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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Pittsburgh GMB

Industrial Workers of the World - Pittsburgh GMB

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


Trailer Park Evicted to Make Room for Fracking

Mon, 09 Jul 2012 04:05:38 +0000

The following campaign involved members of the IWW and Earth First!

By Xian Chiang-Waren - Mother Jones June 22, 2012

When the 32 families of the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, found out that they were losing their homes to the state's latest fracking operation, the news didn't come from their landlord, or an eviction notice in the mail—they read about it in their morning paper.

The February 18 article, published in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, nonchalantly detailed the approval of three natural gas projects in Lycoming County, PA, including a water withdrawal station that would pipe millions of gallons of water from the Susquehanna River to fracking stations in the mountains further north. The article noted that an "added benefit" of the plans was "the removal of mobile homes," which were located in a potential flood plain.

Later that afternoon, Riverdale's landlord came by and confirmed what residents had already read in the paper: The property had been sold to Aqua America, a water company dedicated to fracking. The full magnitude of the blow came days later, when the eviction notices arrived, informing the residents that they had until May 1 to relocate so that work on the site could begin in June. Each family was offered $2,500 if they got off the property by April 1; $1,500 if they moved by May 1; and zero compensation after that. It wasn't nearly enough; lawyers for Riverdale residents later estimated that the cost of moving each trailer was, on average, between $8,000 to $10,000.

For communities on the Rust Belt, it's one of the oldest stories in the book: A new industry comes in and needs to build roadways or pipelines, and poor communities have to get out of its way. "This happens all the time in Pennsylvania," said Alex Lotorto, a Pennsylvania activist and delegate for the union group Industrial Workers of the World. "Industry comes in and uses our skilled labor. Then both government and industry end up abusing us because honestly, nobody even thinks about the people north of I-80."

But in Riverdale, something unexpected happened: People decided they weren't going to go quietly.

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Stained Uniforms

Thu, 30 Mar 2006 20:52:00 +0000

Disclaimer - The following article is reposted here because it is an issue with some relevance to the IWW. The views of the author do not necessarily agree with those of the IWW and vice versa.
By David Zirin, DAVID ZIRIN is the author of "What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States." - Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2006.
(image) WILL Major League Baseball be more resistant to change than apartheid South Africa?"

That's the question posed by Dennis Brutus, a former leading fighter against apartheid who is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance. The group is pressuring the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team to lead a major league campaign to improve the working conditions of those who stitch and sew uniforms and caps.

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New Mexico Labor Needs a General Strike Against Poverty

Mon, 03 Oct 2005 20:28:00 +0000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 28, 2005

SUBJECT: Advance copy of op-ed piece to local NM press

TITLE: NM Labor Needs a General Strike Against Poverty.

Dear Editor,

(image) Recently a statewide labor leader said that "New Mexico should increase its state minimum wage to $7.15 an hour to help reduce poverty and benefit working families struggling in low-wage jobs."  But while New Mexico's mis-organized labor unions insult the working class with a fantasy campaign to legislate a $2/hr increase to the minimum wage, real-life economics dictate that today's minimum wage should be at least $12.

While the "Left" in New Mexico whip up another superficial political fix to deep seated socio-economic, cultural, and racial issues of poverty (re: the new minimum wage campaign), there is little evidence that much will be done to address and overcome the structural reasons for New Mexico's embarrassing poverty rate.

In a state and nation of great wealth, the existence of poverty is a crime against humanity.  It reflects our material and moral priorities, not to mention the inability of our so-called "progressive" social institutions to wage a real "war on poverty."

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The True Cost of Coal

Wed, 29 Jun 2005 06:28:26 +0000

By Geoffrey Frost - Industrial Worker, June 2005. 

Several Wobblies in Pittsburgh and in Appalachia are working to support Mountain Justice Summer. Mountain Justice Summer is a campaign to stop Mountaintop Removal (MTR) mining, an environmentally devastating mining practice.

Mountaintop removal is what it sounds like: coal companies blast off the tops of mountains to get at thin seams of coal that are hauled off to fire the power plants. MTR is how the power companies provide "cheap" energy to the rest of the United States. Of course, it doesn't really come cheap. Mountaintop removal is the neoliberal vision fulfilled: a handful of poorly paid, non-union workers destroying one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth to fuel power plants that spew out yet more pollution upon the usually poor working-class communities around them, all the while stoking the furnace of global warming that causes the deaths of thousands upon thousands of working people each year and is only growing worse.

This is the cheap energy that dooms our children to asthma, mercury poisoning, and perhaps no future at all. This is the "cheap" energy demanded by our government.s financiers to fuel their uninhibited accumulation of wealth at the expense of all else.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Sweat through ALL STAR 2005

Mon, 27 Jun 2005 03:05:31 +0000

No Sweatshops Bucco! Takes the Night Train to Ft Wayne at the end of July

By Kenneth Miller

Members of the Pittsburgh Anti Sweatshop Community Alliance are pleased to announce the content of a 2-hour meeting with the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club on April 11, 2005. Michelle Gaffey, Celeste Taylor and Kenneth Miller represented PASCA. The Pittsburgh Pirates, significantly, brought their Director of Merchandising -- Joe B., the person who knows the most about licensing agreements and promotional items, to the table. We discussed the urgent need to identify exactly who the workers that make Pirate gear are and what their rights are. We presented the testimony of workers who make Gildan Activewear in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti. We presented the testimony of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity that visited Pittsburgh on October 16, 2004. The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to do many things in advance of a follow up meeting but have so far refused to meet with us again.

Individuals and organizations can be a part of PASCA bargaining by contacting the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club, demand a report from the April 11 meeting with PASCA and join us at the table when we meet again. Stop by TMC for sets of the 4th Edition Major League Sweatshop Baseball Cards, educate yourself and others about the struggle of workers in the Global Apparel Industry. A SweatFree Baseball Campaign website is graciously hosted by the Industrial Workers of the World.  You can learn about our strategies and Major League Sweatshop Education at

Some of the activities of the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance are unique in the anti sweatshop movement. Our success requires that we bring in knowledge and information from many different sources. Members of this Pittsburgh community have been very generous by helping to make this possible.

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