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John Oliver understands that spreading information is easier when you bake a little humor in. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)

John Oliver Just Aired the Best Anti-Union Busting Segment We've Ever Seen

Responding to Striketober, John Oliver produced the best report on union busting we've ever seen. Union supporters call it "inoculation."

Charles Lenchner

October saw the largest number of workers on strike in years, and 2021 has seen a dramatic rise in coverage of unionization efforts. John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight, took aim on his show at the efforts by companies to keep unions out. Whether or not you are likely to see a union drive at your workplace, it matters that more Americans understand how union busting and corporate pressure tactics work; the more you know, the better you can push back against their deceitful propaganda.

While not everyone will have the patience to watch the entire report (23 minutes) we'll happily steer you towards the best bits. (But you should watch the whole thing.)

First, we have the laughably produced "captive worker" video produced by Target. The funny part is that they end up making it clear that a union would be amazing, something anyone in retail will get immediately:

In response to this corporate crap, Oliver creates the union busting captive worker video of any fevered boss's dreams:

John Oliver understands that spreading information is easier when you bake a little humor in. In the case of workers attempting to organize in the face of an entire industry arrayed against them, a dash of contempt for the boss is essential. Thank you John, for giving workers a good laugh.

A version of this article first appeared at ProgressiveHub, a project of

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Charles Lenchner

Charles Lenchner is on staff at Progressive Hub. He has previously appeared in New Labor Forum, Democratic Left, The Indypendent, and The Real News. Lenchner is a founder of The People for Bernie Sanders and the labor training hub Organizing 2.0.

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