North Pole Elves Call Boycott over Toy Workshop Offshoring

For guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas, order all your Troublemakers gear by December 15. Visit the Labor Notes online store or call 313-842-6262.

Another holiday showdown is shaping up at the North Pole, where Elves, Reindeer, and Candy Stripers Local 1224 has locked antlers with Santa Claus in mid-contract negotiations. Claus is threatening to offshore workshop and freight jobs to Antarctica.

“Ho ho, ho ho, don’t turn us out into the snow,” chanted picketers this morning, decked out in Troublemakers Union hoodies ($35-40), T-shirts ($15), and beanie hats ($12).

“Don’t buy Santa’s lies,” urged chief steward Cindy Lou Who. “Until he comes to his senses we’re asking everyone to take your holiday shopping elsewhere.”

She suggests you browse the Labor Notes online store,, or call 313-842-6262.

“The Troublemakers Union pint glass ($5) makes a great stocking stuffer,” Who said. “Or a bumper sticker ($1). Personally I like ‘Don’t Mourn, Organize,’ or the bilingual one."



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Last year the Elves’ feisty contract campaign culminated when members occupied Santa’s workshop. The union won a resounding victory, staving off Claus’s demands for confection concessions, reindeer two-tier, and the controversial “Sees You When You’re Sleeping” electronic surveillance program.

“A lot of our best contract-campaign tactics came from A Troublemaker’s Handbook 2 ($24),” said Blitzen, a steward in the reindeer department. “You’ve got to get your hooves on a copy.”

This year the elves ramped up their organizing capacity even further with an intensive series of trainings. Members practiced one-one-one conversations, mapping the workplace, identifying leaders, and turning an issue into a campaign—all drawn straight from Labor Notes’ newest book Secrets of a Successful Organizer ($15).

“That’s how we took on understaffing and won 10 new jobs in candy striping,” said Tiny Tim Cratchit, a leader in Local 1224’s young workers program Ghosts of Christmas Future, proudly sporting the new special-edition purple Troublemakers Union T-shirt ($15) and black hoodie ($40).

“It was awesome. Now I read every issue of Labor Notes cover to cover, and I’m giving my best friend a subscription ($30) too.”

In a heartwarming display of solidarity, Penguins Local 1911 at the South Pole is vowing to refuse to handle any outsourced toys. Members of the two unions met at the Labor Notes Conference this year. Ever since, they’ve been coordinating their efforts against the Trans-Polar Partnership trade deal.

For guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas, order your Troublemakers gear by December 15.

Alexandra Bradbury is the editor of Labor