A promotional film best suited for broadcast in an office lobby, Labor Day recounts the historic campaign of Barack Obama through the filter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Glenn Silber’s documentary is merely a feature-length commercial for the SEIU, who partly funded this project and whose bigwigs and many domestic members—made up of health care, public services, and property services professionals—discuss at great lengths the unparalleled importance of the 2008 election and, fundamentally related to that, their key role in helping Obama claim the White House. Self-congratulation doesn’t come much more transparent and unchecked than this, typified by executive vice president Gerry Hudson stating that the SEIU’s endorsement of Obama was “risky…but we’re not folks who play it safe.” Aside from taking easy potshots at McCain and Palin (and the Republican party in general) and couching the election as a choice between transformative change and apocalyptic economic and social ruin, Labor Day merely lionizes American unions and, specifically, the SEIU, whose many dues-payers wax poetic about the benefits of their chosen labor coalition and the historic nature of their own actions (not to mention the importance—relevancy alert!—of the health care debate). While the SEIU’s contribution to Obama’s victory seems to have been considerable, director Silber provides no insights into the mechanics of the organization’s structure or pro-Obama efforts save for the fact that thousands of members opted to abandon families and jobs in order to go door-to-door canvassing residential areas. With no meat on its bones, the film eventually falls back on simply milking the election itself for drama, which would be a successful tack to take were its audience not primarily American citizens who likely know who currently occupies the Oval Office. Regardless of where one sits along the political spectrum, Labor Day qualifies as nothing more than recruitment-tool propaganda.
- Catalyst Media
- 76 min
- Glenn Silber
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