The Perfect Pebble

The IAMAW 2012 Presidential Election Campaign highlights how The Machinists are learning to use social media to improve the lives of working families.
Below is a communication sent out by Rick Sloan re-capping our achievements.
Readers should consider visiting and liking The Union of the Unemployed web site and our facebook page UCubed.

U Cubed


Dear UCubed Leader:

I almost feel sorry for Karl Rove, almost but not quite. The GOP guru made a massive $175 million bet, and lost. Now the entire Republican Party is pointing fingers at him and yelling, “It’s all his fault.”

It’s not. It is their fault. From the mighty Senate Minority Leader to the lowliest precinct committee person, they put party before country. And the GOP paid the price.

For the last four years, the GOP fought every attempt to end the Great Recession. The American Recovery Act and the American Jobs Act bookended their intransigence on any help for jobless households. GOP Members of Congress cast over 8,000 votes against Democratic relief and recovery measures.

Adding insult to injury, the GOP held extended unemployment benefits hostage to tax cuts for the wealthy multiple times. Then they pressed for drug testing of the jobless and reducing the number of weeks available for extended UI benefits.

The jobless were not clueless. They knew who made their lives so blighted, who kicked them when they were down. And they waited for a chance to vent their ice cold fury at the ballot box.

Even millions of dollars in campaign ads could not overcome the GOP’s responsibility for prolonging the recession. Karl Rove faced a credibility gap. His ads blamed President Obama for abysmal job growth.

Those televisions ads, however, contained a core lie: we are blameless. The truth was the exact opposite. And Karl Rove’s target audiences knew it.

Mark Twain once wrote that  “a lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” That’s no longer true. In the age of Facebook, the truth travels with the speed of light and overtakes lies moving at the speed of sound.

The experience of the Union of Unemployed (UCubed) is instructive. It ran a 15 week Facebook-centric campaign that pushed one message: BEE MAD @ THE GOP. On average, over 858,000 Facebook users saw that message every day.

BEE MAD @ THE GOP went viral. Its videos were viewed over 4 million times. But the UCubed engagement level went much deeper.

UCubed fans shared and liked our posts and videos. And when they did, they automatically sent our messaging to their “friends of fans.” Almost immediately UCubed saw a spike in activity.

The UCubed Facebook page averaged 26,000 engaged users a day; its total daily reach averaged 858,000 a day; and, over 101 days, its total daily reach added up to 82.4 million users.

All those numbers are Facebook-speak for one simple fact: each UCubed fan has an average of 265 friends. Our fans created 2.99 million Daily Page Stories, over 590,000 in the last three weeks alone. Do the math!

Three million times 265 equals 795 million stories created in 101 days. BEE MAD @ THE GOP was burned into nearly 1.6 billion eye balls by jobless Americans themselves.

How could Rove’s ads compete with the personal endorsement of a friend, family member or former co-worker? Like Goliath, he never had a chance. The jobless had found the perfect pebble: a single click of a mouse.

Was it effective?

The 2012 exit poll asked “Which ONE of these four is the biggest economic problem facing people like you?” Unemployment, rising prices, taxes and housing market were the choices offered.

And 38% selected UNEMPLOYMENT. Those voters split 54 to 44 percent for President Barack Obama.

One perfect pebble, one massive thud — nice work, UCubed!

In Unity — Strength,


Rick Sloan
Executive Director
Union of Unemployed

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