Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Hollywood's view of labor unions: now a football movie celebrates scabs

The images are indelible, in history and in movies: Henry Fonda agitating for farmworkers' rights in The Grapes of Wrath; Sally Field leading the textile workers in Norma Rae; even the young Marlon Brando finally realizing, in On the Waterfront, that good union guys could overcome corrupt union leaders. As Woody Guthrie songs were the sound track of America's organized working class, the movies offered snapshots of blue-collar heroism.

Flash forward. In the new film The Replacements, union members are portrayed as rich, uncaring, racist, sucker-punch-throwing goons. And the nonunion fellows who take the strikers' jobs--once they were called scabs--are ordinary...

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