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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Montpelier GMB

Industrial Workers of the World - Montpelier GMB

Montpelier IWW


Welcome Back, Wobblies: Barre’s Old Labor Hall Celebrates the Past

Sat, 30 Jul 2005 05:53:00 +0000

By Shay Totten | Vermont Guardian

posted July 29, 2005

Vermont, the home of Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. That’s the history many schoolkids learn year after year, and it’s one that is often invoked by politicians, thinkers, and op-ed writers.

Yet, there is a separate, but distinct, history more than a century after the Allen boys that took shape in and around the granite quarries of Barre — the Italian socialist and anarchist granite workers who were not only unionized, but upon whose backs were spawned Vermont’s major export products.

At the center of this history is Barre’s Old Labor Hall, which sits squarely in what was known as the “Socialist Block.” An illustration of the spirit of the era is best captured in a preserved photograph, which shows a crowd of people inside the hall flanked by wall portraits of Karl Marx. During its heyday, people gathered to eat, dance, and hear the renowned speakers of the day — Samuel Gompers, Eugene Debs, Mother Jones, Emma Goldman, and Joseph Etter, to name a few.

The union members during the early 1900s were not only civic minded, but politically motivated.

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New Montpelier Union Says it's Setting Up Shop

Wed, 20 Jul 2005 08:25:00 +0000

By Sky Barsch - Barre Montpelier Times-Argus, July 20, 2005


Disclaimer - The following article is reposted here because it covers an IWW campaign.  The views of the author and the publisher do not necessarily agree with those of the IWW and vice versa. 

MONTPELIER — Several members of the now-defunct Montpelier Downtown Workers' Union are reorganizing under a new name and are affiliating with a new union.

Some 25 to 30 Montpelier workers who were formerly members of the Montpelier Downtown Workers' Union, which was affiliated with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, are resurrecting themselves as a branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, according to a written statement from the newly named Montpelier Workers Union.

The Montpelier Downtown Workers Union was an effort to organize the capital city's retail and food-service workers. It officially called it quits earlier this summer, blaming high turnover and strong employer resistance as the reasons.

Montpelier Workers Union Steward Diana Duke, who works at Champlain Farms, said she hopes the new union will have 50 members and new contracts signed with shops by the first snowfall. She declined to say what stores the union had targeted for contracts. She said "pretty extravagant things" would be happening soon.

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Montpelier Workers Join IWW

Wed, 20 Jul 2005 08:04:00 +0000

(image) Montpelier, July 18 - Dozens of Montpelier workers, formerly members of the MDWU (UE Local 221) are reorganizing their union into an Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Local. Our union will now be organizing workers not only in the downtown, but also throughout the capital region. To reflect this expansion of our organizing scope, our union will now be known as the "Montpelier Workers Union." This union is no longer affiliated with the United Electrical Workers or the Vermont Workers' Center.

Our decision to merge with the IWW is based in part by the fact that this union has been organizing similar geographic unions throughout the continent for the past three years. In Philadelphia, the South Street Workers Union claims hundreds of supporters, and dues paying members in a many different city shops. In Wisconsin the Madison Downtown Workers Union is currently organizing across the city much like in Montpelier. We look forward to being in the same international labor union as these like-minded organizations. We intend on learning from each other, and therefore emerging as a strong and united voice of working people throughout Vermont, the U.S. and beyond.

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Why Montpelier's Downtown Union Drive Ended

Tue, 19 Jul 2005 02:40:00 +0000

By James Haslam - The Barre - Montpelier Times Argus, July 15, 2005

Disclaimer - The following article is reposted here out of solidarity for the rank & file workers described herein.  Their views, the views of the author, and the views of the publisher do not necessarily agree with those of the IWW and vice versa. 

For several years, there was a steady flow of calls to the Workers' Center'sWorkers Rights Hotline from workers in downtown Montpelier. All kinds ofworkers in all kinds of workplaces had complaints and questions about beingtreated unfairly at work. Unfortunately, as many people know from firsthandexperience, it's often difficult or impossible for one individual worker tosolve problems on the job. Workers have very few individual rights, under ourlabor laws.

In June of 2003 the Vermont Workers' Center - Jobs With Justice began partneringwith United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE) to pioneer aninnovative response. Jointly we committed ourselves to help workers inMontpelier learn about collective action and organize a citywide union.Immediately there was a lot of interest amongst workers, people working inshops, markets, theaters, restaurants, and bars. And now -- after almost twoyears of struggle -- this month the UE and Workers' Center decided to end theDowntown Union campaign.

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