The Basics: 'Union Bugs' in Politics

What is a union bug?

A union bug is a distinctive label, mark or emblem that tells us union-represented working people have manufactured a quality product.  Printers have used them at least since 1891. 

Where does one see union bugs?

In general, bugs may be on any union-made product. Here’s an example you know: The end credits of most Hollywood movies include bugs of the unions involved in production. In politics, union bugs may appear on campaign materials.

Why is it called a “bug”?

We don’t know for certain, but the best guess is printers coined the term because some union labels are tiny enough to resemble insects. 

What information is on a printer’s bug?

Typically, the bug will include the city or town, a number assigned by the Allied Printing Trades Council when a union is certified, and a registered trademark symbol to prevent unauthorized use. Bugs come in many shapes. Union members view them as works of art. See examples

Are union bugs in politics important?

You bet! They are proof that a candidate for public office is supporting print shops that provide working people a true voice in their livelihoods. 

Are union bugs in politics really that important?

Put it this way: The Texas AFL-CIO will reject printed materials at our events if they lack a bug. For in-house materials, we look for a bug indicating union workers prepared the documents.

How can we know which print shops have bugs?

To find union printers, the best place to start is your local Allied Printing Trades list. Here’s the Texas list:
Check carefully if other printers in your community claim to be unionized.