"There's power in the Union, brothers and sisters. It's not just the bosses! It's not just the owners! not when you're with the union. Used to be the guy who owned the shop got the pie and you got crumbs. The boss couldn't eat all that pie if he wanted to! See, all of us together, we make sure we get ourselves a piece of that pie. And this isn't just talk, brothers and sisters! You want to see how we back it up, ask Union-Made! He's the one who's putting those strike-breakers in traction. They brought clubs to take care of you, but they didn't realize they were bringing sticks to a super-armor fight."
-Hank Brunne, Labor Organizer
CO-CREATED WITH BENJAMIN M CANNEL
The first Union-Made was a suit of armor cobbled together to defend the Union. The Steel-Workers Union first built this Industrial-Age update on a medieval concept when the Pinkertons were hired to break them up in the 1880s. The clunky suit of armor became something of a folk hero, passed around from Union to Union, gaining small mechanical upgrades. This original Union-Made disappeared around the turn of the 20th century but the legend endured.
When the Auto-Workers’ 707 went on strike in the 1950’s the bosses hired the Bambono Crime Family and they had one of the scientists who was indebted to them build Strike-Breaker! A mechanized monstrosity, Strike-Breaker was unleashed on the picket line, killing several workers and wounding dozens more. The auto-workers fell back into the factory and barricaded themselves in as the Strike-Breaker battered at the brick walls of the factory.
Inside the men and women were scared, but they weren’t about to break. One of them remembered her grandfather telling her about Union-Made saving the Garment Workers from Police thugs and the crew used their tools, their skills, and the factory itself to try and build themselves a savior. The hydraulics and heavy machinery hissed and pounded as the Strike-Breaker hacked into the factory.
Machine hall after machine hall fell as the Bambono thugs rushed in with clubs and chains as soon as the walls were breached. But the workers fell back to the heart of the factory and as the terrible machine came through that final redoubt Union-Made came to life again. The Mechanized Suit’s chest-cockpit housed Peter Pulanski who was a tank driver during WWII and lead the charge to drive off the gangsters. Union-Made helped his Union Brothers and Sisters secure the factory and then busted down the gates of the factory owner’s mansion and physically brought him to the bargaining table.
The right-wing papers decried the actions as Red Mania and Un-American but the Union got their contract and Pilgrim Motors opened up and came back stronger than ever. A few years later the owner of the factory posed for pictures with Peter and Union-Made at the company picnic. Union-Made turned into the pride of the Union once more. Union-Made would go and march in solidarity with other Union City Labor Organizations and make sure that no petty supervillains or crooked cops ended up muscling in on the strikers. Union-Made occasionally also gets embroiled in the odd Alien Invasion or Warlord’s Assault on the city and has fought alongside the Vanguard as well as being a member of the Union of Heroes.
To be the pilot of Union-Made is a coveted responsibility and a challenge. The controls are complex and the armor is powerful and can be dangerous if not operated by someone with both talent and training. It takes over 1500 hours of training to qualify as a UM Pilot, and even then that only enables a member to be part of the mission or maintenance crew or to be an alternate. The official driver is a position that is chosen by the entire Union. The 707 elects a driver every two years right along with the President and Treasurer and the competition is always heated but friendly.
The current driver is Karver Greene, a former schoolbus driver who had a bus-load of kids in his vehicle when the Giant Robot Squid in the harbor knocked them off the Alfred Bridge and into the water. That’s when Union-Made saved them, pulling the whole bus out of the drink. Karver got a job at the plant the next week and started training. Karver’s passion and his compassion are both greatly admired by both the Union and the citizens of Union City, and Union-Made is an instantly recognizable and iconic member of Union City’s Heroic Community!
Union-Made as a symbol stands for the collective power of labor and for solidarity with the common men and women, but his (or her) personality changes greatly depending on the driver of the suit. While the Union-Made armor is the means, the real HERO is the person at the controls, and there have been nearly a dozen different men and women who have answered the call, and been voted on by their brothers and sisters of the 707! Some have been taciturn, some very chatty. The original driver would curse in Polish and spoke with a thick accent. So, Union-Made has had a var