SHELBURNE – Dozens of cute little teddy bears are marching in front of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company headquarters in Shelburne this morning, but they say that their situation is anything but cute. Eleven long-time bears were laid off last week, with little hope for employment elsewhere due to a societal prejudice against stuffed animals working full-time jobs. Now the bears are fighting to form a union that would prevent future layoffs and improve workplace bear conditions.
“We Can’t Bear It Anymore!” read one sign, carried by Firefighter Bear. “Bearly Making It” read another. A few bears did cross the picket line, saying that they had no choice, due to high rents in the area and poor economic conditions.
“I can’t blame them,” said Bearnie Sanders, a limited edition political bear who has risen quickly through the ranks to assume leadership of the strike. “Bears need honey for their families. That’s why we’re all out here today. Why do the biggest bears continue to get the most fluff? Did you know that ten percent of the bears here get ninety percent of the stuffing? Just because they’re huge? And now we’re getting laid off? We have a right to bargain for our livelihoods!”
Company management had no comment on the strike, other than to say that if the bears didn’t like the free health care, gentle love of children, and cute outfits that are provided to them, the company could literally just make new bears.
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