The Transport Workers Union (TWU) represents 10,000 American Airlines mechanics across the country. In 2013, the Teamsters began an effort to take over control of representing the mechanics, and we were recruited to increase support for TWU.
When we set out to devise a strategy, we quickly realized that defending TWU’s record would get us nowhere; members were skeptical of anyone attempting to defend the union. There was no way to get members to fall in love with their union again. However, we could convince them that TWU was better than the alternatives.
Our polling directed us toward areas where the Teamsters were most vulnerable. We rebranded our adversaries as “Teamster Air” with the slogan “More job departures to China than any other union.”
The mailers we designed, combined with a strong earned media and television campaign in targeted markets with large numbers of TWU members, put the Teamsters on the defensive.
Reports on the ground indicated that our mailers greatly damaged the Teamsters. When the Teamsters ultimately dropped their bid to represent American mechanics, the labor and business worlds were stunned.