver PR Blog

Unions Losing PR Fight in Wisconsin
February 21, 2011, 1:47 pm
Filed under: Crisis Communications

Why are unions in Wisconsin – and nationwide – so vulnerable? Because they lost the public relations battle years ago.

Many strategists and even some labor officials argue that the genuine passion and emotion being felt and displayed on the ground in Wisconsin is obscuring a central problem: Unions still haven’t figured out even a semblance of an effective PR strategy.

6 Comments so far
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See latest national polling on this at (though I take Rasmussen with a grain of salt)

Comment by Eric Anderson

A wise assessment re Rasmussen; non-partisan Gallup/USA Today poll shows 61% of Americans opposing Wisconsin GOP governor’s attempt to take away collective bargaining:

Comment by Bill Menezes

Coming from Wisconsin I’ve been interested in this story. What has disappointed me most is the abysmal media coverage. No one seems have had any gumption or interest to head up the road to communities like Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Appleton, Green Bay and the list goes on. How is all this playing out on the real ‘Main Street” of Wisconsin?

Coverage has simply been stand-ups in front of protesters and talking heads. Easy for reporters, lousy for us.

Comment by Conversation Starters Public Relations

The image problems of unions are longstanding — and originate in the good-ole-boy culture of corruption, cronyism and bad representation that inevitably evolves (unfortunately) as an organization grows more powerful. Even friends of mine in unions often tell me they don’t feel well represented. So how is the general public expected to react — particularly when unions do such a poor job of talking about themselves? Semantics have as much to do with it as anything (in my opinion): When you mention “unions” many people roll a knowing eye. But when you say “workers,” symphathies seem to almost always increase.

Comment by Jim

[…] direction inevitably returning back toward to the middle. Last week, the story was how unions had lost their mojo through years of PR neglect. This week, it is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suffering the PR […]

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