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7 Things You Need to Know About Union Bug Printing

If you want to make sure your super-ethical fair trade, union made, socially-responsible, organic-eco-friendly, and great quality t-shirts are sweatshop-free for the entire supply chain, then make sure your print design has a union bug!

A union bug guarantees that your shirt or promotional item is union printed. It also lets the world know that you support union printers and union jobs. Keep your eyes peeled next time you are out and about – you just might spot a union bug!

Here are the seven most important things to know about union bug printing:

1. What does a union bug look like?

These are photos of union bugs:

union bug examples

2. What does a real union bug contain? 

A genuine label typically has a number identifying the exact union printing plant where the work was produced. It also usually has the full union name in it or a graphic representation of the union.

3. Where is a union bug printed? 

You can print a bug anywhere close to your design. Generally we place it underneath, either centered or off to the right side. It needs to be close to your artwork so it can be included on the same screen- a union bug printed randomly on the sleeve would be an extra location and charge.

4. How much more does a union bug cost?

Union bugs are free! If someone tries to charge you more to put a union bug on an item, you would be wise to question whether they get what a union bug is all about. Any union printer should know immediately what you mean if you ask for the union bug to be included.

5. What significance does a union bug have to people who see it?

If you know what a union bug is, then when you spot one you know the people who bought it cared about labor rights. (After reading this, you’ll be rewarded with this knowledge every time you see union bugs from now on). It means the people who made your stuff had fair wages and good working conditions. What could be more valuable?

6. What does a union bug mean to union workers?

When you include a union bug in your design, it shows solidarity not just to labor union members everywhere- it also shows you care especially for the people printing your shirts. They see your organization’s name next to their local’s identity, and they know you support their right to organize.

7. What does a union bug look like on a shirt?

Here’s an example of a union bug on a printed T-shirt:

Credit to Judy Skartvedt for photos of the International Labor Rights Forum protest at Fashion Week in NYC.

Support union printers and union jobs

Your next branded merchandise order can make a difference!

EthixMerch provides union made promotional products and we’ll be glad to help you find the right items that will best represent your organization.

Contact us to get a quote today or browse our union made t-shirt selection.

…and don’t forget to mention the union bug!



  1. jeff johnston

    i have a screen printing shop i want to become unionized and contract into local brothers, Do you have any info on how to do that.

  2. Ethix Merch

    We recommend checking with a printing union to get more information on starting a local and getting represented (CWA, GCIU, and others). Best of luck!

  3. Ethix Merch

    We recommend checking with a printing union to get more information on starting a local and getting represented (CWA, GCIU, and others). Best of luck!

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