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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Chicago Couriers

Industrial Workers of the World - Chicago Couriers

Chicago Couriers


Interview with IWW Bike Messenger Ben Fietz

Thu, 05 Feb 2009 22:46:23 +0000

1.why did you decide to messenger?

I guess I decided to messenger for the same reason as most. I was living in New Orleans at the time, and was about to lose my job. One day I was hanging out downtown trying to figure out what to do with myself. A bike messenger cut through an intersection, and I thought to myself “that looks like a pretty cool job.” I went down to the only company that was hiring, and started working the next day.

2.when did you start? has the time been on/off or straight?

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Tragedy strikes the CCU

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 08:06:00 +0000

(image) It is with profound sadness that I write to tell you all that FW Ryan Boudreau (pictured, right, on the right), a bicycle messenger in the Chicago Couriers Union (IU 540), was killed on the job yesterday.  He was struck by a northbound truck at the intersection of 18th and S. Clark streets at about 3:15 yesterday afternoon.  The newspaper reports that it was ruled an accident by the police.

I don't have too many details yet, but the CCU Secretary wrote to tell me that he and several other CCU members and supporters are planning a general meeting Wednesday evening to plan actions surrounding Ryan's death and will hold a memorial ride.

FW Boudreau was a dedicated member of the IWW and the CCU and fought for an end to NICA and the anti-courier regulations at 135 S Lasalle.
We will keep the rest of you posted with information as it develops.

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Chicago Couriers Union takes action downtown, Part 1

Wed, 09 May 2007 08:57:00 +0000

(image) Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007 - At 11am, the Chicago Couriers Union (IWW, IU540) rolled up to 135 South LaSalle Street (between Monroe and Adams) with, signs, fliers, and union flags for a spirited 3-hour informational picket against the security policies of the building, which is managed by Jones Lang LaSalle. Last fall, union members had written letters and had over 100 bike messengers sign a petition, in hopes of having the policy changed and to have a messenger center installed, only to be given the run-around by building management.

In this and many other buildings downtown, messengers must endure humiliating and time-consuming security procedures to simply do their jobs: entering through a loading dock, leaving their bags (as if they're criminals), and waiting for a freight elevator (rather than just taking passenger elevators through the lobby), and often taking abuse from security guards. Forcing messengers into this mess can take 15-20 minutes, costs customers money, costs messengers money, results in a loss of productivity across the industry, and is just plain Not Cool with most bikers working downtown, who are paid on commission per delivery.

Two messengers held the picket for its duration, and several fellow messengers, plus a member of the local IWW General Membership Branch, spent time holding signs and handing out fliers to fellow workers, employees in the building, and other passersby. The picket covered the front and back entrances, plus both entrances of the alley leading into the loading dock. Hundreds of fliers were distributed, containing information about the grievance.

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Fresh Air! Speed! Poverty! Servitude!

Fri, 07 Jul 2006 01:04:00 +0000

The founders of Chicago's first bike messenger collective think there's gotta be a better way.

(image) Written by Scott Eden; photographs by Jon Randolph.

June 23, 2006
The Chicago Reader

RENE CUDAL WAS the last to quit. The Friday after Labor Day 2005 was the day he’d marked in his calendar, but he procrastinated all morning and afternoon, dreading the moment his boss would put two and two together. Finally the boss went home. Cudal called him that evening and gave him two weeks’ notice.

A bike messenger quitting isn’t so unusual—messengers will tell you they all develop a strategy to extract themselves from the job, which is defined by a high risk of bodily harm, low wages, and few or no benefits. Michael Carey, Cudal’s boss at On Time Courier, was a former messenger himself. But Carey, a big, block-shouldered man with a reputation as both a polished salesman and a hard-line intimidator, didn’t take Cudal’s news well. “What’s happening?” Cudal remembers him saying. “What are you doing? Starting your own messenger company?”

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