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The Green Meadows Union is a labor union for the factory workers of Republic City's Green Meadows district. The union represents a real chance for change in the labor movement, being the first known institution of its kind to advocate for all workers in a single district. This allows workers to make collective demands on a much larger scale than earlier attempts at forming labor unions, which tended to focus on change within a single factory.[1]

History[]

There were several attempts at forming labor unions prior to the Green Meadows Union, but these often failed to achieve results. When one factory's workers tried to form a union and strike, other factories simply sent their own workers to cross the picket line.

The methods used by the factory workers were observed by Hou Yin, a courier who often delivered goods between the factories. He decided to take a page out of the factory owners' playbook by forming a union for all the factory workers. Working together with a few coworkers and long term friends, Hou Yin officially founded the Green Meadows Union.[1] This marked a great change for the district, with the drive to unionize uniting the benders and nonbenders of Green Meadows instead of them clashing among each other over the pay gap in factories.[2]

However, organizing also had many issues. Factory workers started putting pressure on those joining the union, with known members being demoted, having their hours cut, or being fired on the flimsiest of pretexts.[1] Many workers became afraid to join, especially in light of the fact that desperate workers who needed their income were reluctant to join an institution who could call on them to go without their wages for a time.[2] Some ended up wondering if there was any other way to make things better.[1] Factories also started to make greater use of union busters as membership grew, with some of them starting to hint that much more aggressive measures should be taken to keep unionists in line.[1] Some factory moles also started to infiltrate the unions.[3]

Hou Yin knew that he needed help overcoming these various issues, and even considered turning to the triads for help, but knew that it would be better to look for a plucky group of heroes instead.[1] The union did manage to gain the interest of the Burning Coals, a local group of hired muscle that was very trusted by those living in the district. Their founder and leader, Tea Brand Tung, was a childhood friend of Hou Yin, and offered him protection. She also insinuated that other acts could be done to "encourage the factories". Hou Yin rejected her offers, but it seemed only a matter of time before the unionist was pushed too far.[1]

The Green Meadows Union also gained supporters from outside the district, such as Wai Sanda, a lawyer from the Central District who lobbied the government to pass laws providing grants to those seeking to unionize.[4] Sakuru, a journalist from the Republic News, also started looking into abuses in the factories, and made allies with the Green Meadows Union when she posed as a factory worker to investigate the district.[1]

Unionists eventually targeted certain factories for reform, such as the Emerald Stoneworks. The factory's owner, Lee Jun, had chosen to work for the city over private clients. The city's financial problems led to the owner receiving far lower fees, and her profit margins fell considerably. This meant that she did not compensate employees well for their extraordinary efforts, and they started to join with the Green Meadows Union to protest until they got fair wages and better working conditions. Lee Jun viewed this as having the potential to ruin the company, and she turned to union buster Karuko to break the union, lying to them that the unionists were planning to stop something dangerous and needed to be stopped by any means necessary. Karuko was even prepared to use violent force to help Jun.

Around the same time, Tea Brand Tung heard Sakuru claiming that she could put pressure on the factories if she had access to documentation showing how they had cut corners on safety. Tea Brand Tung asked Hou Yin if they could break in to forepeople's offices to steal the documentation. The union's founder declined this, but Tea Brand Tung grew tired of his restraint. She planned an attack on the Emerald Stoneworks and other factories, staging fires to draw the city's emergency responders and other defenses away by storming the factories by force to take what they needed. Neither Hou Yin nor Sakuru wanted them to go through with this, and looked for people to help them stop things from getting out of hand.[3]

Meeting locations[]

The union had a few regular meeting locations throughout the district. Most frequently, they turned to Pa's Basement, as the independent bar was one of the few places in the district where private rooms could be rented out. The bartender, Pa, happily turned a blind eye to their meetings, posing as an outspoken anti-unionist by day so that the factory workers could not catch on to the establishment.

Members of the union also frequented Foggy Willow Pickles at the edge of the district. The prosperous and trendy environment meant that it was one of the few places in the district often frequented by people elsewhere in the city. This provided an opportunity for unionists to cultivate support for the labor movement elsewhere, such as lawyers who who could to lobby the government to enact change.[4]

References[]

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