Designer Causes

Our newly elected Governor has put us in national and international news with his regrettable blaming of our state’s budget deficit on public-employee unions. This is historic not only because of its large-scale protests but also because of Wisconsin’s legacy: Madison boasts a grand history of advocating for workers’ rights.

Without getting too political and taking sides here, I would like to step in and question where organizations like the AIGA fit into this context. What are unions for, anyway? What are industry organizations for? What’s the diff?

Collective bargaining, a term that’s all over the news right now in association with our state, is the heart of what unions are all about: banding together under an alliance allows employees in a shared industry to secure safe and just working conditions, by uniting for a common purpose. This might be a foreign concept to many designers and illustrators, especially the freelancers among us. Accustomed to long hours at the laptop, left to settle client conflicts alone at our keyboards, we are quite used to fighting our own battles. But why should we be left alone, isolated, comparatively powerless in the workplace when there are resources available to help us muddle through?

AIGA is not a union; it is a (correction, it is “the”) professional association for design. It provides members with five critical benefits:

* Information
* Communication
* Inspiration
* Validation
* Representation

From the national web site: “AIGA is authoritative in promoting and communicating standards for ethical conduct and professional expertise and in collecting and analyzing information about the profession.”

What are your thoughts on collective power? How can AIGA better serve its members as a force in the business world?

Post by Stacey Williams-Ng

By AIGA Wisconsin
Published February 22, 2011
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