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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - News - All Departments and Unions

Industrial Workers of the World - News - All Departments and Unions



This is the news page for all IWW Departments and Unions. This page displays *all* news items from every Department and Union. To see news only from a particular Department, click on the Department title below.For an overview of the IWW's Union structure,



 



New York: Wobblies at Singing Restaurant Win Major Victory

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 23:28:38 +0000

By Stardust Family United - October 4, 2017 In a major victory for the singing servers at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, their employer has reached an agreement with their solidarity union, Stardust Family United, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). By entering into the settlement agreement, the company will narrowly avoid a trial on some 19 violations of the National Labor Relations Act, including 31 retaliatory firings. Under the terms of the agreement, all 31 employees terminated over the last year in retaliation for union activity have been offered immediate and full reinstatement, and will receive back pay from the time they were fired. Of the terminated employees, 13 will immediately return to work at the popular Midtown diner. In addition, the restaurant is required to mail official notices to all employees, informing them that the company will not violate federal law by engaging in certain unlawful practices such as surveilling and threatening workers, interfering with their use of social media, and discouraging them from taking action to improve working conditions. For the singing servers, this has been a long road. The union, which is a branch of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), initially went public in late summer of 2016. Weeks after making their efforts known to management, 16 active union members were fired. Over the fall and winter, the workers continued to engage in direct workplace action to improve health and safety conditions, as well as pursue other demands. Another mass firing in January 2017 brought the total of terminated singers up to 31. Despite this, Stardust Family United remained active, both inside and outside the restaurant. “I’m thrilled and proud to know our struggle and vigilance over the last year has paid off,” says returning employee Matthew Patterson. “I’m looking forward to returning and making a positive impact inside the diner.” #Stardustfamilyunited #IWW #Wobblies #SFU #Singingunion #Labormovement #Workersrights #Solidarity #Weareallstardust read more[...]



“Destroy All Prisons Tomorrow”: IWOC Responds to Jacobin

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:57:13 +0000

By IWOC - It's Going Down, September 11, 2017 The weekend of August 19 2017, amid the second nationwide inside/outside mass protest against prison slavery in as many years, Jacobin Magazine published an article against prison abolition entitled How to End Mass Incarceration by Roger Lancaster. Lancaster argued that returning to an ideal of puritan discipline and rehabilitation is more realistic than pursuing the abolition of prison entirely. Jacobin caught a lot of deserved flack from abolitionists on social media for it. Numerous scholars, organizers and journalists decried Lancaster’s article, creating such an online storm that Jacobin decided to publish a response article entitled What Abolitionists Do penned by Dan Berger, Mariame Kaba and David Stein. Unfortunately, this response fails to fully critique Lancaster’s arguments and instead sells other abolitionists out. Their thesis paragraph reads: Critics often dismiss prison abolition without a clear understanding of what it even is. Some on the Left, most recently Roger Lancaster in Jacobin, describe the goal of abolishing prisons as a fever-dream demand to destroy all prisons tomorrow. But Lancaster’s disregard for abolition appears based on a reading of a highly idiosyncratic and unrepresentative group of abolitionist thinkers and evinces little knowledge of decades of abolitionist organizing and its powerful impacts. The Lancaster article levies the typical straw-man critique of abolition as an unrealistic “heaven-on-earth” vision. He presents Michel Foucault’s vision of a carceral society from Discipline and Punish as an alternative aspiration and argues that “we should strive not for pie-in-the-sky imaginings but for working models already achieved in Scandinavian and other social democracies.” He accuses abolitionists of being “innocent of history” and “far out on a limb”  when comparing prison to chattel slavery. These arguments expose a poverty of Lancaster’s analysis, and they are easily refuted. The idea that the US could adopt a Scandinavian style prison system through simple public awareness campaigns is desperately naive to the history of racial capitalism on this continent. The idea that a Foucauldian carceral society could exist here without massive quantities of racially targeted violence and coercion is far more pie-in-the-sky than the abolitionist recognition that prison depends on and cannot function without abominable levels of dehumanization and torture. Lancaster is the one with a utopian vision divorced from history, his prisons without torture or slavery can only be imaged by someone who hasn’t honestly grappled with the history of the US as a settler colonial nation that has always been existentially dependent on putting chains on Black people. read more[...]



Incarcerated Workers #7

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:51:27 +0000

By IWOC - It's Going Down, September 11, 2017

(image) The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), organizes prisoners into unions and support organizing efforts of incarcerated people. Check out their latest newsletter below. 

Issue 7 includes an important announcement of IWOC’s restructuring, theory and strategy from incarcerated workers, exposés on conditions in the prison industrial complex and more.

read more




Portland, OR: Fast Food Workers at Burgerville Launch Strike on Labor Day

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 01:54:04 +0000

By Staff - It's Going Down, September 4, 2017

(image) Members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) launched a strike in Portland, Oregon at fast food chain Burgerville. The strike is the latest move by workers at the chain who have been organizing for months and demanding wage increases, an end to harassment for union activities, better schedules, and improvements of conditions. The group announced the strike on Labor Day with a statement on their Facebook page:

The very first Labor Day was a massive strike and parade organized by thousands of workers in New York City in 1882. The chance for millions and millions of people to spend time with family and community this Monday was made possible by power wielded time and time again by striking workers.

Ironically, we workers at Burgerville don’t get to enjoy this day dedicated to celebrating the power of workers. Working at Burgerville means we can’t take proper holidays, since doing so means taking a substantial pay cut or facing retaliation from management. Working at Burgerville means that we spend our holidays working for minimum wage just like any other day, fully aware of all the memories with friends and family we are missing out on.

That’s why we are going on strike today.

Instead of going to work for poverty wages while corporate bigshots take vacations, we are taking a stand. We are taking back Labor Day for our families, our friends, our coworkers, and ourselves. We are taking back Labor Day because we know that better pay, fair schedules, consistent hours, and healthier work environments have only ever been won by workers standing together and fighting for them.

We are the heart of Burgerville and we deserve a change!

The strike also takes place as fast food workers at McDonald’s in the UK are also on strike. Burgerville workers union writes:

McDonald’s workers at two shops in England voted to go on a strike on September 4. These workers are organized through the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), whose demands include wage increases and more consistent scheduling (Sound familiar?)

Immediately after the announcement of a strike, McDonald’s stated that by the end of 2017 they will implement a guaranteed hours contract to every McDonald’s worker in the UK. The BFAWU plans to carry on with their strike to push for their other demands and to hold McDonald’s to their word.

Victory to the strikers!

read more




Berkeley, CA: IWW Recycling Workers Walk Off Job Over Unpaid Wages

Sat, 26 Aug 2017 00:47:00 +0000

By the Bay Area IWW - It's Going Down, August 24, 2017

(image) Workers at Buyback, a recycling centre in Berkeley, have walked off the job this morning after the payment of their wages was delayed without explanation.

The workers, who are members of the Industrial Workers of the World, discovered at the start of their shift that none of them had received their scheduled payment for the previous fortnight’s work, which was due to come through earlier this morning.

This the third occasion this year that wages have not been paid on time – something that can cause extensive problems for the finances of workers and their families. After turning up at 8 AM this morning and being offered no explanation from management for the error, Buyback workers held a union meeting and voted 18-0 to immediately walk out.

Buyback workers have already struck twice this year – the first an unannounced half-day walkout during the February 16 ‘Day Without Immigrants,’ and the second a two-hour stoppage to hold a celebratory barbecue on May 1.

Workers have not yet returned to work and it’s unclear at this stage whether the action will continue into tomorrow.

read more




Official Endorsement of Voz: Workers’ Rights Education Project by the PDX IWW

Sat, 26 Aug 2017 00:03:57 +0000

Portland IWW - August 15, 2017

(image) The Portland IWW is proud to endorse Voz: Workers’ Rights Education Project. Founded in 2000, Voz has been connecting day laborers to work, supporting worker-led organizing, and offering trainings.

Voz is a worker-led organization that gives power to immigrant workers that may not otherwise have the means to organize and bargain for humane working conditions and fair wages. Having the ability to organize and fight for these universal goals gives immigrants the ability to work, to better empower and enrich their communities and lives.

The Voz: Workers Rights Education Project is currently campaigning for their Building The Dream campaign, petitioning the city of Portland for the rights to purchase the property at 240 NE Martin Luther King JR Blvd., to provide immigrant workers and day laborers with a place to meet potential employers, discuss the conditions of their labor, while having the choice to sell their labor to whomever they believe will give them the respect that they deserve.

As such, Voz requires support from community organizations to help them fight for these rights, and to show the city of Portland that the community stands with them and will help defend the exploited and under-privileged workers that move our city and society forward. The Portland Industrial Workers of the World has long worked alongside the VOZ: Workers Rights Education Project and firmly believes that day laborers – like all workers – should have secure sites from which to organize and direct their own labor.

read more




Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Supports Industrial Workers of the World

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 01:25:25 +0000

By X357058, X383824, X373817, X387362 - Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, August 7, 2017 May 24th – 29th CBTU International Convention – New Orleans: The recent work by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has caught the attention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), bringing their support to the effort to unionize incarcerated workers. At their recent convention in late May the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists voted to support the IWW in the struggle, growing the prisoner unionization movement that has, until now, been overlooked by trade unions. The CBTU brings with it support for the implementation of collective bargaining and a minimum wage for prisoners, which can be viewed as a step toward prison abolition in regards to near-slave labor which prisoners currently perform. Dee, an IWW member in prison, explains in an interview, “Labor unions can give prisoners more unity and more power to challenge the system that's exploiting prisoners as well as a structure to give prisoners power to resist collectively.The union has a role to play in building the sense of collective power, so that's why George Jackson thought prisoner unions were necessary,” Dee states. “The demands are many and varied based on conditions in different states and facilities, but take for example the demand for minimum wage, if they're forced to pay prisoners, and we can force their hand, it'll break down the prison system, because the prison system was not based on anything except exploitation of prisoners.” Prisoners are currently making between $0.90 and $2.00 per day. Furthermore, the prison population is largely comprised of People of Color currently (~ 66.7%), who make up only 36.3% of the US population. Within the IWW, the abolitionist oriented Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is on the cutting edge of the prison labor movement. CBTU’s support brings a newfound solidarity to the union, and substantially expands the support base of the union and its project. Brianna Peril, IWOC outside organizer, responded to the news: “This is really exciting. One of our strengths as a union is our ability to explain to other union members how important it is that we start recognizing prison slavery as a labor issue. Receiving support from the CBTU is a huge step toward this overarching goal that we had from the founding of IWOC.” Mark Maxey, an IWW member from Oklahoma says, “Within the IWW, members seek not only to organize the workplace, but also organize the working class. Whether they are currently employed or not. Many members view this approach as crucial to unions regaining relevance in a rapidly changing job market. The root cause is capitalism and its use of slavery, unemployment, underemployment, and human trafficking.  A remedy is to look outside traditional workplaces and outside the box creatively in aspects of the struggles of the working class.  This will lead to members of the working class who are jobless or completely alienated from their jobs seeing unions as an answer,” Maxey stated. This remedy could take the form of organizing tenant unions, anti-hate support, clean water coalitions, all sorts of different types of community self-defense networks inside the working class, and especially in the prisons. The CBTU, self-described as “the fiercely independent voice of black workers within the trade union movement, challenging organized labor to be more relevant to the needs and aspirations of Black and poor workers”, fits well with these ideals of IWW members. IWW proudly calls itself One Big Union. The work of IWOC, aided by CBTU, will ensure that it really is One Big Union. IWOC was formed in 2014 as a letter-writing program to speak directly to prisoners. Since then, it has already seen a successful National Prisoner Strike on September 9th, 2016[...]



Voices from Behind Wisconsin’s Prison Gates #3

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 00:49:10 +0000

By staff - Milwaukee IWW, August 8, 2017

(image) Download PDF Here

This is a newsletter for people incarcerated in Wisconsin, based as much as possible on what they are saying. It is edited and printed by the Milwaukee branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, (IWW) Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). Please write us back if you have updates you’d like to give to people on the inside and the outside. The more that people talk together the less isolated we are. We are in contact with networks of prisoners in areas inside and outside of Wisconsin, and can help build connections. Let us know if there are other people inside jails and prisons that we should contact.

Write to us at:
PO Box 342294,
Milwaukee, WI, 53234.

Our national hotline:
816-866-3808.

read more




Why Did the UAW Vote at Nissan Fail?

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 00:40:55 +0000

By Marianne Garneau - Black Rose Anarchist Federation, August 7, 2017 There’s been much attention over the reported loss of a UAW union election at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi on Friday, August 4th. Many see the organizing effort as part of a larger question of whether the US labor movement can organize in the historically unorganized and union-hostile South. New York City IWW organizer Marianne Garneau writes this brief commentary offering her assessment. The defeat of a UAW election bid at a Nissan plant in Mississippi got a tremendous amount of attention this week, particularly from the left. People seemed especially disheartened by the defeat, and almost at a loss for why things turned out so badly for the union. Sure enough, the internet produced all kinds of hot, world-historic takes explaining the outcome, a lot of them looking for some kind of exceptional circumstances here. Most zeroed in on the Southern context. Granted, the union defeat was unfortunate. And it is possible it could have gone another way – we shouldn’t think it was some inevitable outcome (there is way too much fatalism on the left these days). But the reasons why the UAW failed are perfectly legible, and none of them are novel. Everything about the loss – the union’s strategy, the company’s union-busting, the social and political context – was textbook. Why the UAW Vote at Nissan Failed 1. The company union-busted like crazy. And yes, union-busting includes things like playing on racial divisions and threatening people’s jobs (these are the sticks), and paying workers high salaries (the carrots). The bosses apparently built a tent outside the plant and met with every single worker on shift, including the ones who weren’t even eligible to vote in the election. That’s brilliant union-busting, but it’s to be expected. That’s why unions have a counterstrategy to that, called “inoculation,” where workers are prepared ahead of time for the boss’ rhetoric, and their sticks and carrots. 2. The union took a weak-ass, conservative, timid stance of mostly trying to keep the stuff the company was already giving workers and playing nice/reasonable with management. UAW has repeatedly said that it wants to work with companies to help their bottom line healthy, etc. That borrows directly from the boss’s logic that they are gifting workers a job and a wage, as opposed to workers generating all the profits the owners get to pocket. 3. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) played its usual role of “wot, us?” It slowly churned through its processes of listening to complaints from either side. I don’t even remember what the outcome was of its rulings (or if it ever got to them). But that’s how little that matters to the actual, bloody fight “on the shop floor.” 4. By the way, none of this has anything to do with “the south.” What is supposed to be unique here? The fact that other jobs in the area pay terribly? The fact that workers are divided along racial lines? The fact that union density is low? Those are exactly the same conditions that beleaguer workers, and organizing efforts, elsewhere. 5. And yeah, unfortunately, these workers, who presumably voted this way out of fear, and wanting to keep their jobs, will die on their knees as their wages get cut, their jobs get automated or outsourced, or they get replaced by lower-wage temps. You can’t “play nice” or compromise your way to better wages or conditions. Playing nice with the boss means they retain the power to control your wages and your working conditions. The only alternative is to amass real power on the shop floor – real power to disrupt the flow of profits – and control how the boss treats you. You c[...]



Burgerville Workers Union Marches Forward; Community Support and Solidarity Continue Growing

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 00:47:08 +0000

Pete Shaw - Portland Occupier, July 19, 2017 The shakes–blackberry, chocolate hazelnut, and pumpkin spice–come and go. So do the Walla Walla onion rings, waffle fries, and asparagus. But since April of last year, solidarity has always been in season at Burgerville. Since its formation 15 months ago, the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU)–which is supported by the Portland Industrial Workers of the World–has been organizing for better working conditions on the job, greater benefits, and higher wages. Fighting against a management that promotes the Burgerville corporation as one which supports family values, local farmers, and sustainable practices, but treats its workers no differently than people have come to expect from larger fast food chains such as McDonald’s, the Burgerville Workers Union has slowly but surely been gathering steam in its struggle. However, Burgerville management has so far refused to talk with the union. On Friday July 14, the BVWU took another small but significant step toward pushing Burgerville’s management to start negotiating with it. A crowd of over 100 people picketed outside the Burgerville on Southeast 92nd and Powell during the early evening, virtually shutting down business at the store. On a hot night when one of the raspberry shakes would have made a delightful treat, only a few customers crossed the picket line. At a rally just prior to establishing the line, Mark Medina of the BVWU told the gathered crowd, “We’re gonna shut down the shop for a couple of hours and make corporate know that workers care about benefits, about wages, and that they want Burgerville to negotiate with the union and respect the rights of workers here in Portland, Oregon. This is a union town. They should respect our rights to organize.” That lack of respect was given official imprimatur when on June 22 Burgerville agreed to pay $10,000 to settle charges brought against it by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that between August 1 and August 15, 2015 the company willfully “failed to provide a meal period of not less than 30 continuous minutes during which the employee is relieved of all duties and/or failed to provide timely meal periods to twenty-eight employees” as required by law. Another 16 employees were also denied their 30-minute work-free meal period during a two-week period in December, 2016. In addition to those charges, BOLI found that Burgerville was “employing minors under 18 in hazardous and permitted occupation” when two 17 year old employees operated a trash compactor which Oregon law has declared “hazardous and detrimental to to the health of employees under the age of 18.” All charges pertained to the Burgerville store on NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, near the Oregon Convention Center. Brandon Doyle, BVWU Shop Leader at the SE 92nd and Powell Burgerville, is one of many Burgerville workers who has seen the company’s scarce regard for workers up close and personal. A few months ago Doyle was feeling ill to the point of vomiting while on the job. Instead of allowing him to go home and rest–as well as not risk getting Burgerville customers sick–Doyle’s manager insisted he remain at work. Fortunately, Doyle and his fellow workers contacted fellow union members from other stores, who then contacted Doyle’s manager, eventually resulting in Doyle being allowed to leave and likely helping prevent the spread of what ailed him. They had his back, and Doyle now wants to return the favor. read more[...]