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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Chicago GMB

Industrial Workers of the World - Chicago GMB

This is the news page for our Chicago General Membership Branch. To get an overview about our contact info, news and events, please visit our home page.


Help Needed for Chicago IWW Freshii Workers' Union Organizers! Donate Today!

Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:27:56 +0000

(image) By the IWW Freshii Workers Union

Last month, Freshii workers at 200 w Randolph in Chicago marched on their boss to demand the return of nearly $2,000 in stolen wages and union recognition. Of the two demands, the stolen wages were returned to the workers. While the fight for union recognition continues, Heather Sprigler has been illegally fired in retaliation for her role in the organizing efforts. Last week, Alison Olhava fell ill and her boss, Peter Irie, cut her hours from a normal 35 a week to a dismal 8. Peter has refused to meet with Alison and her IWW representatives to discuss this change in scheduling.

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31st Street Transit Co-operative

Sun, 26 Sep 2010 18:44:59 +0000

Originally posted here.

Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood has been without accessible bus service for over a decade. The CTA’s 31st st. bus route was eliminated as a ‘cost-cutting measure’ in 1998, leaving schools, businesses, and residents isolated from the city’s expansive transit network. The Little Village community, LVLHS, and the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization spent years mounting an unsuccessful campaign to reopen/expand the CTA’s 31st St. route; as of the recent cuts in bus service throughout Chicago, which have resulted in the loss of nine express routes and over 1,000 transit jobs, it has become clear that progress is impossible unless members of the community take control of their transit options.

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Greek Solidarity Demo in Chicago - 5/13/2010

Wed, 09 Jun 2010 19:32:08 +0000

Originally posted here


To friends and comrades in Greece,

On Thursday, May 13 a dozen of us held a demonstration against the Greek Consulate in Chicago. We want to remind you that even in the most difficult times, you have the active solidarity of uncounted others around the world. A vast subversive project is still taking shape everywhere, however slowly, and your struggle is one node among many.

Repression may be raging against you there, and our numbers here might be small, but the important thing to remember is that you've found your resonance. This resonance spreads around the world, laying foundations for real connections and the deepening of struggles.

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Fellow Worker Franklin Rosemont 1943-2009

Sat, 18 Apr 2009 05:13:34 +0000

(image) Franklin Rosemont, celebrated poet, artist, historian, street speaker, and surrealist activist, died Sunday, April 12 in Chicago.

He was 65 years old. With his partner and comrade, Penelope Rosemont, and lifelong friend Paul Garon, he co-founded the Chicago Surrealist Group, an enduring and adventuresome collection of characters that would make the city a center for the reemergence of that movement of artistic and political revolt. Over the course of the following four decades, Franklin and his Chicago comrades produced a body of work, of declarations, manifestos, poetry, collage, hidden histories, and other interventions that has, without doubt, inspired an entirely new generation of revolution in the service of the marvelous.

Franklin Rosemont was born in Chicago on October 2, 1943 to two of the area’s more significant rank-and-file labor activists, the printer Henry Rosemont and the jazz musician Sally Rosemont. Dropping out of Maywood schools after his third year of high school (and instead spending countless hours in the Art Institute of Chicago’s library learning about surrealism), he managed nonetheless to enter Roosevelt University in 1962. Already radicalized through family tradition, and his own investigation of political comics, the Freedom Rides, and the Cuban Revolution, Franklin was immediately drawn into the stormy student movement at Roosevelt.

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IWW Member Laid Off By Starbucks After Confronting CEO and Blogging About It - IWW Immediately Hits Starbucks with Legal Action

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 21:35:13 +0000

(image) Chicago, IL (03-19-2009)- The Starbucks Coffee Co. informed outspoken union member and barista, Joe Tessone, yesterday that it was laying him off, just two weeks after he confronted CEO Howard Schultz over the company's squeezing of employees.  Mr. Tessone's blog post on the encounter entitled, "Howard the Coward: The Day My Boss Ran Away" quickly became an Internet hit among fast food workers and their supporters (online at:

"When I heard Howard Schultz was in town, I knew had to get to the store and make my voice heard as a barista and union member," said Tessone, a 4-year veteran of the company with an excellent performance record. "He said he'd speak to me after his interview with the Wall Street Journal only to scurry through the emergency exit the first chance he got.  I told Schultz that it was time to dialogue with union baristas and that too many of us we're living in poverty but he showed nothing but cowardice."

Shortly after his exchange with Schultz, Tessone was ordered into a one-on-one meeting with a Starbucks Regional Director rather than the store manager who would normally administer discipline.  The director warned Tessone that he was out of compliance with Starbucks' new "Optimal Scheduling" policy which pries open baristas' availability to work without guaranteeing any work hours.  The problem with the director's rationale: Tessone's availability was indeed in complete compliance with Optimal Scheduling requirements which are laid out in a written policy.  The same rationale was erroneously deployed by Tessone's store manager yesterday when he was laid off.

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Howard the Coward: The Day My Boss Ran Away

Wed, 11 Mar 2009 06:01:43 +0000

by Joe Tessone

03/03/09- The time is 8:55 AM, 5 minutes before my alarm clock was supposed to sound I am awoken by a text message which says that Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO and #1 union buster, is having a press conference at the Oak and Rush Starbucks location. I jump out of bed, get dressed, and haul downtown. By the time I get there, the news cameras are gone. I look around and there he is sitting behind a merchandise wall in an interview with a few reporters. I order an Iced Tall Passion Tea… no need for caffeine, I’m fired up.

My old District Manager is in the cafe greeting customers and she asks me why I’m there. “Just getting a drink,” I respond. She then proceeds to make a call on her cell phone, obviously calling upper management. After I get my beverage, I find a seat, set my bag down, and I approach him.

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Interview with IWW Bike Messenger Ben Fietz

Thu, 05 Feb 2009 22:46:23 +0000

1.why did you decide to messenger?

I guess I decided to messenger for the same reason as most. I was living in New Orleans at the time, and was about to lose my job. One day I was hanging out downtown trying to figure out what to do with myself. A bike messenger cut through an intersection, and I thought to myself “that looks like a pretty cool job.” I went down to the only company that was hiring, and started working the next day.

2.when did you start? has the time been on/off or straight?

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Fri, 09 Jan 2009 06:50:07 +0000


90.1 FM  /  11AM - 12 NOON ( CENTRAL TIME )




WEFT 90.1 FM /

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Thu, 11 Dec 2008 23:23:19 +0000

Press Release from UE Local 1110, posted in solidarity by IWW members:

Workers Vote to Get Pay; Occupation Ends!

After 6 days occupying the plant, workers at Republic Window and Doors in Chicago voted to accept a settlement late on December 10th.

The settlement totals $1.75million. It will provide the workers with:

- Eight weeks of pay they are owed under the federal WARN Act;
- Two months of continued health coverage, and;
- Pay for all accrued and unused vacation.

JPMorgan Chase will provide $400,000 of the settlement, with the balance coming from Bank of America. Although the money will be provided as a loan to Republic Windows and Doors, it will go directly into a third-party fund whose sole purpose is to pay the workers what is owed them. In addition, the UE has started the "Window of Opportunity Fund" dedicated to re-opening the plant.

As the Local 1110 leaders characterized the settlement, "We fought to make them pay what they owe us, and we won." Read more about the settlement here.

We want to extend a big THANK YOU to all of you who participated in this campaign. The tremendous support and solidarity from the thousands of people like you around the country - and the world - who took the time to send messages to Bank of America and who rallied at banks across the country was crucial in winning this victory.

This is truly an historic victory for workers in the United States.

But this struggle is just the beginning! As the economic crisis deepens we need to launch a working class fight back. Rallies for a "People's Bailout" will continue today and throughout the rest of the week.

Click here to find an action near you (updated daily) You can also take action online:

- Tell Congress: We Demand a People's Bailout:
- Save Autoworker Jobs:
- VOTE NOW for Grinch of the Year:

Thanks again for all that you do! You can see photos, video, and press clips from the Week of Action here:

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Support Swells for Chicago Union Workers' Factory Occupation

Tue, 09 Dec 2008 20:39:35 +0000

(image) From Chicago Indymedia

The worker occupation of the Republic Windows and Doors factory on Chicago's Goose Island by members of UE (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America) Local 1110 went into its third day on Sunday, and workers have vowed to continue the occupation until they are paid back pay and benefits, or until the plant is re-opened.

The occupation was declared on Friday, the day the company moved to shutter the plant with only three days notice — in violation of federal and state labor laws. Owners have also cut off employees' insurance and failed to pay back pay. The takeover has sparked a groundswell of support across the nation, with rallies, e-mail campaigns, petition drives, fundraisers and plans for future actions. [ Updated news links ]

Company management blames the shut-down on Bank of America, which cut their credit line — after BoA received $25 billion in federal bailout money that the bank said they did not need. Since the bailout began, BoA — like big banks across the globe — has slashed credit lines to businesses, forcing a growing number of small and medium-sized companies to shut down. Workers plan to meet with company and bank representatives on Monday — and to picket BoA's LaSalle St. offices on Tuesday if Republic's line of credit is not restored.

The action at Republic Windows comes on the heels of a drive to kick out the company union, which had colluded with company owners and management for years. That effort succeeded after three years of struggle. Republic Windows' worker occupation is one of the first actions of its kind in the United States since the Great Depression, when a wave of sit-in strikes and factory occupations marked one of the most militant phases in U.S. labor history.

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