IWW Sites

After today's murder in Charlottesville, we must all unite to defend ourselves and each other.

Industrial Workers of the World - Sun, 2017-08-13 16:56

 

We are horrified but not surprised at the rise of political violence and murder from the Alt Right and other fascist groups across the country. Today's murder was not an isolated incident, but is the latest in a string of violent attacks and murders from fascists. These include the shooting of an IWW/GDC member in Seattle, the stabbing double murder on the Portland MAX train, and the recent bombing of Dar Al Farooq mosque in Minnesota, among many others.

Fascism is a deadly threat to all of us. There is no escape from the demand that we confront it. Politicians, the police, and the university will not save us. We cannot vote our way to safety. As always, police aided and protected the fascists, while permitting and assisting wholesale violence against counter-protesters. University officials refused to use campus security to protect students and others from a gang of hundreds of fascists. 

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Industrial Worker—Summer 2017 no1780 vol 114, No. 3

Industrial Workers of the World - Thu, 2017-08-10 21:40

One hundred years ago—the summer of 1917—two events shaped the future of the IWW.

On July 12, 1917, 1,196 striking copper miners in Bisbee, Arizona, were loaded into cattle cars on a train that dropped them in the New Mexico desert. The IWW had been organizing the workers, many of whom were Mexican and could not join the miners' union white men belonged to. On June 27, 1917, the IWW called a strike for flat daily wages of comparable amounts for both under- and above-ground miners, as well as other reasonable demands. Enough workers went out on strike that mining operations were crippled. Therefore, enlisting the aid of Bisbee's Sheriff and around 1,000 men known as the Loyalty League, the mining companies hatched and implemented the plan that resulted in what came to be known as the Bisbee Deportation.

Frank Little was one of the IWW miners' organizers in Arizona and Montana, facing the powerful and ruthless copper-mine owners, who backed up their anti-union aims with a purchased press as well as gunmen, spies, and vigilantes. Fellow Worker Little was lynched by a mob in Butte, Montana, on August 1, 1917.

This issue of Industrial Worker looks at the historical work of agitating and organizing as well as the modern actions IWW members take to advocate for and organize workers marginalized by corporations, law enforcement, and society through actions on the street and in the workplace.

Download a free PDF of this issue.

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Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Supports Industrial Workers of the World

Industrial Workers of the World - Thu, 2017-08-10 21:25

By X357058, X383824, X373817, X387362 - Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, August 7, 2017

May 24th – 29th CBTU International Convention – New Orleans: The recent work by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has caught the attention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), bringing their support to the effort to unionize incarcerated workers. At their recent convention in late May the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists voted to support the IWW in the struggle, growing the prisoner unionization movement that has, until now, been overlooked by trade unions. The CBTU brings with it support for the implementation of collective bargaining and a minimum wage for prisoners, which can be viewed as a step toward prison abolition in regards to near-slave labor which prisoners currently perform.

Dee, an IWW member in prison, explains in an interview, “Labor unions can give prisoners more unity and more power to challenge the system that's exploiting prisoners as well as a structure to give prisoners power to resist collectively.The union has a role to play in building the sense of collective power, so that's why George Jackson thought prisoner unions were necessary,” Dee states. “The demands are many and varied based on conditions in different states and facilities, but take for example the demand for minimum wage, if they're forced to pay prisoners, and we can force their hand, it'll break down the prison system, because the prison system was not based on anything except exploitation of prisoners.” Prisoners are currently making between $0.90 and $2.00 per day. Furthermore, the prison population is largely comprised of People of Color currently (~ 66.7%), who make up only 36.3% of the US population.

Within the IWW, the abolitionist oriented Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is on the cutting edge of the prison labor movement. CBTU’s support brings a newfound solidarity to the union, and substantially expands the support base of the union and its project. Brianna Peril, IWOC outside organizer, responded to the news: “This is really exciting. One of our strengths as a union is our ability to explain to other union members how important it is that we start recognizing prison slavery as a labor issue. Receiving support from the CBTU is a huge step toward this overarching goal that we had from the founding of IWOC.”

Mark Maxey, an IWW member from Oklahoma says, “Within the IWW, members seek not only to organize the workplace, but also organize the working class. Whether they are currently employed or not. Many members view this approach as crucial to unions regaining relevance in a rapidly changing job market. The root cause is capitalism and its use of slavery, unemployment, underemployment, and human trafficking.  A remedy is to look outside traditional workplaces and outside the box creatively in aspects of the struggles of the working class.  This will lead to members of the working class who are jobless or completely alienated from their jobs seeing unions as an answer,” Maxey stated.

This remedy could take the form of organizing tenant unions, anti-hate support, clean water coalitions, all sorts of different types of community self-defense networks inside the working class, and especially in the prisons. The CBTU, self-described as “the fiercely independent voice of black workers within the trade union movement, challenging organized labor to be more relevant to the needs and aspirations of Black and poor workers”, fits well with these ideals of IWW members. IWW proudly calls itself One Big Union. The work of IWOC, aided by CBTU, will ensure that it really is One Big Union.

IWOC was formed in 2014 as a letter-writing program to speak directly to prisoners. Since then, it has already seen a successful National Prisoner Strike on September 9th, 2016. This year, the Millions for Prisoners March on August 19th will mark the anniversary of George Jackson's death, an early prison organizer whose death lead to the Attica uprising.

CBTU, which was founded in 1972, is the largest, independent voice of more than 2.2 million African American workers in labor unions today. With more than 50 chapters in major U.S. cities and one in Ontario, Canada, CBTU is dedicated to addressing the unique concerns of black workers and their communities. CBTU is a strong supporter of low-wage workers who are fighting for respect and the right to have a voice on their jobs.

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Voices from Behind Wisconsin’s Prison Gates #3

Industrial Workers of the World - Thu, 2017-08-10 20:49

By staff - Milwaukee IWW, August 8, 2017

Download PDF Here

This is a newsletter for people incarcerated in Wisconsin, based as much as possible on what they are saying. It is edited and printed by the Milwaukee branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, (IWW) Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). Please write us back if you have updates you’d like to give to people on the inside and the outside. The more that people talk together the less isolated we are. We are in contact with networks of prisoners in areas inside and outside of Wisconsin, and can help build connections. Let us know if there are other people inside jails and prisons that we should contact.

Write to us at:
PO Box 342294,
Milwaukee, WI, 53234.

Our national hotline:
816-866-3808.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Why Did the UAW Vote at Nissan Fail?

Industrial Workers of the World - Thu, 2017-08-10 20:40

By Marianne Garneau - Black Rose Anarchist Federation, August 7, 2017

There’s been much attention over the reported loss of a UAW union election at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi on Friday, August 4th. Many see the organizing effort as part of a larger question of whether the US labor movement can organize in the historically unorganized and union-hostile South. New York City IWW organizer Marianne Garneau writes this brief commentary offering her assessment.

The defeat of a UAW election bid at a Nissan plant in Mississippi got a tremendous amount of attention this week, particularly from the left. People seemed especially disheartened by the defeat, and almost at a loss for why things turned out so badly for the union. Sure enough, the internet produced all kinds of hot, world-historic takes explaining the outcome, a lot of them looking for some kind of exceptional circumstances here. Most zeroed in on the Southern context.

Granted, the union defeat was unfortunate. And it is possible it could have gone another way – we shouldn’t think it was some inevitable outcome (there is way too much fatalism on the left these days). But the reasons why the UAW failed are perfectly legible, and none of them are novel. Everything about the loss – the union’s strategy, the company’s union-busting, the social and political context – was textbook.

Why the UAW Vote at Nissan Failed

1. The company union-busted like crazy. And yes, union-busting includes things like playing on racial divisions and threatening people’s jobs (these are the sticks), and paying workers high salaries (the carrots). The bosses apparently built a tent outside the plant and met with every single worker on shift, including the ones who weren’t even eligible to vote in the election. That’s brilliant union-busting, but it’s to be expected. That’s why unions have a counterstrategy to that, called “inoculation,” where workers are prepared ahead of time for the boss’ rhetoric, and their sticks and carrots.

2. The union took a weak-ass, conservative, timid stance of mostly trying to keep the stuff the company was already giving workers and playing nice/reasonable with management. UAW has repeatedly said that it wants to work with companies to help their bottom line healthy, etc. That borrows directly from the boss’s logic that they are gifting workers a job and a wage, as opposed to workers generating all the profits the owners get to pocket.

3. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) played its usual role of “wot, us?” It slowly churned through its processes of listening to complaints from either side. I don’t even remember what the outcome was of its rulings (or if it ever got to them). But that’s how little that matters to the actual, bloody fight “on the shop floor.”

4. By the way, none of this has anything to do with “the south.” What is supposed to be unique here? The fact that other jobs in the area pay terribly? The fact that workers are divided along racial lines? The fact that union density is low? Those are exactly the same conditions that beleaguer workers, and organizing efforts, elsewhere.

5. And yeah, unfortunately, these workers, who presumably voted this way out of fear, and wanting to keep their jobs, will die on their knees as their wages get cut, their jobs get automated or outsourced, or they get replaced by lower-wage temps. You can’t “play nice” or compromise your way to better wages or conditions. Playing nice with the boss means they retain the power to control your wages and your working conditions. The only alternative is to amass real power on the shop floor – real power to disrupt the flow of profits – and control how the boss treats you. You can’t escape the forces of capitalism inside of one plant, but you can fight like hell over every single site where your labor is exploited for the boss’s gain.

You can’t avoid the class war; workers need to make it clear to the bosses that they can’t either.

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Burgerville Workers Union Marches Forward; Community Support and Solidarity Continue Growing

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-08-01 20:47

Pete Shaw - Portland Occupier, July 19, 2017

The shakes–blackberry, chocolate hazelnut, and pumpkin spice–come and go. So do the Walla Walla onion rings, waffle fries, and asparagus. But since April of last year, solidarity has always been in season at Burgerville.

Since its formation 15 months ago, the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU)–which is supported by the Portland Industrial Workers of the World–has been organizing for better working conditions on the job, greater benefits, and higher wages. Fighting against a management that promotes the Burgerville corporation as one which supports family values, local farmers, and sustainable practices, but treats its workers no differently than people have come to expect from larger fast food chains such as McDonald’s, the Burgerville Workers Union has slowly but surely been gathering steam in its struggle.

However, Burgerville management has so far refused to talk with the union.

On Friday July 14, the BVWU took another small but significant step toward pushing Burgerville’s management to start negotiating with it. A crowd of over 100 people picketed outside the Burgerville on Southeast 92nd and Powell during the early evening, virtually shutting down business at the store. On a hot night when one of the raspberry shakes would have made a delightful treat, only a few customers crossed the picket line.

At a rally just prior to establishing the line, Mark Medina of the BVWU told the gathered crowd, “We’re gonna shut down the shop for a couple of hours and make corporate know that workers care about benefits, about wages, and that they want Burgerville to negotiate with the union and respect the rights of workers here in Portland, Oregon. This is a union town. They should respect our rights to organize.”

That lack of respect was given official imprimatur when on June 22 Burgerville agreed to pay $10,000 to settle charges brought against it by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that between August 1 and August 15, 2015 the company willfully “failed to provide a meal period of not less than 30 continuous minutes during which the employee is relieved of all duties and/or failed to provide timely meal periods to twenty-eight employees” as required by law. Another 16 employees were also denied their 30-minute work-free meal period during a two-week period in December, 2016.

In addition to those charges, BOLI found that Burgerville was “employing minors under 18 in hazardous and permitted occupation” when two 17 year old employees operated a trash compactor which Oregon law has declared “hazardous and detrimental to to the health of employees under the age of 18.”

All charges pertained to the Burgerville store on NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, near the Oregon Convention Center.

Brandon Doyle, BVWU Shop Leader at the SE 92nd and Powell Burgerville, is one of many Burgerville workers who has seen the company’s scarce regard for workers up close and personal. A few months ago Doyle was feeling ill to the point of vomiting while on the job. Instead of allowing him to go home and rest–as well as not risk getting Burgerville customers sick–Doyle’s manager insisted he remain at work. Fortunately, Doyle and his fellow workers contacted fellow union members from other stores, who then contacted Doyle’s manager, eventually resulting in Doyle being allowed to leave and likely helping prevent the spread of what ailed him. They had his back, and Doyle now wants to return the favor.

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DC IWW Supports the TPSS Co-Op Workers Union for $15/hour and a Union

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-08-01 20:29

By Cal - DC IWW, July 30, 2017

The DC General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) supports the TPSS Co-op workers in their struggle to unionize. Wages lag behind the rising cost of living in the DC metropolitan area. In Takoma Park, the average cost of living is much higher than in other parts of Maryland, and even a starting salary of $11.50 is unacceptable. A starting wage of $15/hour–though not ideal–is a reasonable demand that allows workers the chance to afford rent, transportation, child care and sustenance in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country.

We further support the rights of all workers to unionize, ensuring fair and equitable treatment during these trying times. Moreover, a union will foster a spirit of unity and cooperation among workers so TPSS Co-op can continue to be a place of respect, dignity, and community.

TPSS Co-op is a member-owned cooperative, and the IWW shares many of the the values and goals of the Co-op: a healthy planet, democratic/cooperative ownership, and community-sourced goods and resources. A fully democratically organized workplace is necessary to help strengthen the bonds between the co-op, its workers, its members, and the community at-large.  The financial statements, publically available on the TPSS Co-op website,  indicate good financial health through growth, profitability, and the ability to consistently meet its obligations. To remain successful, the co-op must also fulfill its obligations of utmost importance – paying a reasonable wage to its workers and providing improved working conditions.

We encourage the membership, the Board of Representatives, and the greater Takoma Park community to support the workers of the TPSS co-op in creating a truly democratic community.

We believe such a community is in the best interest of everyone and that a productive conversation, centering the workers’ needs, will build a stronger relationship–grounded in solidarity–between the TPSS workers and the Takoma Park Community.

We the membership of the DC General Membership Branch of the IWW hereby fully endorse the efforts of the TPSS Co-op workers’ union and pledge our support, solidarity and aid to our fellow workers.

DC General Membership Branch – Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

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J20 Defense Campaign Goes Global/July 20-27 Week of Solidarity!

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-07-25 20:22

By the members of the Mid Atlantic General Defense Committee, July 20, 2017

This past week, our J20 campaign not only received endorsements from more unions and organizations across the country, but from multiple European unions as well.  As we approach the J20 Week of Solidarity July 20-27 organized by Defend J20 Resistance, we're happy to have this boost of energy and support!

Endorsement Update

This past week or so, we received endorsements from multiple IWW branches such as those in Baltimore, Maryland and Tampa, Florida.  In addition, we received endorsements from the Washington, D.C. branch of the Socialist Party, USA, and the Seattle Solidarity Network, commonly known as SeaSol.  SeaSol has long been an inspiration for many of us in forming the GDC, so we wanted to give a particular shout out to them. 

If you haven't encountered SeaSol before, you should do yourself a favor and check them out--they're a "volunteer network of working people who defend each other through collective action," who have amassed an impressive list of victories fighting for tenants' and workers' rights in Seattle over the past decade.  Their amazing successes have led to similar groups elsewhere, and has shown a working, democratic model of how working people can take action to fight against abusive bosses and landlords.  We're really thrilled that they've endorsed our letter!

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Greens join the IWW

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-07-18 21:43

By staff - Green Party Videos, July 19, 2017

Staff members of the Green Party of the United States announce the formation of a union (they get the IWW's name wrong; it's in fact "Industrial"--not "International" Workers of the World, but it's the thought that counts).

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The Fourth Star: The New Junior Wobblies and the Next Generation of Union Militants

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-07-18 21:36

By Sadie Farrell and M.K. Lees - Institute for Anarchist Studies, July 10, 2017

Several factors played into our collective decision not to run a print issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory for the current year. We sincerely thank all inquiries and submissions sent for what was hoped to be an issue on Play. A call out for submissions for a Beyond The Crisis print issue of Perspectives (2018) will be announced shortly. 

This is an article written by two Wobblies in response to our call for Play essays. These organizers bridge the gap between play and the practice of organizing skills via educational skits and fun activities led by the New Junior Wobblies, the young members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

The IWW globe logo holds three stars representing Education, Organization and Emancipation. This article looks at Recreation – a  fourth star – from challenging uneven relations of power, to making joy central to organizing against capitalism, regardless of age. 

Shortly after a wave of government repression and internal splits nearly destroyed the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) as a functioning labor organization, a group of Wobblies felt the immediate need to find new ways to raise the next generation of revolutionary unionists.  As a part of solidarity support for striking IWW coal miners in Colorado, children of union members were invited to join an IWW organization of their own.  These Wobbly kids formed “locals” to organize support for their striking parents, and alongside them, develop a rudimentary understanding of the world and how they might soon be a part of organizing to change it.  To the IWW tripartite motto, “Education, Organization, Emancipation” they added “Recreation,” and in 1927, the Junior Wobblies Union was born.

(Junior Wobblies in the 1920s)

 

This effort to formally carve out a space for children in the IWW was lost as the union fell into obscurity, but with the IWW revival of the past few decades, old traditions have been revived.  In 2011, the Twin Cities branch of the IWW reconstituted both the self-educational institution, the Work People’s College, as well as the Junior Wobblies.  It began as a combination of IWW members coordinating childcare to enable parents to attend trainings, panels, and other IWW events.  But as the network of Wobblies with kids grew, so did the desire to provide concrete ways for kids to engage with union activity.

In July, 2012, the Twin Cities put on the first Junior Wobblies summer camp in decades, hosting IWW children ages 2 through 12 at Mesaba Park campground for a week of games, outdoor play, and structured learning activities.  The camp has continued annually ever since, drawing a larger crowd from across the US and Canada each year.

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Burgerville pays $10,000 to settle wage and hour violations

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-07-18 21:28

By staff - NW Labor Press, July 6, 2017

The Burgerville fast food chain — target of a 14-month union campaign to improve wages and working conditions — on June 22 agreed to pay $10,000 to settle charges that it willfully failed to give workers meal and rest breaks as required by law.

Oregon law requires employers to provide paid rest periods of at least 10 minutes for each four-hour work period, and a duty-free meal period of at least 30 minutes when employees work six or more hours at a time.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) first wrote to Burgerville on April 7, 2016, saying it received information that the company may not have been providing rest breaks and meal periods at its Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard restaurant in Portland. The letter asked the company to review its practices and take immediate steps to correct the situation. Burgerville’s chief operating officer wrote back April 18 to say the company had retrained the entire management team and would meet with all 40 employees to make sure they know about the requirement that they take breaks.

But the practice continued: Two other employees complained in August, and BOLI sent another letter, and opened an investigation. The investigation found that over two-week periods in August and December 2016, managers “willfully” failed to provide meal periods to 28 and 16 employees respectively. Willful, in this case, is a legal term meaning the company knew about the requirement for meal breaks, and also knew that workers weren’t getting them. The agency found 44 violations total, and assessed $250 per violation, for $11,000 in all. BOLI also found three cases in which minors were performing a hazardous duty — operating a trash compactor — and assessed $250 per violation for those.

On June 2, 2017, the agency issued a notice that it intended to assess civil penalties of $11,750. The Vancouver-based fast food chain agreed to pay $10,000 to settle all the charges.

Burgerville Workers Union, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World, has been campaigning since April 2016 for a $5 an hour raise, affordable health care, and other demands. The Oregon AFL-CIO and half a dozen other labor organizations have endorsed their campaign.

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Letter from J20 Defense Campaign from Mid-Atlantic GDC

Industrial Workers of the World - Wed, 2017-06-28 20:38

By Mid Atlantic General Defense Committee - It's Going Down, June 27, 2017

PDF Version Here

Looking for a solidarity statement that you can take to your union, local organization, or faith based group to sign and build a base of support for J20 arrestees facing repression? The Mid-Atlantic General Defense Committee of the IWW has created one along with a petition for individuals to sign here.

On January 20, 2017, thousands took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to protest the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. During one of the many marches held on Inauguration Day, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department showed the world how it planned to treat dissent moving forward: Shortly after the protest began, hundreds of protesters were attacked with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and batons. Police confined over 200 people within a “kettle” for hours before arresting them. Every protester’s cell phone was confiscated as evidence and rooted through. Upon being released, they were handed a riot charge. Months later, US attorneys piled on 8 additional felony charges, including “Conspiracy to Riot”. Protesters now face up to 75 years in prison – all for attending a demonstration.

Among the people arrested were over two dozen members of our union, the Industrial Workers of the World, and its affiliated legal defense and community organizing body, the IWW General Defense Committee (GDC). Within the IWW and GDC, we don’t shy away from our members’ politics, and support our members’ rights to express their politics through protests and marches, a tradition that goes back within our union to battles over free speech in the early 20th century.

Since the arrests, D.C. prosecutors and police have shown a disturbing pattern of repression as well as specific targeting of IWW and GDC members. Our members had their union cards and buttons confiscated and held as evidence. Months after the protest, three individuals (including two prominent members of the DC IWW local branch) were served with warrants for their arrest on charges of conspiracy to riot. Prior to their warrants being issued, the prosecutor’s office revealed that they had created separate trial groupings, including one grouping where nearly all defendants were IWW or GDC members. While they will not say as much in public, it has become clear that the city attorneys for Washington, D.C. are treating membership in our union as evidence of a criminal act.

This is not the first time the IWW has been targeted for repression, and it is unlikely to be the last. The crackdown on protesters in D.C. is part of a larger effort to criminalize and silence dissent in working-class and marginalized communities. D.C. is just one of more than a dozen states that are attempting to quell dissent through legislation or harsh legal penalties. This is not a coincidence. People in power want activists and organizations to be afraid to protest Trump’s agenda.

The labor movement cannot succeed if union members are treated as criminals when protesting anti-union and anti-worker politicians and their policies. No social movement can operate in repressive conditions like that. We have always stood by the principle that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” In this spirit, we are calling on our friends and allies in the labor movement, as well as in allied progressive or left groups, to share this letter and pass the following motion within your union local or organization:

We are deeply concerned about the severe repression against all protesters facing charges for exercising their First Amendment rights on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. We assert our support of the demand to drop the charges against all protesters. We further commit to:

Contacting info@midatlanticgdc.com to add our organization’s name to those endorsing this letter, to be found at www.midatlanticGDC.com/letter

Requesting the appropriate individual post to our organization’s social media accounts that we support this letter

Requesting the appropriate officer or individual send an expression of our support for the above demand to the United States Attorney’s Office, ATTN: Channing Phillips, 555 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20530

Encouraging our members to get involved in the effort to support all defendants at www.defendj20resistance.org and www.midatlanticGDC.com.

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Final Straw: August 19th Day of Action, “Millions for Prisoners”

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-06-27 18:49

By Final Straw - It's Going Down, June 20, 2017

Listen and Download Here

This week, Bursts spoke with Ben Turk about the August 19th call out for solidarity with prisoners. The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a project of the Industrial Workers of the World (or IWW) syndicalist labor union is one body organizing the inside and outside actions, and Ben is a member. Ben’s also affiliated with Lucasville Amnesty

Last year was a huge time for radical organizing around the U.S. Prisoners from around the country participated in the September 9th national prisoner strike, the first of it’s size and scope that we’ve seen. This event mobilized individual prisoners and also sprang from groups like the Free Alabama Movement and it’s sister pushes in other carceral states, Anarchist Black Cross chapters, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, or IWOC, of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union and also by just lots of unaffiliated prisoners.

Now, we have what could be called a hard Law and Disorder administration in the White House talking about increasing funding and support for cops, further militarizing the border and terrorizing residents, reviving the 1980’s style war on drugs and other repressive actions. In this context, it feels necessary for those who have a different vision of the world to push back and keep pushing as we were under Obama, under Bush & before.

This August 19th there is a call for another prisoner-led show of resistance supported by folks on the outside as well.

More on IWOC can be found at https://incarceratedworkers.org and more about public call for the strike can be found at IAmWeUbuntu.com

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Raleigh-Durham, NC: IWOC and Friends Picket NC Department of ‘Public Safety’

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2017-06-27 18:43

By Raleigh-Durham IWOC - It's Going Down, June 20, 2017

Members and supporters of the Raleigh-Durham General Membership Branch (GMB) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) held a picket outside the headquarters of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, 831 W. Morgan Street, in Raleigh, at 12 noon on Friday, June 23rd in solidarity with members and comrades of their union incarcerated in North Carolina.

The “soft” picket, which did not blockade the street, sidewalk, or the entrance to NCDPS, but which forced DPS workers to walk through the line on their lunch break, was organized by the Raleigh-Durham GMB’s local of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee in response to repression faced by IWW/IWOC members on the inside who are working to form a union, to organize against prison slavery, and make other inside struggles known on the outside.

Also present at the action were organizers for the Millions for Prisoners March on August 19th in Washington DC. Organizers shared the reasoning behind the march and expressed the need for everyone invested in the abolition of prison slavery to either join them in Washington or organize a local march in their hometown. IWOC fully supports the Millions for Prisoners March and will be there in force.

The forms of repression faced by the fellow workers in the NC prison system are diverse, but they all stem directly from decisions made by those who work in the Department of Public Safety, which supervises NC Prisons. Stanley Corbett Jr., for example, writes:

These people (officers Synder, Falliner, & Walker, including Sgt. Lancaster) have stopped all of my mail from my family, friends, & associates. It’s another form of retaliation, in which their striving to keep me from communicating with society, due to the fact that I’m letting the public know what’s going on in here. I need you & anyone else that can help me to call this facility, and speak to Mr. Marshall about getting me transferred or swapped.” Allen Littlejohn III writes “They have pushed my release date back for no reason. I was on 9-29-17 but now they have pushed my release date back to 1-11-18 for no reason. I’ve not received a infraction so what is the reason behind these games.

In the lead-up to the picket, the Raleigh-Durham IWOC shared some letters written by Fellow Workers currently locked inside the North Carolina prison system. Those letters can be found here. 

Members of the IWW have created the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, or IWOC, which functions as a liaison for prisoners to organize each other, unionize, and build solid bridges between prisoners on the inside and fellow workers on the outside. IWOC has been actively reaching out to prisoners while at the same time prisoners have been reaching out to the IWW for representation and assistance in building a prisoners union. IWOC has taken up the cause and is helping prisoners in every facility organize and build a union branch for themselves, which will together form a powerful IWW Industrial Union.

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Wobblies of the World – Interview

Industrial Workers of the World - Mon, 2017-06-26 20:33

By staff - New Syndicalist, June 20, 2017

New Syndicalist Blog spoke to Peter Cole, David Struthers and Kenyon Zimmer about their upcoming volume, ‘Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW’ – available for preorder from Pluto Press. We asked them what their history revealed about the organising approaches of the IWW in the past, what lessons can be learned for the future and how the One Big Union has adapted to a changing world.

1. What motivated you to publish a global history of the IWW at this time? 

Although the world seems insane right now, our book was conceived of some years back—but shit was crazy then, too. Just as the rise of the global New Left in the 1960s sparked interest in the history of the Wobblies so have recent events. Anti-globalization, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and other recent social movements were impressive but lacked a strong union presence. However, these push-backs against neoliberalism revealed examples of anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist tactics and ideals, a la the IWW of old. We believe that history must be “useable,” meaning people should look to Wobbly history for examples of successful struggles that are applicable to the present-day. Transformations within history as an academic discipline also made this book possible, as scholars have increasingly turned to global and transnational approaches to topics previously studies within neat national compartments, as thought people, goods, and ideas have not always traversed (and transgressed) borders.

2. Did your contributors reveal any significant variations in the IWW over place or time? 

Obviously, for the IWW to grow in the soil of many lands, it had to adapt to local conditions. In Australia, the IWW worked with the mainstream unions—despite ideological differences—in opposing World War I, which resulted in surprising solidarity from those unions when the IWW suffered fierce government repression. In Ireland, one-time Wobblies led a nationalist revolution. What Wobblies did in Tampico, Mexico could be quite different than what they did in Malmö, Sweden. Perhaps equally fascinating are the commonalties. For one, the IWW did not shed its bedrock opposition to racism and xenophobia, no matter the mainstream customs of whichever society in which it organised. The IWW was the first white-majority union or organisation to attempt lining up Maori in New Zealand and Xhosa in South Africa. The IWW rejected anti-Asian sentiment in California and embraced Finns across northern Ontario. Some things never change.

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Categories: IWW Sites

IWW and radical influences on the San Francisco waterfront

Industrial Workers of the World - Mon, 2017-06-26 20:27

By Hieronymous - Libcom.org, May 3, 2017

For May Day 2017 Local 10 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union invoked a contractual "stop-work" privilege and refused to work any Bay Area docks in celebration of International Workers Day for the third consecutive year. This speech, originally delivered at the 75th Anniversary of the 1934 San Francisco General Strike at the Marine Firemen’s Hall in San Francisco, was adapted for the rally preceding the May Day march on May 1, 2017.

    John Ross wrote:
    In my own country
    amnesia is the norm,
    the schools teach us
    to unremember from birth,
    the slave taking, the risings up,
    the songs of resistance,
    the first May first,
    our martyrs from Haymarket
    to Attica to the redwoods of California
    ripped whole from our hearts,
    erased from official memory . . .
    (from "Against Amnesia)

In the 1950s, when he was a North Beach resident, poet Allen Ginsberg shipped out various times with the merchant marines from the Embarcadero. Earlier, the proximity of the waterfront to the vibrant intellectual life of the bohemians and political radicals of North Beach made San Francisco the most radical port city in the U.S. But Ginsberg lived in North Beach during the height of the Cold War, so perhaps it should be expected that his poem “America” has the line:

Allen Ginsberg wrote:
“America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies”

Poet Kenneth Rexroth, who was close to the circle of anarchists and anti-World War II pacifists who founded KPFA in 1949, and earlier had been a soapboxer and wrote for the Waterfront Worker, said this about the pre-World War II period:

Kenneth Rexroth wrote:
. . . people became involved in red San Francisco. The interesting thing is that most of them became practical labor organizers, rather than Bohemians sitting around Union Square arguing about proletarian literature . . . You see, all of us were very actively involved and this makes all the difference in the world. Another thing, very few of these people were orthodox Commies because the basic tradition on the West Coast was IWW.

From the California Gold Rush onwards, a worker on the West Coast could easily go out and get a job in the woods or at sea or in the fields.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Utica, NY: IWW and Community Groups Mobilize to Halt Deportation

Industrial Workers of the World - Sun, 2017-06-18 17:42

By anonymous - It's Going Down, June 8, 2017

A father, soccer coach, and Utica resident Ricky Morgan was separated from his family on June 5th during a routine check-in with ICE and will now be deported to Jamaica. Family members, community members and local activists are struggling to come to terms with this sudden, grim reality.

Over the last few months, a broad coalition of organizations, including ICE-Free Capital District, the labor union Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Troy Sanctuary Movement and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Saratoga Springs have come to Ricky’s aid and accompanied him for monthly check-ins with ICE. Ricky was inspired by a previous rally activists held for a mother and immigrant from Hudson, NY who was facing deportation. He hoped that similar support from the community would help him in the future. For a while, Ricky was only checking in with ICE once a year until he was told after the election of Trump that he became a priority for deportation and had to check in with ICE monthly.

Ricky moved to the US in the 1990s on a work visa and is still permitted to work in the US. He was targeted in the past by ICE during the Obama administration and was separated from his family by ICE for six months while he was kept in Batavia’s ICE Detention Center, one of countless jails in the US that exist to house immigrants. He will now be sent back to Batavia before his deportation.

Joe Paparone, an organizer with ICE-Free Capital District stated: “We need to start telling the truth. Immigration enforcement has nothing to do with criminality, and it’s regular people like Ricky – people with families, communities, workplaces, neighbors, that are having their lives torn apart, for no reason other than the racist scapegoating of a pathological liar. Those of us who care about our communities are going to keep fighting this racist deportation regime, and keep standing up for vulnerable members of our communities.”

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Categories: IWW Sites

Portland May Day 2017 — Official Response

Industrial Workers of the World - Thu, 2017-05-25 20:05

By the Portland IWW - Portland IWW, May 4, 2017

This was originally sent to KOIN 6 as a response to the events that took place on May Day in Portland.

The Industrial Workers of the World is proud that we were able to celebrate International Workers Day and march in solidarity with so many organizations which are essential and vibrant to the community of Portland and at large. International Workers Day is an important holiday that showcases the struggle of all workers against the wholesale societal systemic oppression brought about by corporations, CEOs, and the mega-rich capitalist class. The fact that there was such a strong contingent of marchers from all walks of life is representative of the American working class.

The Portland Police Bureau’s use of violence against workers and their families – as well as the children who were in the crowd celebrating the holiday with their parents – is a travesty and a violation of both human rights, as well as the right to peaceful assembly. We condemn their efforts in restricting accessibility to fellow workers with disabilities, and their blatant disregard for the health and well-being of the people they have sworn to protect. By direct contrast, they assisted visible white supremacists and white nationalists at the “March for Free Speech 82nd Ave,” specifically a non-permitted march by pro-Trump supporters on April 29th by chartering Tri-Met buses and public transportation to get these people, some of whom were making Nazi salutes during their protest, back to their vehicles.

Our goal is and has always been to support and assist the workers of the world, and we will continue to fight for the needs of all in the face of police and capitalist oppression, and stand by our watchword that an injury to one is an injury to all. As such, the Portland Police Bureau inflicted shameful injury against the workers, their families, and their children during the May Day march; we will stand against that in solidarity with our fellow workers.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Report Back from DC: Standing in Solidarity with Fellow Worker Julia Flores

Industrial Workers of the World - Thu, 2017-05-25 19:59

By Anonymous Contributor - It's Going Down, May 20, 2017

On April 30th, the DC Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) staged a picket in support of fellow worker Julia Flores, a member of the IWW and the Comité de Apoyo Laboral y Poder Obrero (the Comité), who was wrongfully terminated by Whole Foods in September 2016. After 15 years of service, Whole Foods retaliated against Julia for collectively organizing to win back a fellow worker’s job. Since Julia’s wrongful termination, she has made several appeals to the company’s local and regional leadership only to be dismissed without justice. In December 2016, the manager who terminated Julia, Victor Vazquez,  was fired along with eight other managers, for ‘stealing bonuses’. Our picket was not only in support of Julia’s Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) claim but to demand her reinstatement as well as restitution.  Our message to Whole Foods and the surrounding employers was clear: We, the workers of the District of Columbia, will not tolerate repression of fellow workers, retaliation for organizing our workplaces, or wage theft. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Our coalition was comprised of around sixty comrades including members of Many Languages One Voice (MLOV), the Comité, the IWW and its General Defense Committee (GDC), the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Socialist Alternative, Future is Feminist, DC Stampede, DC Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), and the Socialist Snack Squad. We assembled at 10:30 am to review our overall strategy, our contingency escalation plan, and individual roles. The fulcrum of the action was a delegation of five comrades that accompanied Julia to Whole Foods to present her demands to the store manager in advance of the picket. Unsurprisingly, Whole Foods refused to negotiate and demanded the delegation leave the store. While we had no illusion that the bosses had any intention of conceding, workers organizing an effective picket should clearly articulate their demands to both the bosses as well as to the wider community.  The delegation relayed the details of their meeting to the picket and then proceeded to canvas nearby businesses to put pressure on Whole Foods. At each stop the delegation explained the circumstances of Julia’s wrongful termination, Whole Food’s history of worker repression, and the delegation’s recent treatment by the store manager.

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Categories: IWW Sites

AT&T Workers, You Are Not Alone! Strike Flyer Handout

Industrial Workers of the World - Fri, 2017-05-19 17:18

If you are reading this then over 40,000 CWA union members have walked off their jobs as part of a three day strike against AT&T. The strike at the telecommunications giant is just one of the latest in a string of strikes by workers in the industry that have all pushed back against attacks on wages, health care, job outsourcing, and corporate globalization.

Despite tough talk from both major capitalist parties and Trump in particular, since the economic meltdown of 2008, the only thing that has changed is that billions of dollars have moved out of the hands of poor and working-class people and into the hands of the billionaires – who are now running the government.

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Categories: IWW Sites
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