The employer and government felt threatened by industrial union members engaging in free speech tactic because the free speech tactic was believed to not only give the workers an experience that affect their identity building and solidarity, but also a way of trying to correct the worker perceived organizational problem and in the end the government and the employer felt that this may result in employee rebellion and therefore a fall in the productivity of the working force.
The free speech tactic was believed to give rise to groupings and that would in the end result in labor union that will provide the perceived hidden information to the workers and in the process help in the mitigation of rational ignorance on political issues. In doing so the government and the employer believed that the union would lower considerably individual worker active participation in the production process. Since the free speech tactic was closely tied to the workplace, over which the workers themselves already had solidarity through interaction within their work, free speech groupings was feared to facilitate a deeper solidarity that could rebel against the employer or the state in general. Additionally, groupings that could result from these free speech tactics had a potential for mass movement called the labor movement that was considered not to be of the best interest to the state and the employer.
The state’s motive for such action was that it felt that labor unions had the capability to forge democratically engaged workforce and since atomized, isolated individual workers remains more likely to be passive political force and hence easy to manage and rule. Rational ignorance made people easy to manipulate while discouraging participation. The absence of robust solidarity civic obligation is unforeseeable and all this went to the advantage of the state. Union was one of the movements that made individuals felt connected in a way that made political activity relevant.
Industrial unions were seen as a treat because unions came in as a way of rectifying power imbalance by creation of bargaining power equality over employment contract. Strong union made employers come to an agreement with the workers failure to the employer will lose labor force. This gave the workers the power to punish employer by refusing to enter into unsatisfying contracts through collective refusal to work (George & Jones, 2002).while individual refusal to work remains insignificant to the employer, collective refusal mattered, and since it was facilitated through labor unions, these unions were seen as threats.
Employers engaged in nativism as a way of discouraging new ways of thinking that could result in rebellion from coming into the work force. For as long as the work force lived their lives separately, acting entirely as self contained and self interested persons, the idea of democracy as a way through which the workers could rule remained a thin reality. However allowing outsider into the work force was contrary to this believe and would have in no time yielded to democratic rule and the employer losing grip over the work force.
George, J. M., & Jones, G. R. (2002). Understanding and managing organizational behavior (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.