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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Washington DC GMB

Industrial Workers of the World - Washington DC GMB


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

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 00:29:20 +0000

By Cal - DC IWW, July 30, 2017

(image) 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!

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 00:22:45 +0000

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

Thu, 25 May 2017 23:59:00 +0000

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. read more[...]

Sign Onto Statement of Solidarity With J20 Defendants

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:14:42 +0000

By anonymous - It's Going Down, April 26, 2017

(image) The following statement was drafted by supporters of those arrested at Inauguration protests in DC on January 20th, with the intent of providing a public platform for organizations around North America to express their collective opposition to these charges. The list of signees will be posted and continually updated at and several other sites. To have your group or crew sign on, send an email to

Statement of Solidarity with #DisruptJ20 Defendants

On January 20, 2017, tens of thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. for the #disruptJ20 protests to oppose the inauguration of Donald Trump. A combination of blockades, marches, and festive demonstrations shattered the spectacle of a peaceful transition of power, and made it clear around the world that people do not recognize Trump’s authority. What could have been a day signaling resignation and defeat became a moment of defiance and resistance. As such, the protests on J20 set a tone and precedent for the events that unfolded shortly after, including the notably successful, mass direct actions at airports against Trump’s Muslim ban, as well as ongoing resistance to deportations. While Trump and his alt-right foot soldiers have encountered few meaningful obstacles from liberal politicians in the halls of power, grassroots resistance has continued to prove a substantial force.

Unfortunately, however, with resistance comes repression. In addition to shooting pepper spray and concussion grenades indiscriminately at protesters, including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, DC police cordoned off an entire block and mass arrested more than 230 people in an attempt to stop an anti-capitalist and anti-fascist march. While mass arrests are not unheard of, in this case arrestees are each being charged with felony riot, a charge that potentially carries ten years in prison.

With these heightened charges the state is trying to set a precedent for harsh crackdowns of disruptive protest in the future, so that Trump can proceed with his agenda unimpeded by anything but symbolic hand-wringing. This strategy corresponds with a broader wave of repression and reaction, from the arrests and grand jury investigations of Indigenous water protectors at #StandingRock to backlash against #BlackLivesMatter and black-led uprisings against police. The arrests at J20 also inform local strategies for repression, including anti-protest laws that have been proposed in 18 different state legislatures, which further criminalize commonly used tactics like highway takeovers and in some cases make it legal for drivers to knowingly hit protesters marching in roadways.

The charges against J20 defendants are an experiment. If the courts are able to successfully prosecute those arrested at J20, this will send a green light to the forces of repression seeking to contain, control, and eliminate social movements around the country. Just as all of our struggles are connected, we understand these arrests to represent a real threat to all efforts towards true freedom, dignity, and autonomy. We call for the immediate dropping of all charges, and express our sincere solidarity with and support for those arrested, and encourage others to do so as well.


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IWW blockades Street in front of Whole Foods Demanding Reinstatement for Worker

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 01:16:46 +0000

By DC Direct Action News - It's Going Down, January 14, 2017

(image) Julia Flores is a 15 year employee of the P St Whole Foods who was fired from her job for organizing workers and informing them about such laws as the minimum wage. On the 13th of January, the IWW escalated the campaign demanding her job back by blocking the streets in front of another Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom.

Whole Foods is trying to claim that Julia stole an item worth less than $10 after working there for 15 years. Nobody is believing this spurious claim, but this is how Whole Foods is attempting to stave off legal proceedings for violating labor laws. Firing workers for attempting to organize a union is illegal but a common practice, employers always make up some other reason for firing and dare workers to prove otherwise in court.

In addition to the legal proceedings, the IWW is holding Whole Foods accountable to the public with actions like the Jan 13 street blockade and picket that educate the public, drive away business, and create public relations problems with the surrounding neighborhood. There is a strong probability that Whole Foods will be hearing from other businesses in the area whose customers had trouble getting to them.

Activists from DC Stampede (an animal rights group) joined the IWW in this protest as a solidarity matter. Whole Foods has come to the attention of DC Stampede and Direct Action Everywhere (XDXE) in the past for ripping off their customers with meat alleged to be “cruelty-free” that was proven by a video to be from ordinary factory farms. Still earlier, the P st Whole Foods (the one that fired Juilia) played a role in the gentrification of Shaw. They were the first grocery store in that area to keep dumpsters locked up and use compactors. They absolutely refused to give a single scrap of discarded food to homeless service organizations in that time period (circa 2007). Finally. anarchists raided the P st Whole Foods during the October Rebellion (fall 2007 IMF protests), expropriated a large amount of food, and served it to the needy. In short, Whole Foods should be considered a repeat offender, a “frequent flier” for social justice campaigns.

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IWW Picket outside of Dupont Circle Starbucks

Tue, 01 Jan 2008 21:00:26 +0000

(image) On Friday, December 21st, around a dozen area IWW members, overwhelmingly Starbucks Baristas, gathered outside of 1 of around 4 Dupont Circle Starbucks, braving the harsh winter elements in favor of abolishing the wage system. Their mission: reveal the Starbucks PR facade for what it is. Starbucks talks the social responsibility talk but they employ fewer with healthcare than even Walmart, so often the target of liberal scorn. A union members words are pertinent:

"I'm a mother of four and my Starbucks wage puts me well below the poverty line,"

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