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Bell Buster

Bell Buster Club Button Museum
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Bell Buster button back Club Button Museum
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Text on Button: 
Image Description: 

White button with a yellow rim and blue text. The image of a bell with a crack is centered. 

Curl Text: 

(union bug)

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AFSCME, American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees, is the largest trade union of public employees in the United States. Formed in 1932, by Wisconsin workers who feared they would lose their jobs due to lack of patronage in the Great Depression, the individuals created a "professional civil service" agency to advocate for the group. Throughout the years, the AFSCME organized lobbying and demonstrations in political arenas.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence. The Bell System, including the American Bell telephone company, adopted the symbol of the Liberty Bell as their logo for several years. The company installed and operated telephone lines and service until becoming part of the giant corporation American Telephone and Telegraph, AT&T, a regulated monopoly in the telephone industry.

IBEW stands for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, an organized union of members and retirees forming several fields related to electrical work in North America. The IBEW acts as an advocate for wages, benefits, and rights.

The symbol depicted of the union being a "bell buster," is likely referencing a dispute involving IBEW, American Bell, and AFSCME. In cases like these, unions could work together or oppose each other in negotiations.

In 2018, Janus v. AFSCME was heard as a Supreme Court case. The case was in regards to a prominent labor law that determined union fees in the public sector violate the first amendment. This decision required public-sector unions to offer their services to members without requiring them to pay fees and dues. Naturally, union groups like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) were opposed to this decision. It capped their ability to generate revenue and created unnecessary expenses, weakening the union. Although, in the aftermath, many union members are reported to have stuck together and continue to pay dues and fees willingly to keep the union strong.


History. (2020). Retrieved 2 April 2020, from

IBEW > Who We Are. (2020). Retrieved 2 April 2020, from

IBEW. (2018). In the wake of Janus: Preemptive organizing pays off for IBEW locals. IBEW Media Center.

Supreme Court of the United States. (2018). Janus v. American federation of state, county, and municipal employees, council 31 (16-1466).

The American Telephone & Telegraph Company: Various images - Risks and Rewards. (2020). Retrieved 2 April 2020, from

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