When you think of labor unions, do you think of men in coveralls, meeting in dingy buildings late at night, trying to get the public’s attention through strikes or maybe a small newspaper clipping? (I’ll admit it, I kind of do). Well, it’s time to reset that union image—the fight for fair labor practices just got a lot hipper.

They’re spoofing the new Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, to raise awareness about the evil practices of Lord Waldemart (aka Wal-Mart).

As the Chicago Tribune reports, Wal-Mart Watch (which is backed by the Service Employees International Union) has released a YouTube video and an accompanying Web site, WaldemartWatch.com, to get its serious message across to a new generation, in a lighter way.

As Andrew Slack, a comedian, activist, and actor in the video says: “I’m a big believer in the power of humor to create social change and get the message out there. … We don’t want anyone feeling that they’re being lectured at. We want to break away from that to what they’re interested in, and humans tend to be interested in laughing.”

For those humans who adamantly support Wal-Mart’s labor practices, the movie won’t likely strike a chord. But for fans of Harry Potter who are indifferent or already see a darker side to Uncle Sam Walton’s smiley face, this video is a stunning debut for the latest player in YouTube politics: Big Labor.

Laurel Mathewson is an editorial assistant for Sojourners magazine.
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