IWW Sites

Burgerville Workers Union Wins Second Victory

Industrial Workers of the World - Tue, 2018-05-15 20:50

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, May 14, 2018

The following statement was released yesterday from the Burgerville Workers Union, after another store successfully won union recognition. The BVWU is the first officially recognized fast food union in the United States and is a part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Today Burgerville workers once again voted overwhelmingly in favor of the BVWU, this time at the Gladstone location. This is the second NLRB election the BVWU has won in a month. The first, at 92nd and Powell, made us the only fast food union in the country, and this one demonstrates the momentum the BVWU has going into contract negotiations.

Gladstone workers in particular deserve extra celebration for their win today. Despite the friendly attitude Burgerville has taken in the press about being willing to work with the union, Gladstone workers didn’t see anything close to friendliness on the shop floor. During the election, despite all their words of openness and cooperation, Burgerville was up to its old tricks: retaliation, intimidation, even straight up lying. Gladstone workers faced down all of that and STILL won a major victory for the union. Standing up to your boss like that takes bravery and every one of them deserves applause.

The win at 92nd wasn’t the end of the fight, and neither is this win at Gladstone. The fight won’t be over until Burgerville stops paying us poverty wages, stops threatening undocumented immigrants through their use of e-verify, and stops treating us like we’re disposable. We demand respect, and we won’t stop until we get it. Gladstone is an important step in that journey.

Remember too that the boycott is on until the company signs a fair contract. They’re not off the hook yet.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Burgerville Workers Union Becomes First Formally Recognized Fast Food Union in the US

Industrial Workers of the World - Mon, 2018-04-30 14:45

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, April 24, 2018

Burgerville Workers Union has won a union election in one location, meaning that the company will be forced to negotiate a contract with the workers. Other stores are expected to soon come on board. BVWU, a part of the IWW, also becomes the first fast food chain in the US to be unionized.

We won the election. We did it. We made history.

Today workers at 92nd and Powell overwhelmingly voted yes, making the Burgerville Workers Union the only formally recognized fast food union in the country. For a long time people have dismissed fast food as unorganizable, saying that turnover is too high, or the workers are too spread out. Today Burgerville workers proved them wrong.

The fight isn’t over, of course. We still need to bargain a fair contract with Burgerville, and until then the boycott still stands. And we need to remember what got us to this point: workers taking action for themselves, standing up against poverty wages and horrible conditions. We got here because of the strike, union benefits, pickets, and marches on the boss. We got here through direct action, and that won’t change now that we’ve won an election. If anything it’s even more important.

In this moment of victory we want to celebrate, yes, but we also want to turn our attention to the 4.5 million other fast food workers in the United States. We want to speak to everyone else who works for poverty wages, who are constantly disrespected on the job, who are told they aren’t educated enough, aren’t experienced enough, aren’t good enough for a decent life. To all of those workers, to everyone like us who works rough jobs for terrible pay, we say this:

Don’t listen to that bullshit. Burgerville workers didn’t, and look at us now.

Because our win today isn’t just about Burgerville. It’s about history. It’s about a movement of workers who know that a better world is possible, and that together they can make that world real.

Today we became the only recognized fast food union in the country. But we won’t be the only one for long.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Spring 2018 (May Day) Industrial Worker

Industrial Workers of the World - Mon, 2018-04-30 14:24

May Day!

Long a celebration of renewal, as Spring shows its stuff with abundance in Nature, May 1 was the perfect day for workers to come out in their numbers, celebrating their unity and strength in demanding the eight-hour workday and safe working conditions. It took anarchists and socialists to stand up to the money men and demand what simply should have been a right of Nature, which knows how to take a good rest to gear up for astonishing productivity.

There's a third meaning to "Mayday," but it's just as appropriate to our movement as the connection to Nature is to dignity for all workers. We've heard it in countless war movies: "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" It has to be said three times to work, just like Dorothy's clicking her heels to "There's no place like home!" and "Oyez, oyez, oyez!" (Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye!) to call a court to order.

"M'aidez, m'aidez, m'aidez!" It means "Help me." That's what Wobblies do. It's solidarity, Fellow Workers!

Download a Free PDF of this issue!

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Categories: IWW Sites

Rest in Power Stephon "Zoe" Clark

Industrial Workers of the World - Fri, 2018-03-30 18:53

Members of the Sacramento IWW write this letter with solemn condolences to the family and friends of Stephon "Zoe" Clark.

On March 18th, Sacramento Police Department officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet shot ten bullets each, killing the 22-year-old father of two. He was the seventeenth person killed by Sacramento-area police in the last two years. In the wake of this tragedy, a routine that we know all too well has played out: police chief, Daniel Hahn, has called for calm as his department "gathers more facts" about the incident; city mayor Darrell Steinberg voiced his initial "full support" of the involved officers; and local newspaper Sacramento Bee has called for "calm" while glorifying the police, going so far as to ask "what's a cop to do?" when faced with explosive community accountability.

That accountability comes in the form of rolling demonstrations led primarily by Black folks and supported by a wide swathe of Sacramento residents who refuse to accept another police execution of a Black person as "business as usual". Beginning on March 22nd, thousands of demonstrators pushed riot police from intrusion on a highway takeover and shut down access to the Sacramento Kings' home game. Community members have since squared off with police into the early hours of the morning; hosted a benefit music and arts night to fund raise for Zoe's family and funeral services; disrupted a city council meeting; prevented access to a second Kings' home game; and faced off with riot police after taking an unsanctioned march from District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert's downtown office.

The current moment in Sacramento emerges from both spontaneous social anger and years of community organizing by many groups. In particular, protests focused on the Golden 1 Center demonstrate an understanding of the connections between ways that Sacramento government and business prioritize money at the expense of Black and poor lives. In addition to direct police violence, this includes ongoing "urban renewal and renovation" targeted at raising property values, eliminating mom-and-pop stores and their owners, creating a playground for a growing segment of Silicon Valley tech executives out-priced of Bay Area living, and pushing specifically workers and people of color, to the city's furthest limits. Protesters recognize city officials' complicity and active efforts to bring in more capital to swell its coffers, while leaving larger and larger numbers of its residents houseless. Police officers' protection of the Sacramento Kings' arena crystallizes the direct connection between the state and capitalists through its protection of publicly-financed private property and revenue accrual.

Stephon Clark will be laid to rest today but it does not mean that we should. Members of the Sacramento IWW write this statement in full support of the ongoing efforts taken by community members and call for their expansion. Revolutionary activity begins in the streets but ends in a new society. That end goal—a world which dismantles structural racism in all of its forms and eliminates wage slavery as the primary way to survive—requires expanding this momentum to all corners and crevices of the city.

Ways to expand the uprising include:

  • Talking to coworkers about actions of solidarity, like sympathy strikes or slowdowns
  • Talking with your neighbors about SacPD's actions and hosting fundraising block parties
  • Talking to your coworkers and neighbors about instances of racial and other forms of discrimination by managers, bosses, and landlords and developing ideas on how to fight back collectively
  • Organizing and conducting research to document the connections between city officials and businesses
  • Continuing protest of and strategizing against police violence and prisons, including immigrant detention
  • Working with friends on ways we can support each other without government or police-supporting institutions as intermediaries, like sharing food and resources, learning health care skills and supporting victims of domestic violence
  • Targeting other urban renewal projects that seek to turn the city's population into subservient, destitute, downtrodden workers, like Amazon Warehouses, with collective demonstrations
  • Sharing contact information with protest participants and organize strategy sessions

Actions taken by community members and workers offer a glimmer of a world in which social norms are disrupted, inverted, and we take brief control over the streets, state offices and meetings, and our lives. We can take more ground and control, but we must do it together.

Rest in power Zoe and all other victims of state- and capitalist-sanctioned violence in all of its forms.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

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IWW wins half-million dollar backpay settlement

Industrial Workers of the World - Wed, 2018-03-14 14:58

Stardust Family United, a solidarity union of the Industrial Workers of the World, has claimed a huge victory over the repressive owner of Ellen’s Stardust Diner (home of the world famous singing waitstaff), Ken Sturm.  In the largest settlement received by the IWW in recent history, Sturm has succumbed to the will of his workers and started payment of almost half a million dollars in back wages.

In September, just one week before a scheduled hearing to settle allegations of 19 Unfair Labor Practices, including illegal surveillance of employees engaged in protected concerted activity, the interrogation of employees regarding union activity, and the unlawful termination of thirty-one employees for organizing, Sturm reluctantly offered reinstatement to all thirty-one employees and agreed to cease harassment and surveillance of the union. Although the employer also agreed to pay back wages, it should come as no surprise that Sturm strung his former employees along for another four months, through the holiday season, before finally bowing to the power of the workers and starting payment of the $490,000 he owes them.

Stardust Family United was formed in 2016, in an effort to fight for the underserved employees of Ellen's Stardust Diner in their struggle against the unfair, unsafe, and unlawful labor practices of their employer. Blatant disregard for the workers' well-being ranged from ignoring pleas to fix dangerous equipment in the shop, resulting in multiple injuries on the job, to bullying tactics designed to shut down communication between employees. Undeterred, the members of SFU waged a struggle in the shop, in the streets, and in the courtroom. By refusing unsafe or unpaid work, the singing servers have dramatically improved conditions on the job. Through protests, pickets, and walkouts, they placed pressure on the boss to re-hire the illegally terminated workers. And despite Sturm's repeated attempts to break their spirit with shameful tactics, from hateful "anonymous" text messages to false allegations in a NY Post article, SFU has stood their ground every single time. And every single time, they've won.

With invaluable support from the One Big Union, SFU has been relentless in holding Sturm and his army of corrupt lawyers and dictatorial managers accountable for their actions. Now that back wages are being paid to those illegally terminated, an injustice has been righted.

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Portland, OR: Burgerville Singles Out One Worker for Retaliation Following Strike

Industrial Workers of the World - Wed, 2018-02-21 22:08

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 16, 2018

The following report from the Burgerville Workers Union states that management has come down against one pro-union worker of color since the end of the historic three day strike. To learn more about the strike, check out our audio report podcast here.

Burgerville chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day yesterday by retaliating against a union leader. Michelle, a worker at the Convention Center Burgerville who participated in our historic three day long strike, was just suspended by management for allegedly taking a chicken patty without permission.

Though retaliation against union members under trumped up “theft” accusations is a pattern at Burgerville, Michelle’s suspension demonstrates a particularly disturbing underside to that pattern. Along with Arsenio and Canaan, Michelle is the third pro-union worker of color to be fired by Convention Center management in as many weeks, a management which remains entirely white despite the diversity of the crew.

In the targeting of union members of color at the Convention Center, to put it bluntly, we see not only union busting but outright racism. These attacks on our jobs and our families by Burgerville corporate are not just against Burgerville workers, but rather against the rights and power of the Portland community as a whole.

The BVWU does not take this lightly. In addition to Arsenio, Canaan, and Michelle, two other pro-union workers at stores that went on strike have been fired or suspended for similar charges within the last few months. Though Burgerville claims to be an ethical, locally minded fast food company, their wages keep workers in poverty, and when those workers try to better their lives, they are threatened with firing.

In Michelle’s suspension, we see Burgerville perpetuating an atmosphere of fear and racism in order to fight the union, and we are currently in talks with our allies around Portland as well as our legal counsel as to how to best proceed. Please stay tuned – moments like these, when people’s jobs are on the line, are when we need our supporters the most.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Anarchist Union Reverses Firings at Port of Barcelona Through Militant Strike

Industrial Workers of the World - Sat, 2018-02-17 12:29

by IWW International Solidarity Commission

Dockworkers and members of the CNT, a revolutionary anarchist union in Spain, have won a complete victory after just 1 day on strike, forcing the company to rehire 3 workers it had attempted to fire.

"THIS IS HOW SOMEONE GETTING FIRED ENDS in the @portdebarcelona. Picture for the history books. Strike committee and fired workers (REINSTATED today) walk out with signed agreement." @cnt1910 @PortuariosCNT https://t.co/rKiKmExs71

— ellisonfitz (@EllisonFitz) February 16, 2018

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Audio Report: Burgerville Workers Union Finish Three Day Strike

Industrial Workers of the World - Wed, 2018-02-07 21:32

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 6, 2018

In this audio report, we talked to someone with the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU), which is a part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a revolutionary anti-capitalist union founded in 1905. The Burgerville campaign went public in 2016, and in the past several years, has launched a series of strikes, job actions, pickets, and various campaigns in the face of an ongoing anti-union crackdown.

In response to this repression, members of BVWU have built relationships with various local groups and unions, who have in turn brought people to walk pickets lines and often serve free hamburgers outside of Burgerville stores during various job actions. To learn more about this back story, check out our previous podcast interviews with BVWU members here and here.

In this interview, we specifically talk about the recent three day strike launched by BVWU, which grew to include four stores in total who were involved in the strike. Over the course of three days, IWW members picketed stores, encouraged customers not to pay patronage to the business across the city, held rallies which were joined in solidarity with other unions, and also announced the “Boycott Burgerville” campaign.

While certainly not the first or only large scale fast-food worker strike, the Burgerville campaign is historic, and represents the growing capacity of rank-n-file workers to self-organize and take action where they are to fight back against their bosses and conditions in a rapidly gentrifying city.

More Info: Burgerville Workers Union, Donate, and Boycott Burgerville

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Burgerville Strike Spreads to Four Stores as Three Day Strike Ends

Industrial Workers of the World - Wed, 2018-02-07 21:28

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 4, 2018

On Saturday, February 3rd, members of the Burgerville Workers Union, (BVWU), a part of the revolutionary anti-capitalist labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), announced that a third and fourth store had officially joined the strike. Meanwhile, Burgerville Workers Union members also announced a public boycott of the store as pickets continued over the weekend. On Sunday, the union announced that it was ending its three day strike and that on Monday, workers would be returning to work, however the struggle would continue.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Burgerville Strike Spreads Into Second Store, Pickets Continue

Industrial Workers of the World - Wed, 2018-02-07 21:19

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 4, 2018

Yesterday, fast food workers and members of the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU), a part of the revolutionary anti-capitalist union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), launched a strike at the Burgerville USA chain in Portland, Oregon. Today, they announced that the strike had spread to yet another store. Below are updates from the Burgerville Workers Union social media accounts. 

On February 2nd the union announced:

ANOTHER STRIKE! Today at 11:15 a.m. union workers at the 25th and Powell store delegated management and walked off the job on strike. Union members and supporters are out picketing the store now and have been providing pizza to Cleveland High School students and staff who’ve joined them on the picket lines! This is the second store to walk out in as many days, and wiith Convention Center workers on day two of their strike, this is now the largest strike in BVWU history! Convention Center workers: we got your back! Special thanks for the purple solidarity we received from SEIU 49! 

The Burgerville Workers Union has been hard at work for months now to empower workers and organize a strike. Yesterday, we got to see all those hours of hard work and planning come to fruition after the walkout and strike performed at the Convention Center location. Now is the time for Burgerville Corporate to hear what we’ve been trying to communicate for years. As workers, we deserve better.

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Categories: IWW Sites

Fast Food Workers in Portland Launch Strike at Burgerville

Industrial Workers of the World - Wed, 2018-02-07 21:12

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 1, 2018

In Portland, Oregon, fast food workers with Burgerville USA have walked off the job and launched a strike. In recent months, more Burgerville workers in a variety of stores have joined the union, the revolutionary anti-capitalist Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). What follows is a direct report and announcement on the strike from the Burgerville Workers Union. Follow their social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute updates, and be sure to check our past coverage of their struggle as well as their appearances on our podcast.

Workers at the Convention Center Burgerville just walked off the job, launching a strike and kickstarting the biggest weekend of action yet from the Burgerville Workers Union.

April will mark the BVWU’s second anniversary of going public. Since 2016, our demands have largely remained the same: fair wages, consistent scheduling, and affordable health care. We as a union have grown since then. We have found new ways to support each other, and we have won victories in the workplace that make the weight of our day to day lives easier to bear.

Despite all of this, however, Burgerville still refuses to negotiate with the union. The company continues to ignore the voices of its workers, prioritizing profits over the human needs of the workers who make those profits possible.

We are on strike today because no one deserves to live in poverty. Life in Portland only gets harder – rents go up, groceries get more expensive, and Burgerville wages stay unlivable.

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