Organizer Training Part 5: Inoculation and the Boss Campaign

Expecting pushback from the boss? Be prepared and stay strong!

Now that you’ve gone public with your demands, the boss is going to respond. Here’s what to expect and how to enter those conversations feeling prepared.

You’ve worked hard to identify issues in your workplace, bring together workplace leaders, and get a majority of your coworkers on board. Now it’s time to think about how your boss will respond. The more you can prepare for pushback, the more confident and united you’ll be in continuing to fight the good fight.


There’s a word for this type of emotional preparedness: inoculation. It means bracing yourself for a whole host of possible reactions from the boss so you can feel confident in standing firm. Inoculation will help you maintain control of the conversation and stick to the issues. It will help you recognize manipulative, controlling tactics for exactly what they are—tactics—and avoid being swayed by them. 

To inoculate yourself and your coworkers, ask yourself why the boss might oppose your demands. What might they say? What might they do? How will they try to convince you to give up or settle for less than you deserve? 

Keep in mind, your boss will be ready with tools, tricks, and traps that employers have used for decades to silence employees. Let’s explore what those might look like.

The Boss Campaign

Depending on your workplace and the personalities involved, your boss will wage a campaign to resist your demands. This campaign might vary in tone, from seemingly nice to hostile. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly nice stuff.

For example, the boss might make small concessions to placate you and make it seem like they care without actually addressing your concerns. They might say, “We’re a family,” or “We can’t afford it,” to make you feel guilty. They might appeal to your sense of loyalty or self-sacrifice. It’s important to remember that whatever they do, they’re trying to beat you, and that’s all the more reason for you and your coworkers to keep up the fight.

Want to learn more? Check out this short video on the EWOC training for inoculation and the boss campaign. 

Learn More

When you’re done watching the video, register for the entire EWOC training series. You’ll learn a lot and meet other worker organizers like yourself. Let’s join together and win!

The rest of our 5-part organizer training series can be found on our blog: Part 1: Identifying LeadersPart 2: Mapping and Charting Your Workplace, Part 3: The Organizing Conversation, and Part 4: Escalation and Public Action.

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