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Industrial Workers of the World - Recyclers


Berkeley Ecology Center battles their workers over the “oldest existing IWW contract in the known universe”

Sun, 20 Jan 2013 20:44:36 +0000

(image) Beyond Chron (January 15, 2013)

Marc Norton Online

Brothers and sisters from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) put in a lot of legwork on the Hotel Frank picket line, so it was only natural that I responded to their call to join an IWW picket line at the Berkeley Ecology Center last Thursday, January 10.  The Ecology Center brags on its website that they “provide good, green-collar jobs.”  Try telling that to the thirty workers and supporters who were on the picket line last Thursday.

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IWW iu670 Curbside Recyclers in Berkeley Demand "No Concessions!"

Wed, 09 Jan 2013 02:12:12 +0000

For Immediate Release: Contact Bay Area IWW (510) 845-0540

Fellow Workers and Supporters of the IWW and the working class: Negotiations for a new contract with the Ecology Center are not going at all well. Their latest proposal includes a worse Kaiser plan, making the workers pay for part of the premium, no raise after the first year of the contract, and a reduction in what the employer pays into the workers' annuity plan. Workers are saying that all they've been getting in recent contracts are cuts and where will it all end?

The Ecology Center is openly saying that they expect "more work for less pay." A strike on Feb. 1 remains possible. We are organizing a protest rally at the work place for this Thursday at noon. The rally will be held at the corner of Second and Gillman Streets, in Berkeley (near the Gilman Street exit off of Eastshore Freeway / I-80 & 580) where it will be more visible. We urge all supporters to attend and to bring friends.

The IWW has had a union contract with the Ecology Center since 1989.

IWW Shops Hold May Day Rally

Fri, 04 May 2012 15:30:22 +0000

(image) By John Reimann

The boss was sweating bullets. The IWW was in the house, his workers were about to stop work for May Day, and he wasn’t happy about it at all. But there was nothing he could do about it since all his workers were IWW members and they support the union. This was at Buy Back recycling in Berkeley, which functions under an IWW contract as does Curbside Pickups, the work place next door, whose workers were also about to stop work for May Day, 2012.

IWW organizers and union members on the job had been organizing a stop-work rally for the previous two weeks and here it was.

Workers from both work places stopped work for about an hour to celebrate International Workers Day in a work place rally. Most of those who spoke were the Curbside and Buy Back workers themselves, and they spoke about the conditions of their jobs and the attacks on their health benefits and other such concerns. A worker at Curbside had recently had a very serious injury (which resulted in having to have a foot amputated). Several Curbside workers commented on this and the belief that the long hours of overtime may well have been related to this, because when workers are tired accidents are more likely to happen. There were several speakers from outside the work place including Boots Riley, the revolutionary Oakland rap artist, who spoke among other things about his experiences with workers in Italy. Other fellow workers spoke on a number of issues including the history of May Day, issues for grocery workers, and on privatization and the union busting in the Oakland public school system. One noteworthy message of greeting was read from a representative of the Pakistan Labor Party. The message referred to some of the strikes in Pakistan recently and concluded by calling for the workers of the world to unite. The rally concluded with a speech from a fellow worker who called for revolution (and got a good hand of applause for that).

We all gathered round for a group photo taken by one of our members. The executive director of the Curbside operation just “happened” to be on hand and came running over, a big s___t-eating grin spread over his face. He offered to take the photo for us so that we could all be in the photo at once. We sent him packing.

It was the perfect end to a great event. We started the event by making one boss sweat. We ended it by telling another to get lost. What better way to celebrate International Workers Day?

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Open Letter to Ecology Center Board of Directors from the Bay Area IWW

Tue, 07 Sep 2010 07:56:42 +0000

To the Board of Directors of the Ecology Center []:

As you are aware, the Industrial Workers of the World represents the workers at Curbside Recycling, which the Ecology Center operates. Over recent years, we have seen a pattern of behavior of your management team that betrays a strong anti-union attitude and borders on outright union busting.

  • During negotiations for a new contract in December of 2007, your negotiation team sought to remove from the contract the clause that permits our members to refuse to cross a picket line. In other words, they sought the power to try to turn our members into strike breakers.
  • During the negotiations for a new contract in December of 2008, Ecology Center management held a captive audience meeting with our members. This meeting, intentionally called without informing the union representatives, was an attempt to treat the Union as an unwanted "third party". This is a standard method of professional union busters.

At present, the IWW is filing for arbitration on behalf of one of its members. We are forced to do so due to flagrant violation of the contract by the Ecology Center management. This violation concerns the disciplining of one of our members.

  • Ecology Center management decided this member was guilty before they even held a hearing with him to hear his explanation of events.
  • Ecology Center management illegally demoted this member, in violation of the contract, thus saving themselves $7.50 per hour for every hour this member works.
  • During the mediation step, the Ecology Center management once again made statements implying that the Union was some outside force, a "third party".

There are several different avenues that arbitration can take. The Ecology Center management has insisted on taking the most expensive avenue, knowing full well that the IWW is a small union that does not have a large treasury. While we are willing to fight the full length for our members, meaning that we will spend what is necessary, this tactic of the Ecology Center management is not lost upon us, especially in light of their previous actions. Meanwhile, the Ecology Center management team parades behind their "green" and "community oriented" banner while they trample on the rights of their workers and carry on what can only be described as an anti-union policy.

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Bay Area IWW Labor Protest - Recylcing Workers say "NO!" to management's proposed cuts! - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 18:48:21 +0000

(image) The IWW is engaged in contract discussions with the Ecology Center, which runs Curbside Recycling - the outfit that picks up recyclable trash in Berkeley. They have presented a series of demands for draconian cut backs.

This includes demanding that the workers pay 20% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. Their position is that everywhere else such cuts are being instituted and they have to do the same. Our position is that these cuts have to be stopped somewhere, or, to paraphrase Harry Truman, "the cuts stop here." At the same time, Buyback - the recycling yard that is on the same property as Curbside and also under IWW contract - has announced that they will be laying off a worker, a first there.

The IWW is holding a "safety meeting" rally to protest these twin events. This will be in their yard at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. The yard is on 2nd Street, just north of Gillman in north Berkeley (near the freeway).

We are urging all  union members and supporters, students and community members to participate.

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Bay Area IWW iu670 Organizing Committee Urges: Bail out the Public Sector!

Wed, 28 Jan 2009 07:08:57 +0000

Practically every state, county and city in the country is in fi nancial crisis and the plan is to make you pay for it. (for details see attached PDF)

This crisis is actually getting worse, and all these projected defi cits will probably continue to increase. If allowed to pass, these cuts will only get worse. Other cities in the area and most states in the country face similar or worse deficits.

We do not have to be the victims! There is a solution!

Right now, the federal government has committed some $7 trillion to bail out banks, insurance companies and even the auto industry.

And many of these banks, they won’t even tell us, the taxpayers, how they are spending that money. This is our money and we have every right to say how it gets spent!

If the federal government can bail out Corporate America, then they can bail out “public America”. The unions should all get together and call mass public meetings to organize a campaign to demand that federal bail-out money be used to eliminate the budget defi cits of our cities, counties and states.

  • No cuts in services, public jobs or pay of public workers and retirees
  • Use federal bail out money to make up the budget shortfalls

Who we are:

The Industrial Workers of the World is a union that currently represents several different workforces. We have a long, revolutionary tradition in American’s labor movement. We do not seek to compromise the interests of workers to benefit the employers. We want to work with the rest of the unions and with all workers’ organizations to launch this campaign:

IWW-Represented Workplaces:

  • Buyback Recycling (Berkeley)
  • Curbside Pickup (Berkeley)
  • Shattuck Cinema (Berkeley)
  • Stonemountain & Daughter retailer (Berkeley)

The IWW is also conducting a nation-wide organizing campaign at Starbucks, as well as other organizing drives nationally.

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Berkeley IWW Recycling Workers Unite in Solidarity to Win Better Contracts

Wed, 06 Feb 2008 20:56:49 +0000

By M.K. and other members of the Bay Area Utility Service Workers iu670 industrial organizing committee.

(image) The contract negotiations between the Bay Area IU 670 Recycling Workers Union and the two Berkeley Recycling Companies has been a challenging struggle, but workers have stepped up to fight for tremendous improvements. The Bay Area IWW represents drivers at The Ecology Center who do residential curbside pickup, and workers at The Community Conversation Center yard who sort and process recycling materials. Both workers have been waging shopfloor struggles to resolve grievances and improve their working conditions. With both contracts coming up for negotiations, workers stepped up the fight.

The drivers met several times both at work and outside of work to draft an ambitious list of roughly 15 demands including an across the board wage hike, increase in pension payments by the company, and a change to the current accident penalties. The existing agreement resulted in termination of any driver who was involved in three accidents incurring more than $1400 worth of damage. With the narrow winding streets of Berkeley and the increasing costs of small accidents like broken rear-view mirrors, we have seen several workers purposefully dropping down to a loader after two incidents. This has resulted in wage decreases of up to $10 per hour!

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