The Dockerworker's Union, also known as the Débardeurs' Union, is an organization in Disco Elysium.
Commonly considered to be the de facto law of Martinaise, the Union operates in the void between Precincts 41 and 57, both of which try to shift responsibility for policing the Revacholian wasteland surrounding GRIH to the other. The Union's involvment in the Martinaise drug trade is considered an open secret, even to the harbour's owners, with raw materials being brought in through the terminal from suppliers in Samara and taken to labs in Jamrock Quarter.
In December '50, the Union organized a major strike, demanding seats on the board of The Wild Pines Group, the principal operator of the harbor. The movement, characterized by demands the company considered "nonsensical", attracted attention throughout Revachol. To provide for the striking workers, the Union collected money from local businesses to fund food and other necessities for the duration of the strike. However, Joyce Messier, the Wild Pines company rep, claimed that the real source of funding was coming from the Union's drug trade.
After two months of striking without changing their demands, Wild Pines removed their original negotiator, Mr. Gaumont, following a total cut on communications with the union boss. Joyce Messier, one of the company's most trusted members, was then sent to Martinaise alongside a "security detail". The group, which consisted of highly-trained corporate mercenaries from the Private Military Contractor Krenel, only served to escalate tensions between the dockworkers and the company once squad-leader Ellis Kortenaer began frequenting the Whirling-in-Rags every night, sexually harassing patrons and starting fights.
Unknown to Wild Pines, the Union was prepared for this turn of events, with Evrart's special task force keeping Joyce under close surveillance ever since her arrival. Knowing that the usage of a PMC would put public opinion on the side of the Union, Evrart Claire hoped to orchestrate a takeover of the harbour, turning Terminal B into an Union-owned independent business. This new operation would then go on to recover lost contracts through "bulk chemical shipping", previously not permitted by Wild Pines, as well as enlisting the aid of "all the unions in Revachol".
The Union, often compared to a crime syndicate, acts as the ruling body of Martinaise due to both Revachol's hands-off government under the Coalition's Zone of Control, and the lack of policing performed in the region by either Precinct 41 or 57. Because of this, they have adopted a series of tactics to maintain order in the region. This includes the employment of the Hardie Boys as an informal police force to solve disputes, resolve problems, and combat organized crime, as well as the use of strikes against the Wild Pines Group to improve quality of life and workplace legislation for the dockworkers.
Under the surface, however, the Union has been known for its less scrupulous actions. Already having estabilished itself under significant restrictions due to the Wayfarer Act, the Débardeurs became as they are following the Claire brothers' domination of the foreman elections in the '30s. Having assassinated the previous forewoman, Tiphaine Holly, with help from Iosef Lillianovich Dros, the twins became the only foremen to ever be elected since, switching positions once the other's term limit is up. The brothers are also accused of embezzlement, and their corruption is well-known even within the Union itself, though most dockworkers do not seem to have a problem with it.
By the time of Evrart's term in '51, he arranged for several projects and reforms, preparing for the terminal's takeover. These measures include spiking the strikers' brew with alcohol to improve their morale, blocking access to the harbour gates with the help of Measurehead, having an RCM officer intimidate a critic of the Union, building workers' residences along the roundabout, and a community center along the bay. In certain situations, Evrart will also employ the help of his special task force, such as when tracking down a lost gun. Finally, Evrart is also highly capable of playing situations to his (and the Union's) advantage, as shown when he manipulates Harrier Du Bois into purposefully revealing the Union's plans to Wild Pines, making it so that the company willingly surrenders Terminal B to the Union, rather than sending in more armed mercenaries.
Although the Union is considered a social-democratic organization, or occasionally referred to as socialist-democratic, the personal politics of its members are varied and unconstrained, including communists, social-democrats, a Semenese supremacist and an individualist boiadeiro. The Union is also admired by the infra-materialist reading group (Steban and Ulixes), who respect Claire's efforts in spite of their ideological differences. At the same time, it attracts criticism from fascists such as the Racist lorry driver, who claims they are "full of Madre peones" and work for the interests of the rich. Iosef Lillianovich Dros despises the Union, seeing it as a "true enemy of the proletariat" that placates the masses, and a failure of Martinaise to rise against the material hegemony.
There's a total of 2,373 Union members in Martinaise. This includes:
- Evrart Claire (union foreman)
- Elizabeth Beaufort (legal counsellor)
- Titus Hardie
- Leonard Bellec
- Call Me Mañana
- Jean-Luc Measurehead
- Santiago S. John
The Union is also known to employ non-members to perform specific jobs, such as René Arnoux, who stands vigil at a night-watch booth, and Gaston Martin, who writes editorials for the Martinaise papers.
- EVRART CLAIRE - So tell me, how can the head of the Débardeurs' Union help a representative of the Revachol Citizens Militia today?
- KIM KITSURAGI "Legally, no. In reality, yes." He looks around. "Martinaise is *de facto* policed by the Dockworkers' Union."
- KIM KITSURAGI - "I checked the records. This jurisdiction dispute -- who polices Martinaise -- reaches back to the Thirties. It's as old as my station. And all this time we can't decide who gets Martinaise? I think, yes, both stations would prefer a win."
- JOYCE MESSIER -"Reports from inside Terminal B suggest it's a hub for the local drug trade. This is an open secret in Martinaise. The Union *controls* the terminal, so it goes to reason..."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "Well, of course he would -- I really hope you and I get to talk about this drug trade matter in the future. The company has been suspecting foul play for years. Anyway..."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "It's quite straightforward. Someone is using Terminal B to smuggle raw ingredients from the Samaran isola into Revachol with the Union's blessing. Wild Pines has suspected it for years."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "Yes. After they clear the terminal we lose track. The actual production is taking place at various sites in and around Jamrock Quarter. North of here."
- KIM KITSURAGI - "But the strike began in *December*." He looks at his notes.
- JOYCE MESSIER - "I'm not sure. Naturally I assumed that was just their opening position, a hard-nosed tactic with a side of mockery. But there's been no follow up, just the same nonsensical slogan repeated over and over again..."
- PERCEPTION (SIGHT) - It says: "Tensions rise in Terminal YC In light of the Débardeurs' strike in Terminal B, among representatives of heavy industry in Coal City..." you read
- KIM KITSURAGI - "There was a shakedown of local businesses preceding the strike. Many were squeezed to bankruptcy to fund it."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "It's true they drove a number of the local businesses to bankruptcy preparing for this venture. I've talked to a few business owners -- it was quite the shakedown. But the contents of a few cash registers cannot provide for *two thousand* men."
- EASY LEO - "We're on a *strike* -- the whole union is! You don't have to work when you're on strike. Ha -- we haven't worked for two months now."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "I wasn't the original negotiator here. I took over after Mr. Gaumont hit a wall with Mr. Claire, the Union boss. Mr. Claire refused to speak with Gaumont, despite *concessions* he'd granted the Union in prior negotiations."
- RHETORIC - There are no employers. She's a member of the board. Probably a partner.
- JOYCE MESSIER - "I have an indirect role to play, I'm sad to say. My employer experienced a *momentary lapse of faith* in me. In that moment they elected to deploy a private military contractor. As an *insurance* measure. They called it my 'security detail'."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "Krenel -- an Oranjese military company. As far as I know three arrived in Martinaise. They report to me sporadically, but they do not answer to me. To be frank, our relationship is deteriorating."
- EUGENE - "Yeah, he said it was his 'favourite joint' now, started coming here every night! Drinking, grabbing girls -- grabbed one of ours mid-karaoke. Right there on the stage!" EUGENE - "'Show me your cunt! Why don't you show me your cunt?' Then he gets knocked on the head with a wine bottle -- doesn't even fall down!" He shakes his head in disbelief.
- TITUS HARDIE - "Wrong?!" he roars. "He harassed women. Raped one. Harassed workers. Threatened to kill some as a *warning*..." He wipes spittle from his mouth.
- EVRART CLAIRE - "Harry, I bugged her cabin. I bugged her whole boat. I had cameras surveying her boat. Hell I even wanted to bug that thermal cup, but my boys advised against it."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "The more they send, the worse it's going to look for them. They made a *huge* mistake hiring those guys. *No one* likes foreign mercenaries. The leftists hate them, the fascists hate them, even the moralists think they're *in bad taste*."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "We're not gonna give nothing. We're gonna *take* Terminal B away from them: the roads, the gates, the containers, that big crane... even the damn coffee maker. We're gonna take all of it for the people -- and *fuck* Wild Pines."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "Drug trafficking? Don't be stupid, Mr. Kitsuragi. There are perfectly legal, 100% ethical chemical factories on the Samaran isola. You don't need to be *colonialist* about it."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "The company thinks transporting these chemicals in bulk 'looks bad,'" he makes air quotes, "'has bad optics,' 'may be illegal in some countries.' The Débardeurs' Union, however... we're all about the large volume column."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "Harry, we outnumber them fifteen hundred to one. And that's just Martinaise. With all the unions in Revachol -- and with public opinion on our side -- we can hold off two men. Or fifteen men. Or even fifty men."
- KIM KITSURAGI - "A mob," the lieutenant says succinctly. "The Débardeurs are a crime syndicate. Sad as it may be, we're forced to cooperate with them."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "Thank you for being candid," she nods. "Sadly, Wild Pines have cooperated with what amounts to a crime syndicate for two decades. However much you feed the wolf -- the wolf always hungers."
- ENCYCLOPEDIA - The Wayfarer Act is one of the few pieces of legislation governing human interaction in the Revachol Zone of Control, along with the Emergency Trade and Aliments Acts.
- KIM KITSURAGI - "The Union does their share of policing in Martinaise, at least where gangs are concerned," the lieutenant replies instead. "That's why there isn't much organized crime around here."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "Heavens, no. There have been *two* prior strikes. Both times the Union won significant concessions -- including overtime pay *and* a medical plan. This time their demands are more... I guess you could say *aggressive*."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "The Débardeurs' Union was once a perfectly normal institution. Twenty years ago, anyway. It must *not* have been easy to establish under the Emergency Act, but they did it. I can respect that."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "I'm glad you asked. There was a woman -- the previous forewoman of the Union. She disappeared."
KIM KITSURAGI - "Disappeared?"
JOYCE MESSIER - "Yes. On the last day of the local chapter elections her daughter phoned in and said she wasn't running anymore -- or coming to work. Ever. End of story."
YOU - "This forewoman? Her name?"
JOYCE MESSIER - "Sadly, the company records do not even give a name. She's just *forewoman*, in private correspondence: Holly. I don't even know if it's a sur- or given name. And I don't have access to the Unions' files."
YOU - "Some kind of extortion probably."
JOYCE MESSIER - "Indeed. The company suspects foul play, but there's nothing they could do, it was a Union matter." "The point of the presentation is -- these kinds of things *happen* around the Claires. Watch out when you're dealing with him."
- THE DESERTER - "The cow caught a bullet in her right lung, fell into the canal grasping her tit and drowned. Or bled -- hard to say. It was a sloppy job. And a moving target."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "Yes. Edgar looks *exactly* like his brother, except for that lazy eye. He also *talks* exactly like Evrart does. And when one's term as foreman is up, the other takes over."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "It's how they circumvent the term limits, you see. With a funny little *switcharoo*. While in office they've embezzled god knows *how* much of their workers' dues."
- CALL ME MAÑANA - "By Heavens, why would he not be corrupt? We live in a harsh and disordered world, see. And in this world..."
- CALL ME MAÑANA - "... the old man is corrupt for our *benefit* and we know it. Appreciate it, even. He is, personally, not too lavish."
- SCAB LEADER - "Main gate's locked -- would take *heavy ordnance* to bust it open. Could try to get in through the secretary's office." He points up the stairs. "Door's locked. The guard's blocking the way to the access panel."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "And when they do..." He holds out his index finger. "They will have a *good* place to go. I'm currently working on renovating the buildings near the roundabout into affordable *workers palaces*."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "Now, I'd like to set your mind at ease about one other matter: your *lost gun*. Let me assure you, Union people are on it as we speak. I've got my best hounds looking for that *lost gun*."
- BIRD'S NEST ROY - "Maybe. Shady looking guys came in here yesterday, looking like they'd just taken off their Wild Pines overalls. They asked if I have a police weapon to sell. I told them I already sold it."
- JOYCE MESSIER - "I will take your advice, detective. I will surrender Terminal B to the Union."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "What was always going to happen. We take the harbour and she fucks off to Ozonne, uncorks a bottle of wine, calls her partners and says they need to distance themselves from this nasty business before the big shit spinner splashes everyone."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "Only difference is the Union doesn't have to lose 2,000 men to machine gun fire."
- KLAASJE (MISS ORANJE DISCO DANCER) - "Is the Union *communist*? They're a couple of shades pinker than that, no? Social democrats."
- RHETORIC - A man of the left? So you have to be a social democrat?
- EVRART CLAIRE - "Oh, they are simply fine young men -- all seven of them! Exemplary Union members. Always working to advance their position in the local socialist-democratic movement. Core members."
- TITUS HARDIE - "I guess I'll take a closer look at our Union members. There's bound to be some ambitious fellows there who'd love nothing more than advancing social democracy by bustin' some heads."
- CALL ME MAÑANA - "Some are, some aren't." He shrugs. "It's a big institution, room for all kinds: communistas, Semenese supremacists, even an anti-institutional boiadeiro..."
- STEBAN, THE STUDENT COMMUNIST - "No, we're an independent organisation," he says proudly. "We acknowledge and respect the Union's efforts, but our interests are more theoretical than Mr. Claire's."
- 323. KIM KITSURAGI - "Then I presume you're familiar with his *peones*?" RACIST LORRY DRIVER: "Yeah," he says, unsure where this is leading. "They're his little bitches. He's got them all over the unions."
- RACIST LORRY DRIVER - "Hell no. It's a *guild*. Invitation only. Unions work for the rich fucks. They're basically the same. Been trying to fuck us out of our heritage in the name of profits. But you can't replace experience."
- THE DESERTER - "Another hideous disappointment..." He pokes at the ash: "Unions are the *real* enemy; the true enemy of the proletariat, placating the masses."
- THE DESERTER - "Nothing changed. Not in the *material base*, not in the *hegemony*, there was no uprising. Just words... The Union fizzled, sogged. Nothing came of it. Nothing."
- EVRART CLAIRE - "2,372," he replies like a whip. "Plus yours truly, of course."
- ELIZABETH - "I'm a legal counsellor for the Dockworkers' Union. I've been watching you."
- RENÉ ARNOUX - "Yes, the Débardeurs' Union pays me to stand vigil during the nights." He looks down. "Not out of any *political* allegiance, mind you."
- GASTON MARTIN - "Oh, nothing official, I assure you. Just essays for the newspapers. About Martinaise and how things are and how they *could* be. Evrart and I have these long talks where..."
- LOGIC - That's why Gaston isn't a Union member. Evrart needs a 'neutral' party to speak his ideas.