Bullied, harassed, and lied to, District 1 of the Amalgamated Association of Easter Bunnies, AFB-CIO (American Federation of Bunnies–Cottontails International Organization) went on strike, forcing a halt to this year’s Easter egg hunts.
At Bunny Headquarters, Solomon P. Bunny, union executive secretary, and a militant corps of Easter bunnies were preparing picket signs. I walked in, notepad in hand.
“Excuse me, Mr. Bunny, but why aren’t your members delivering eggs this week?”
Bunny looked up from the papers on his desk, chomped harder on his cigar, looked at me, scowled, and answered harshly, “Don’t you know!?”
“No, sir,” I replied apologetically. “I always thought you were happy and content passing out your Easter eggs.”
“We love it,” growled Bunny, “but the reactionary governments of several states don’t love us. They claim unionized bunnies are anti-American and a drain upon the limited budgets.”
“Don’t the people have a right to balance their budget without excessive union demands?” I asked.
“Listen, Ink Breath, if these bobbleheads didn’t roll over and let the corporations rub their fat little behinds and expel corporate welfare, there would be enough money to deal with reasonable worker demands and the social services these granite brains are cutting.”
“Even with these facts, I doubt you’d have much support,” I said, noting that most taxpayers don’t want to pay more taxes, and think union workers are greedy opportunists who deserve to be thrown on their tails, even if made of cotton.
“Listen, Lead-type-for-brains, collective bargaining is one of humanity’s most fundamental rights. Says so in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved by 48 countries in 1948.” Bunny then went into one of his files, pulled out a sheaf of papers, and slammed it on the desk. “Read it!” he commanded. Not wanting to further upset a furious bunny, I skimmed the report that revealed about two-thirds of Americans support the rights of collective bargaining.
“What are your main grievances?” I asked.
“For one lousy week, we prepare and distribute colored eggs. That leaves 51 other weeks when all we’re doing is multiplying. You can’t make any money that way.”
“But don’t you get paid extraordinarily well on Easter Sunday?”
“Hey, man, ever try to tell the carrotman that all you have is some moldy lettuce to pay the month’s food bill?”
“I see your point,” I said, feeling a little sorry for the bunnies. “What are your other demands?”
“A decent living wage and a hutch of our own,” said the executive secretary. “No more of this lettuce stuff. We want cold hard cash. Just like what those religious folks put in the collection plates once a year.”
“That seems fair,” I responded. “Are there other demands?”
“You bet your union card there are,” said Bunny. “We want a 50-week work year, with two weeks vacation; that’s still fewer vacation days than in most civilized countries. We want nine paid holidays, reasonable sick leave, maternity and day care benefits, medical and dental insurance—do you realize dentists charge us double because of the size of our incisors?—and a prohibition against using us for cosmetic testing.”
“But Easter is only one day a year,” I said. “Certainly you can’t expect Easter every day.”
“What’s so bad about that? Look what it’ll do for the egg, Peeps, and clothing industries. If Easter was every day we’d soon have full employment.”
“What about religion? Wouldn’t the Church have objections?”
“Why should it? Look at all those people who’d be going to church and putting all that money in the collection plate.”
“You certainly have a point,” I said, admiring Bunny’s determination. “Are there other demands?”
“Other than membership in the Bunny Club, rigorous enforcement of safety standards, and a better employee grievance procedure—no.”
“You’re willing to disappoint all the children just because some adults are insensitive to worker needs?”
We don’t want to harm the children. They haven’t learned how to be bought off to be effective politicians.”
“So you will deliver Easter eggs this week!” I said, thrilled that the bunny union was relenting.
“This is off-the-record, but this year everyone will get their eggs. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to preparing for a demonstration.”
As I left, Solomon P. Bunny was slashing through contracts, and multi-tasking on three different phones and two computer screens. But, he warned if the rotten eggs of some of the state legislatures and their buddies in corporate industry don’t stop pretending how religious and patriotic they are, while consistently violating the principles that Jesus stood for, “this will be the last Easter they will ever celebrate.”
[Walter Brasch is a social activist and award-winning journalist who has been a member of unions for four decades. His current book is the best-selling Fracking Pennsylvania, an in-depth investigation into the health, environmental, economic, political, and worker safety issues of hydraulic horizontal fracturing.]