Standing up to Hopper
/ Author: Izzy Huygen
/ Categories: Blogs /
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Standing up to Hopper

There is power in numbers and an opportunity to do what is right when a willing few have the courage to raise a voice for the compromised, the powerless, and those on the fringes

By Izzy Huygen, CLAC Representative

I don’t know if there is a better family movie than Pixar’s 1998 computer-animated “A Bug’s Life.” It’s a fun and funny look at the world from a bug-eyed view, although an ant technically isn’t a bug.

The main character, Flik, can’t seem to do anything right. He constantly annoys everyone with his crazy inventions that go haywire.

He and his fellow ants are under the control of a grasshopper swarm. They come by once a season to take the “offering” from the ants—essentially, a hefty food tax that leaves the ants with little food for themselves.

The ants obediently and fearfully spend most of their days enslaved to the bully grasshoppers, who use threat and intimidation to get what they want. The grasshoppers have all the power, and the ants have none.

That is, until my favourite part. Flik—the unlikeliest of the tiny ants—puts his own life on the line to defend the ant princess against the much larger leader of the ants, the Kevin Spacey-voiced Hopper.

Flik challenges Hopper, and as Hopper prepares to squash him, Flik appeals to the strength that he has—numbers. He rallies his fellow ants by making them realize that they are not weak when they stand together.

Therein lies a powerful and inspiring message. Stand up to bullies; stand up for your friends. Take a risk for what is right, and rally the team together when necessary.

And that is the movie’s central theme: there is power in numbers and an opportunity to do what is right when a willing few have the courage to raise a voice for the compromised, the powerless, and those on the fringes.

The movie’s theme reflects one of CLAC’s primary purposes: we give people a place to belong and thrive. We give voice to those who otherwise would not be heard. We give power to those who are ignored, to help them grow and experience work in a meaningful way with dignity and respect.

CLAC has many other purposes and roles as well, and many of our strengths are enhanced because of our numbers. Today, we represent over 60,000 workers.

But we also rely on many “Fliks” within our organization. Including many of our stewards. They often stick their neck out to bring a concern to management, or to call their CLAC rep to help resolve a dicey issue.

I recently had a former member who was working for a non-CLAC signatory company call me to ask if we could bring his fellow workers together. Their employer wasn’t paying much attention to their concerns, in particular, health benefits and retirement saving plans, which in turn was affecting their ability to take care of their families.

We brought the group together and started the union-organizing process, and now they are CLAC members. By coming together as a group, these new members and their families are all advantaged by the collective buying power of CLAC’s benefits and retirement plans. They also now have access to CLAC Training’s programs and courses to help them succeed in their jobs and careers.

All it took was one courageous former member, acting like Flik, standing up to Hopper, for it to come together. He took the risk. He stepped out as a lone voice to help his coworkers realize that they can create a better workplace when they stand together.  

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