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September 2 2019

Netflix and Obamas Bring Us a Biased Labor Day Movie

by Betsy Pearson

Created by the labor movement in the late 19th century, Labor Day was started as a celebration of American workers. Today, Labor Day is more about spending time with family and friends while enjoying the last weekend of summer weather before fall begins. 

In a new controversial Netflix documentary, brought to us by the Obama family, labor unions take center stage once again as we follow the story of one factory deciding whether to unionize or not. The documentary focused on blue collar workers’ struggle against a Chinese manufacturer takeover, and the cultural clash that ensued. 

With an extremely pro-union undertone, “American Factory” has made headlines because the “deliberate misinterpretation of [the documentary] was, in fact, amplification of the political design that, no doubt, was always part of Netflix’s game plan when it signed Barack and Michelle Obama.”

Millennials play a vital role in determining the future of labor unions as the largest generation in the workforce currently. What better way to reach millennials than through Netflix?

In “American Factory”, protestors joined forces with the UAW (United Automobile Workers) labor union. UAW has specifically targeted millennials as they try to add more people to their rolls. Citing a Pew Research Center poll, UAW found that 68% of millennials have a favorable view of labor unions.

The California Labor Federation goes so far as to say that millennials and labor unions are a “match made in heaven.” 

Armond White explains in his critical review of “American Factory”, “‘The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative,’ a famous historical figure once explained. And the Obama imprimatur — like those reading lists and favorite streaming-music lists that the press likes to cite as celebrity news — works similarly.” 

Millennials need to become educated on labor unions and second guess the biased reporting in this Netflix documentary. Today’s labor unions are not the same as the ones in the late 19th century that scored us all a day off work. Modern day unions are heavy contributors to Democratic candidates and cases and do not take into consideration the views of their members when making these contributions. Unions operate based on seniority--millennial workers would be sacrificed first if their union decided to strike. Ultimately, millennials will not find their needs met through unions. 

White calls Netflix a “Propaganda Machine” for the Obamas. I agree, it is important that we recognize “American Factory” for what it is: Something fun to watch on Netflix this Labor Day, but biased towards thee big unions.





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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