One man’s view of the ‘American Union’

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Michael conti 11

Mike Bailey, a member of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, sits in a tent he erected on the strike line in front of the Mott’s Plant in Williamson, N.Y. I took this photograph at 5 a.m. one August morning as Bailey got ready to return to the strike line. Bailey made the decision to live outside the plant to save money on gas while supporting his fellow workers during the three-month strike that ended in September. He gave me access to his quiet, intimate moments when he was away from the line. My photograph won bronze honors in the annual College Photographer of the Year contest. To see my entire series, “American Union,” visit