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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Metal and Machinery Workers Industrial Union 440

Industrial Workers of the World - Metal and Machinery Workers Industrial Union 440

All workers in blast furnaces, steel mills, aluminum plants, etc. All workers engaged in the production and repair of agricultural machinery, cars, locomotives, engines, automobiles, bicycles, air craft, and various instruments. Tool makers, jewelry and w


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 can’t escape the forces of capitalism inside of one plant, but you can fight like hell over every single site where your labor is exploited for the boss’s gain. You can’t avoid the class war; workers ne[...]

IWW Members Stand with Fired Ford Union Organizer in Spain—Solidarity is Strength! (en Inglés y Espanol)

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:51:13 +0000

By John O’Reilly - The Organizer, April 26, 2017

(image) On Friday, March 24th, Twin Cities IWW members gathered outside the Roseville Ford dealership to stand in solidarity with a fired union organizer from our sister union in Spain. An organizer with the National Confederation of Labor (or CNT, for its name in Spanish) was fired in retaliation for organizing in Valencia, Spain. His court date for reinstatement was set for March 27th.

A dealership manager approached our members and told them they were annoyed that we were picketing their workplace. The manager insisted that the site was union friendly and then sent out the union representative from the service workers to talk with IWW picketers. IWW member BP reports that “after some good conversation with the steward, he said he was on our side and took a large quantity of flyers – much to the dismay of the manager!” Workers from the site soon gathered and mixed with IWW picketers, impressed by the dedication of our members to their coworker in Spain’s cause.

Ford’s restructuring plan, The Way Forward, lays out a strategy of closing down plants in the US and moving them overseas to countries where the wages are lower. That’s why, as IWW member ED points out, “the Twin Cities factory shut down, taking away 2000 well payed union jobs, while production is ramping up in Spain, where labor laws are changing to make firing workers easier.” But the strategy only works as long as wages remain low in those countries. “So, by busting unions in Spain, Ford can keep outsourcing jobs, which busts unions here in the US. An injury to one is very much an injury to all,” ED adds.

The working class in the United States and globally is under attack by the international capitalists and their buddies in government. By moving labor and attacking workers organizations, the bosses try to keep us divided and fighting with each other, instead of working across national boundaries. Outsourcing only works if unions around the world are kept divided and weak. As ED points out: “Global capitalism can only be answered with global labor solidarity!”

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Holding the line: informal pace setting in the workplace

Tue, 20 Dec 2011 20:51:24 +0000

By Juan Conatz - originally posted at

(image) Often when talking to people about their frustrations at work and the prospects for organizing, a common response is one of negativity and desperation.

“I could never get anything goin’ where I work!”
“Other people don’t care.”
“It would be too hard.”

These types of sentiments cut across industries and sectors. Even folks in officially unionized workplaces that have unaddressed grievances feel this way many times.

But while your preconceived ideas of what workplace organizing entails may clash with the obstacles you think of, other things going on in your workplace perfectly mesh with what we commonly call ‘job actions’. Slowdowns, work to rule and pace setting are all tactics that workers have used in response to management doing ans saying things we don’t like. Most commonly, nowadays, it seems like our coworkers do these things as individuals, but when it expands beyond that…well, there’s an opportunity to get somewhere.


In early 2010, I was working at a warehouse as a forklift driver in Iowa City. Most of my day was spent on the shipping side of the building, pulling pallets off the production lines and staging them in a different area so they could eventually be loaded onto trucks. I also spent a fair amount of time loading these trucks, as well.

For the most part, the majority of my interaction with co-workers was limited to the other shipping forklift driver, the shipping manager and 2-3 temps who used a pallet jack to drop off pallets for me to stage.

The shipping manager, Phil, was basically a ‘lead’, with little power himself. Any power he had was mostly snitching power in that he directly answered to the Warehouse Supervisor. Phil was in his mid 40s and a casualty of the bad economy, being a recently laid of worker at a factoiry that made parts for General Motors.

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FACTORY UNDER OCCUPATION: Save 600 jobs at Vestas!

Wed, 22 Jul 2009 05:23:43 +0000

Disclaimer: This is not an IWW action; it is being posted in solidarity.  

Workers staging a sit-in at the soon-to-close Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight are being starved out by police.

The police, many inside the factory and dressed in riot gear, have denied food to the workers who took over the factory offices last night, to protest about the closure of their factory. The police, operating with highly questionable legal authority, have surrounded the offices, preventing supporters from joining the sit-in, and preventing food from being brought to the protestors.

Around 20 workers at the Vestas Plant in Newport, on the Isle of Wight, occupied the top floor of offices in their factory to protest against its closure which will result in over 500 job losses.

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What Has Happended To UAW Local 292?

Wed, 05 Mar 2008 19:04:06 +0000

Disclaimer - The opinions of the author do not necessarily match those of the IWW. This article is reposted in accordance to Fair Use guidelines.

February 29, 2008

What Has Happended To UAW Local 292?
by Kari And Adam Bird/UAW Local 292

Some of our elected union officials have not proven their ability to represent, let alone protect, union members—the people who pay their dues and elected these officials.

We are losing pay, benefits, work rules and the contracts are eroding.


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UAW kicks Cleveland Five out of union

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 22:41:18 +0000

Disclaimer - The opinions of the author do not necessarily match those of the IWW. The image pictured to the right did not appear in the original article, we have added it here to provide a visual perspective. This campaign is not an IWW campaign, but it is being reported here, because it is an example of rank & file struggles within the pro-capitalist mainstream business unions. This article is reposted in accordance to Fair Use guidelines.

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Autoworkers sit-down strike! - Please support this action, the jobs of 300 working people are on the line!

Tue, 01 Jan 2008 20:46:43 +0000

Workers in struggle, Barcelona, Spain
Workers at the Frape Behr factory in Barcelona have occupied their factory because of a company plan to fire 295 workers. The Behr company is in Stuttgart, Germany, and it specializes in manufacturing of car air conditioning and engine cooling systems. The need for solidarity by December 31 is urgent.

From CNT-AIT Barcelona we are supporting the workers of the Frape Behr factory (sister company of the german Behr) in Barcelona. Behr has reported a labour force adjustment plan (LFAP) to 50 workers and profit limits. For three months the workers have rejected this offer.

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Fired Metro Lighting workers respond to anti-IWW screed published in Berkeley Daily Planet

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 19:14:00 +0000

(image) By Gabe Wilson and Matt K., Bay Area IWW

This commentary is a response to Christine Staples' "Truth to Power: what Truth? What Power?" of November 16th, 2007, in which the author attempts to portray the striking workers at Metro Lighting and their union as thugs attempting to "take over Metro Lighting, or to drive them out of business trying." These accusations are too ridiculous to deserve a response, and they only serve to divert attention from the real issues at the store. Her editorial makes no attempt to deal seriously with the concerns of Metro Lighting's employees, so we would like to make these real issues known.

Workers have the right, protected by law, to take concerted activity to improve their conditions at work and to bargain with their employer over these conditions. The workers at Metro Lighting were brave enough to assert this right, and have faced unwillingness to negotiate and illegal retaliation from the owners. What led up to this?

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HELP NEEDED! -- Metro Owners file Temporary Restraining Order Against Fired IWW Union Worker

Fri, 19 Oct 2007 21:40:00 +0000


(image) Today, owners of Metro Lighting and Crafts filed restraining order papers against fired IWW member as another attempt at breaking solidarity and picket lines. The restraining order sites an event that took place in May 2007 and requires that Gabe W. not be allowed to meet with fellow workers (even the 6 workers currently on strike!) and denies him the right to picket the store which fired him for union organizing.

Basically, this is another underhanded attempt by the owners to break union solidarity and try to stem lost business from the pickets.

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Lively IWW Pickets at Metro Lighting

Tue, 09 Oct 2007 05:48:00 +0000

(image) The San Francisco Bay Area Branch was out in full force this Saturday on the picket line in solidarity with striking workers at Metro Lighting, Berkeley's now infamously "green" lighting business.

Highlights included songs, chants, lots of honking and the owner, Lawrence Grown, posting a profile of a sociopath in the window.  (We assume that he was warning customers of his presence!!!)  Many customers chose not to cross the picket line and were directed to other Berkeley lighting businesses, but those that dared to cross the picket line were loudly booed and resorted to leaving shamefully out the back door.

Workers at Metro Lighting are striking over the unfair labor practices of the owners, Lawrence and Christa Grown, who last month fired one of their workers for labor organizing and whistle blowing over unsafe working conditions.  They are demanding that all union workers be rehired with back wages and a pay raise for the retail workers who make almost half as much as their co-workers in the assembly shop in the back.

Please come out this Saturday in support of our fellow workers at Metro Lighting from noon to five.  The business is located at 2121 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley just south of University.  For those who cannot attend, please make sure to call them at 1-888-METRO20 or email them at and let them know that you will be taking your business elsewhere.

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