Language workers got Tallents!

IWW - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 19:11

By Angry Language - LibCom.Org, September 27, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Ultimately, we were forced to go down the legal route. That means that IWW members at LSSE only got the legal minimum, despite our belief that the callous mistreatment we suffered while at the school entitled us to further compensation. In any case, we got more than Craig had ever planned to give us.

We're proud to say that in our effort to make Craig pay up, the workers ran militant and well-organised campaign. We occupied the school. We forced Craig to resign as a governor of the Bancroft School and to shut down the website of another one of his business interests, Asparagus Consulting. We hassled him at his residents' association. We held numerous pickets and protests in Leicester Square and at the Drapers' Guild, where Craig is a member of some note – actions which did not go unnoticed by senior officers of the organisation.

To any other workers who may ever have the misfortune to work for Craig, we have a message for you: if he mistreats you in any way, you've got the support of the Angry Language Brigade and the IWW. It doesn't matter if you're a language school worker or not; if Craig's your boss, we got your back.

And let this be a message to any future would-be business partners: Craig Tallents is a toxic asset. Besides his consistently underhanded business practices, he's got two organisations who are ready and willing to picket and protest anywhere he sets up shop.

Jon Bigger, the IWW caseworker who helped the workers, said “this case was a good example of a boss trying to hide when the going got tough. Future workers and business partners of Craig Tallents will no doubt take note of his actions. Bosses should take note of ours.”

For those who've followed the dispute, one of the key issues was that Craig had illegally and intentionally misclassified a number of teachers as self-employed. This meant that when Craig shut down the school, he thought he could do so without paying those teachers thousands of pounds in holiday and notice pay.

The good news is that if you've been misclassified – a major problem in language schools – you have recourse. Raise it collectively with your workmates or contact HMRC who can contact your employer to make them sort out their records and pay you any back pay to which you may be entitled. HMRC can be contacted anonymously, but it's probably best if you have someone like a union rep call on your behalf.

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Categories: Unions

US Labor Law at 80: the Enduring Relevance of Class Struggle Unionism

IWW - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 19:04

By Immanuel Ness - CounterPunch, September 22, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

By embracing collective bargaining through the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, or Wagner Act, organized labor deprived workers of their capacity to contest private and state power. This compromise closed out any possibility of building a mass-based labor movement for decades. Rather than advancing the interests of workers, the NLRA circumscribed workers’ aspirations for democratic syndicalist and autonomist unions.

IWW: Alternative to Contract Unionism

In examining the long-term failure of organized labor, we must first note the alternative, organic, autonomous workers’ movement embodied in particular by unions affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the early 20th century. From its inception in 1905 until the 1920’s, the IWW represented a significant alternative to contract unionism. The IWW stood for the solidarity of all workers and it was fiercely opposed for that reason — by capital, by reformists such as Daniel DeLeon of the Socialist Labor Party and by the American Federation of Labor (AFL).[i] The IWW engaged in a genuine form of democracy and a mass industrial organizing model ultimately adopted by the AFL and the Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO), which both utilized for very different purposes.[ii]

The IWW employed sabotage, direct action and strikes through the equivalent of workers’ councils in both the community and at the point of production, while disavowing the legitimacy of the state and recognizing that any agreement with business must be temporary. The Wobblies vigorously negotiated with employers but were never deluded that agreements would bring labor peace.

That the solidarity of all workers was not just talk for the IWW is evidenced by their organization of Blacks, immigrant workers from Mexico and Southeast Asia, and women in, for example, the Bread and Roses Strike. Historian Peter Cole has richly demonstrated that the IWW embraced multiracial unionism, perhaps most notably in Philadelphia’s Maritime Workers Local 8, where Black workers maintained a majority.iii

The IWW achieved major gains for U.S. workers into the 1930s while (and because) it emphasized solidarity and workers’ control. When AFL and CIO unions expanded dramatically as a result of upheaval that began in the early 1930’s, they, by contrast, mostly failed to stimulate enthusiasm among workers. Riding the massive wave of sit-down strikes to positions of power, leaders of insurgent unions contributed greatly to sublimating the continuation of such militancy by throwing their support behind modest and incomplete New Deal reforms that ultimately weakened the capacity of workers to confront capital directly. In the area of labor relations, the NLRA was the fulcrum.

Many workers who participated in the sit-down strikes in mass production industries considered unionization synonymous with control over the enterprise, as was recognized immediately by capital. Given the breadth and ongoing militancy of the labor upheaval, the most astute corporate leaders soon expressed willingness to yield select rights provided that employer absolutism in the workplace was maintained. The NLRA proved to be the mechanism for doing so and responsible labor leaders proved willing junior partners in quelling worker militancy. For approximately a year after the wave of sit-down strikes, many workers were surprised to learn that their unions, as sanctioned by the NLRA, set up a framework that restricted their autonomy.

In his account of the Flint sit-down strikes, Sidney Fine wrote of how UAW members “were reluctant to accept the customary discipline exercised by management” and “ran wild in many plants for months.” Union committeemen aggressively pressed the grievances of union members upon oftentimes unyielding foremen, and as a UAW member later conceded, “Every time a dispute came up the fellows would have a tendency to sit down and just stop working.”iv

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Categories: Unions


IBU - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 11:48
Categories: Unions

NLRB Rules Union Canvasser Fired Illegally By Sisters’ Camelot, Orders Back Pay, Reinstatement

IWW - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 14:52

This past Friday, September 25, the National Labor Relations Board issued a new ruling regarding the struggle between the IWW Sisters’ Camelot Canvass Union and their former bosses at Sisters’ Camelot.

This new ruling reverses the 2013 ruling by an administrative law judge which stated the workers at Sisters’ Camelot were not protected under the National labor Relations Act because they were independent contractors. With this decision being reversed, Sisters’ Camelot is ruled to have violated labor law when they fired Canvass Union member shugE Mississippi while on strike in 2013 as part of their union-busting campaign.

This new ruling also uses the same argument to clarify that Sisters’ Camelot violated labor law when they refused to negotiate with their worker’s union, and again when they offered concessions to workers if they were to abandon bargaining collectively as a union.

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Categories: Unions

Union members test new Panama Canal

ILWU - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 14:34

Editors note: The following report submitted by the ILWU’s Panama Canal Division explains how members of the Panama Canal Pilots Union have been testing new equipment and procedures at the expanded canal which is expected to become operational soon.

A total of 52 lockages without the use of locomotives were conducted during a five-week period between June 26 and July 29 of 2011. This took place at the locks of Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatun. Different types of vessels were used (except naval and passenger vessels) in tests to prepare for the opening of a third set of locks scheduled to be inaugurated in October 2015.

The parameters of the test were previously established in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the administration of the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) and the Panama Canal Pilots Union (PCPU). A group of 8 test pilots and 2 coordinators equally represented both parties.

The test group was tasked with simulating, as closely as possible, the conditions that could be encountered at the third set of locks, as well as preparing a Pilot Training Program for the pilot force. This consisted of:

  1. A team of two test pilots who boarded the participating vessel prior to its arrival at the locks. They fastened the two “lockage” tugboats, forward and aft of the other vessel, while approaching the designated locks wall.
  2. With additional help from the “assisting” tugboats, they entered the chamber of the locks where the vessel was stopped.
  3. The vessel was made fast to the lock wall, after which it is raised or lowered by the water in the locks. The vessel was then moved from this chamber to the following one(s), then finally exited the locks.

Currently, tugs in the canal are mainly used to assist different type of vessels depending on their size and handling characteristics, while approaching the locks wall and then entering the locks chamber. After this, they are normally released and cast-off. Below are some of the conclusions and recommendations we reached during the test:


Assuming that twelve panamax-plus or post-panamax vessels will transit through the third set of locks, on a typical day, and considering the amount of time required by these vessels to lock through, the test group concluded that the PCA’s fleet of 32 tugs when the test took place, will have to be increased to 100 tugs. These tugs are replacing electric locomotives and should be classified as “lockage tugs” or “assisting tugs,” and their usages shall not be interchangeable.

It was concluded that the lockage tugs should be used in the third set of locks to help the pilot position the vessel as they enter the chamber, stop the vessel, remain in the chamber with the vessel as the water is levelled, proceed to the next chamber. This process is repeated until the vessel exits or clears the third set of locks.

The test group estimated the lockage time for this type of vessel, using “lockage” tugs instead of electric locomotives, will require 3.5 to 4 hours, from the time the vessel enters the first lock and departs the third set of locks.

Consequently, an estimate increase of one and a half to 2 hours will be added to the actual standard lockage time of two hours, for scheduling purposes.

In addition, it is important to know that “the lockage tugs used for the test cannot be compared with the effectiveness, positive control of the vessel and safety, that is provided by the use of locomotives,” which have been proven for over 100 years in the Panama Canal.

It should be further noted that on August 29, 2006, the Panama Canal Pilots Union (PCPU) made public a report prepared by a technical committee appointed for that purpose, which, among other issues, the PCPU strongly recommended the PCA administration utilize electric locomotives in the design for the third set of locks. This recommendation, along with others, has not been considered by the PCA administration.

Canal Standard Times

The test group estimated that an additional 1.5 to 2 hours will be needed to schedule a Panamax-plus or a Pospanamax vessel to transit through the third set of locks in the Canal. Actually, it takes two hours for a loaded Panamax to go through Gatun locks, the only one with three chambers until the third set of locks is completed.

In addition to the test of lockages without the use of locomotives per formed on site at the locks, a number of maneuvering exercises executed at the simulator in the Canal installations provided information that allowed the test group to preliminarily conclude:

The standard running time for Panamax-plus and Postpanamax vessels to go across Gatun lake will also be increased by:

  1. a) a timeframe figure which is directly proportional to their handling characteristic, especially when navigating with a reduced amount of water below their keels (known as under keel clearance (UKC). This increment in the amount of time to navigate Gatun Lake and through Gaillard Cut (the narrowest part of the lake) may suffer an additional
  2. b) increase in timeframe which has not been estimated as yet due to meeting restrictions that will be necessary to imposed for safety purposes. These type of vessels will be transiting the waterway as part of one of the two semi convoys that travel each day through the Canal in opposite directions (north and south), and which at some point must encounter traffic coming through the canal in the opposite direction. For example, at present with the system that is in place for scheduling vessels, when a Panamax vessel is transiting in the northern semi-convoy direction, it is scheduled for safety reasons to not meet another similar size or a smaller vessel that is navigating in the opposite direction in Gaillard Cut. They normally meet in Gamboa after the vessels exit Gaillard Cut.

However, whenever the third set of locks finally opens to the international shipping industry, transit of Panamaxplus and Pospanamax vessels, may have to be scheduled to meet 2 to 4 nautical miles (3.7 to 7.4 kilometers) further north of Gamboa for safety purposes when they are navigating in the same northern direction. Consequently, the standard running time of two hours for a Panamax vessel will also increase under the same structure for scheduling vessels.


The replacement of the electric locomotives at the present locks by “lockage” tugs will be tasked not only with assisting the transiting vessels to make their approach and safely enter the third set of locks, as they currently do, but in the future they will also be tasked with positioning the vessel’s extremities (bow and stern), as it moves along the lock chamber and is taken to a stop, and moored (or made fast) to the lock wall. This entails a completely new paradigm for the pilots, the tugboat captains and mates, and to a lesser degree, the line handlers of the locks walls and those aboard the transiting vessels. The complete team assigned to the transit of a vessel will be facing this new challenge.

The test group concluded that “expediency in the placement and handling of lines to the lock walls is of the utmost importance.”

This fact is known to the ACP administration, as it came to their attention during the two first weeks of the test. A comprehensive training program should be implemented for all players, including the pilots, captains, and line handlers, in order to deal with this potential problem.

Other concerns

According to the ACP Administrator, the third set of locks will soon be open to transit. When that happens, vessels proceeding to or from the new third set of locks may face delays when the wind increases to 25 knots (46km/ hr.), which happens on a daily basis for approximately three months each year during the dry season. Another potentially serious concern for both the Canal officials and ship owners is the possible damage to a vessel’s hull each time it bumps either wall of the locks when entering or exiting the locks chamber, or when moving from one chamber to the next. This raises the following questions:

  1. Will insurance companies raise their premiums for vessels that transits the Panama Canal?
  2. Will the PCA administration reduce their liability limits for accidents or incidents in canal waters?
  3. Will the PCA administration maintain the pilot’s unique status of “being in charge” of vessel navigation while transiting the canal, or will they take away full control of the vessel’s navigation from the canal pilot?

Our final question is whether these issues will affect the toll paid by vessels to transit the Panama Canal, and how expeditious and safe will this transit be?

Categories: Unions

There will be no unpaid workers at the Co-op!

IWW - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 13:29

By Dorsett IWW - Dorsett IWW, September 17, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Dorset IWW General Members’ Branch is pleased to announce that our dispute with a Bournemouth outlet of the Co-operative has been settled amicably. We have a verbal assurance from local management who are USDAW members, that they have no wish to exploit unpaid workers on their premises, and that their connection with ‘Prospects’ has been severed. We congratulate them on their principled decision and affirm our commitment to defeat the government’s work programme and end unpaid labour.

Nationally however, the situation is less clear; we have had sight of a Co-op internal document that sets out the parameters of their unpaid work experience programme. Whilst it insists that placements must be voluntary and offer meaningful experience, we note that vulnerable adults are being conscripted who may not be fully aware of their rights. It’s highly likely some of them will not be able to make an informed decision and/or will get browbeaten by jobcentre staff with targets to meet. Once they are on the scheme if they leave they may be deemed to have made themselves intentionally unemployed, and be sanctioned. Lastly of course, however you dress it up, it’s unpaid labour. How long does it take to assess a person’s suitability for working in a grocer’s shop? A week, two? Why then should a national chain not speculate a fortnight’s minimum wage to find out?

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Categories: Unions

Friedrichs v. CTA: the Supreme Court Case That Could Destroy Labor Unions as We Know Them

IWW - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 13:18

By Andrew Stewart - CounterPunch, September 18, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

This Presidential campaign has become even more of a media spectacle than the last two were, which in and of itself proves our electoral system is broken because the voters treat governance like professional wrestling. The Republican field is so close to a Vince McMahon Slam-O-Rama match that we do not even need to come up with silly stage names for these doofuses.

But what stuns me most about the Democratic field is that, even in the midst of our kinda-sorta dialogue about democratic socialism brought about by the Sanders dog-and-pony show, not a single candidate has yet to talk about the cornerstone of a socialist society, our barely-breathing labor unions. We have heard news stories about everyone’s favorite walrus, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, coming down from on high and reminding the masses that he, not they, get to choose whether the unions endorse Sanders or Clinton. But the elephant in the room which no one is talking about is the Friedrichs v. CTA Supreme Court case, which has seen the Petitioner Brief filed on September 4, 2015, followed by nineteen amicus curiae briefs on September 10 and. For those just tuning in, this is the case that will destroy labor unions as we know them in our country. This omission from our national dialogue is analogous to the three months before 9-11 when everyone was telling President Bush that something was going to happen but he was too busy farting around on his ranch to care.

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Categories: Unions

Porn, Sex Positivity, and Working Class Solidarity

IWW - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 13:09

By Kasparkonsequent - Red and Black Leeds, September 18, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The UK’s gradually expanding porn law restrictions have been going on for years and eventually came to a climax the end of 2014, when previously existing restrictions were applied to all pornographic material made in the UK. Though I still see the occasional protest against this, and a few campaigners are still trying to overturn it, the flurry of outrage has largely died down. My aim here is not to defend the ban, but to critique the way this has been discussed, so we might be able to distinguish in future between what some members of the public want the sex industry to be, and an expression of working class solidarity towards those of us who work in it.

It’s obvious to most people that the list of banned acts represents pure moralising, and that the people who made this list seem to have a particular idea of what normal sex is and should be (part of which, as a number of people have noted, seems to be based on the idea that sex is something that women do for men). The legislation is clearly not about what should or shouldn’t happen on a porn set, but is entirely about what should be depicted and how. This is no mistake, the changes are part of the Obscene Publications Act, designed to outlaw any material that “tends to deprave and corrupt”. The fact that some of the banned acts are also things that many workers will want to avoid at work is coincidental and not the purpose of the ban. This becomes apparent when we see that vomiting, for example from facefucking, is something that is acceptable “if it is not performed as part of the sexual act, and is not visibly enjoyed by the participants”. The important phrase is “visibly enjoyed”, as the issue is not whether or not the worker is actually enjoying having the back of their throat hit until they vomit, but whether or not they have the inclination or acting ability to portray someone who does enjoy it. And according to the OPA they should not appear to enjoy it as it might give people watching the idea that this could be fun. However if your work involves occasional uncontrolled vomiting and you look suitably unimpressed by it when it happens, then as far as this legislation is concerned that’s fine and nothing to worry about.

Whether consciously or not, a lot of the responses to this have mirrored the same attitude in the sense that they’ve not been about what the work is like for those people having sex on camera, but about what consumers think should or shouldn’t be depicted, and how it should be represented, and what porn should look like to portray sex in a certain way to society. Progressives all over the UK have complained that they want female pleasure to be depicted and so are against the ban on female ejaculation, that they want women to be shown as empowered in sex and so are against the ban on face-sitting, that they want a variety of sexual acts to be represented so we aren’t conditioned to masturbate only to the same tired misogynistic porn formula. This is fair enough. It’s not only films and high art that influence our society and how we think, but all the media we consume. Even if all the porn actors on set were to be bored out of their minds, hate each other, and feel disgusted by the thought of having to get it on for the camera, if they produce a work of fiction that depicts the healthy negotiating of consent, where the people having sex are smiling at each other while on camera, where women are portrayed as having their own sexual desires, that could have a positive affect on people watching it.

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Categories: Unions

SoCal unions celebrate Labor Day in the Harbor

ILWU - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 11:49

The Los Angeles Harbor Coalition’s Labor Day Parade attracted several thousand union workers, family members and community supporters. The annual parade and picnic started just a few blocks from the Local 13 dispatch hall and ended at Banning Park in= Wilmington for an all-day barbeque and picnic. It is the largest Labor Day celebration on the West Coast.

The parade was led by the Southern California Pensioners who rode on a flat-bed trailer and tossed candy to children who lined the streets to watch the march. Hundreds of union members marched together with their local union.

ILWU members, nurses, teachers, Teamsters, Building Trades and other workers marched together and were joined by local high school marching bands, cheer squads, color guards, classic cars and motorcycle clubs to celebrate the working men and women who built this country and keep it running.

The day began with a free breakfast of burritos, coffee and juice at the Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Memorial Hall sponsored by the So Cal Pensioners Club. Over 1,500 breakfast burritos were distributed. The ILWU welcomed elected officials and candidates currently running for local, state and national office in the upcoming election. Candidates were each given a few minutes on the mic at the Memorial Hall to address the crowd as they enjoyed their breakfast.

Local 13 President Bobby Olvera Jr. spoke at the picnic about the importance of rank and file democracy to the strength a vitality of unions and the labor movement. “Leadership comes from the body of your union, not from someone who has been in office for 30 years and has never broken a sweat” he said. “Take control of your future. The strength of labor comes from us, the workers.”

Categories: Unions

Longshore Workers Vote to Oppose Coal Exports in Oakland

ILWU - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 15:18

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 18, 2015) – Longshore workers and marine clerks who have moved cargo at the Ports of Oakland and San Francisco since 1934 have rejected a developer’s plan to export coal through former Oakland Army Base. International Longshore and Warehouse Union elected officials say coal is an undesirable, low-value cargo and a broken promise on the part of the developer, and longshore workers are standing by community members who do not want the worry and risks of nine million tons of coal passing through their neighborhoods on trains each year. After much research and discussion, the rank and file members of ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 have voted to oppose the handling of coal at the site.

“When the developers of the project were seeking tax money and public support to develop the Oakland Army Base, they talked about exporting cargoes like grain and potash,” said Sean Farley, President of ILWU Local 34. “They made a ‘no coal’ promise to workers, the community and elected officials, and they need to make good on that promise. Waterfront space is in short supply on the West Coast, and it would be a mistake to lock Oakland into a decades-long lease with a coal industry that many say is dying. Coal proposals have failed up and down the West Coast, and Oakland shouldn’t become the dumping ground for dirty, low value cargoes that no one else wants.”

After the Oakland City Council granted the California Capital and Investment Group (CCIG) the right to develop the former army base adjacent to the Port of Oakland, CCIG planned to build the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) on the site. CCIG has since turned its “no coal” promise into a “coal or nothing” threat, claiming no other cargo will pay the bills. Meanwhile, other West Coast ports are thriving while exporting products like grain, potash, soda ash, salt, and other commodities and bulk products.

“Coal is not the right way to bring jobs to Oakland,” said ILWU Local 10 Business Agent Derrick Muhammad. “Oakland families are already worried about asthma and other sickness because of highways and port activities. It’s not right to ask them to take on the worry and risk of nine million tons of coal passing through their neighborhoods on trains each year. If the developers haven’t found a cleaner, safer product yet, they owe it to the City of Oakland to make good on their promise and keep looking. They’ll find better cargoes if they are truly committed to bringing good, safe jobs to our community.”

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Coast Longshore Division represents approximately 25,000 longshore men and women in 30 West Coast ports from San Diego, CA, to Bellingham, WA.

Categories: Unions

Call for Submissions: In November We Remember Industrial Worker

IWW - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 20:05

Fall is just around the corner, which means it's time for the annual "In November We Remember" issue of the Industrial Worker (which will technically be the Fall 2015 issue now that we've switched to quarterly). NOW is the time to begin discussing with your branches/groups how you will commemorate fallen comrades with messages of solidarity for all the world to see: and for the first time ever you can do it in COLOR, or RED & BLACK! That's right -- there will be pages set aside for full color ads, as well as for red-and-black ads.

The deadline is Friday, October 2, 2015. Email your submissions to iw@iww.org.

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Categories: Unions

Production Services Collective workers Join IWW iu630

IWW - Mon, 09/14/2015 - 17:29

Production Services Collective declaration to the ownership of Sound Stage Systems:

For nearly a year, as fellow workers, we have organized ourselves, put forth proposals, met and negotiated with you, the ownership and management of Sound Stage Systems. We have done these things in an attempt to create a democratic work place and a functional system of working that is inclusive, promotes creativity, compensates fairly and sees the value in cooperation rather than the unsustainable spiral of competition.

Our proposals have been met with varying degrees of enthusiasm and hostility. Weekly staff meetings have been attempted and some proposals implemented. Some workers have negotiated better wages on a one on one basis only to find the overtime they expected was now unattainable. Profit over substance has become the mode of operation. Clients' needs have been swept aside as cost over runs are hurriedly “funded’ and new avenues of profit are exploited. New hires have been intimidated with the threat of firing during probation periods. Workers old and new have been “talked to” regarding trivial matters in an apparent attempt to intimidate. An atmosphere of intolerance for dissenting views, alternate methods, procedures and social/work culture is present daily.

We find ourselves in a continuous cycle of emotional and economic boom and bust. Daily we experience the torturous trickle down from a system that disregards our contributions and rights to self-determination and fair compensation. We have determined the only way out of this cycle and into routine control of our lives and movement forward lies in solidarity with workers locally and around the world who struggle daily to form the structures of a new way to work and live within the shell of the old.

It is with this in mind that we proudly declare ourselves members of the Industrial Workers of the World and move to build a work environment that fairly addresses the needs of client, worker and owner.

Before we can continue work on existing projects and before the discussion of work on new projects, we demand that you, the ownership and management of Sound Stage Systems, recognize us, the workers of Sound Stage Systems, as members of IWW IU630 (The Industrial Workers of the World, industrial union 630) and allow us the space to create a more democratic work place.

With a fresh prospective from this new owner/worker dynamic, we can discuss the details of the following additional demands;

  • 1) that as members of IWW IU630 we are given access to and input in every aspect of our role as workers on any project.
  • 2) That as members of IWW IU630 we are the first to be responsible for the training, review and assignment to departments of any member or new hire for any project.
  • 3) That as members of IWW IU630 we receive equal pay for equal work based on a four tier pay scale.
  • 4) That travel project notifications will be a minimum of two weeks prior to booking.
  • 5) That an open system for review and conflict resolution is established with no less than two IWW IU630 members present at any meeting.

We are no longer willing to participate in or make excuses for substandard work that is produced by a system beyond our control. We are dedicated to providing the best products and services in this industry. Within this new framework we are confident we can achieve this and create a work environment that will elevate every project Sound Stage System involves itself in, to this level and beyond.

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Categories: Unions

Angel Island Ferry Workers

IBU - Mon, 09/14/2015 - 15:09
We have been pursuing legislation for the last 3 years and the bill is finally on the Governor's deck.  We are hopeful he will sign it.
Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for September 12 2015

IBU - Mon, 09/14/2015 - 11:47
Categories: Unions

Sign up for our Introduction to the IWW class!

IWW - Sun, 09/13/2015 - 11:24
Thursday, October 1, from 7:00-8:30pm

All workers welcome! Learn more about the key principles and values of the Industrial Workers of the World and learn what the Portland I.W.W. is doing to improve working conditions – and how you can get involved.

We will explore solidarity unionism, the use of direct action, how the I.W.W. differs from business & trade unions, and more.

Click here to sign up!

For those of you who utilize Facebook: The Intro Class event page

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Categories: Unions

Hotel Frank(enstein) becomes Hotel G(oofy)

IWW - Sun, 09/13/2015 - 11:17

By Marc Norton - Marc Norton Online, September 8, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s. The author is a member of the Bay Area IWW General Membership Branch and UNITEHERE Local 2.

Almost five years after I was illegally fired from my job as a bellman at Hotel Frank, the current owners of the Union Square hotel at Geary and Mason (now called Hotel G) are telling guests that there is no luggage service, that if they want to get their bags to or from their rooms they are on their own, and that if they want to store their luggage there is a roped-off area in the lobby where they can dump their bags, without any guarantee that they will be there when they want to retrieve them.

Hotel management recently instituted this goofy practice in order to keep me from coming back to work at the hotel.  Quite a backhanded complement to my perceived organizing and troublemaking ability, don’t you think?

Here is an email that Matthew Rubenstein, the Associate Sales & Social Media Manager at Hotel G, sent to a potential guest:

We do have a place in the lobby where you can store the luggage – it is a roped-off area by the front desk.  Unfortunately we cannot transport the bags up to the room.

And this, also from Mr. Rubenstein, responding to a question about the security of the “roped-off area” in the lobby:

Personally, if it were me I would be fine leaving anything outside of laptops/cameras etc.

Here is a photo of the “roped-off area” in the lobby.  Note that there is a woman, presumably a hotel guest, going through some of the stored luggage:

Note that the luggage is blocking a doorway.  That is the door to the stairs from the basement, where the housekeeping office and the employee break room are located.  With this door blocked, the only access to the basement is via the elevator.  I wonder what the Fire Marshal might think of this.

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Categories: Unions

Gunkist Oranges

IWW - Sun, 09/13/2015 - 10:35

By Gustavo Arellano - Orange County Weekly, June 8, 2006

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.


Seventy years ago this week, Orange County’s most brutally suppressed strike began with a bite.

On June 15, 1936, at the break of dawn, about 200 Mexican women gathered in Anaheim to preach the gospel of huelga—strike. Four days earlier, about 2,500 Mexican naranjeros representing more than half of Orange County’s crucial citrus-picking force dropped their clippers, bags and ladders to demand higher wages, better working conditions and the right to unionize.

The women spread across the groves of Anaheim, the heart of citrus country, urging workers to let the fruit hang. Twenty Anaheim police officers confronted the women; they refused to disperse. At some point there was an altercation, and 29-year-old Placentia resident Virginia Torres bit the arm of Anaheim police officer Roger Sherman. Police arrested Torres, along with 30-year-old Epifania Marquez, who tried to yank a strikebreaker—a scab—from a truck by grabbing onto his suspenders.

Little else is known about the Fort Sumter of Orange County—newspaper accounts say only that Torres and Marquez received jail sentences of 60 and 30 days, respectively. But Orange County responded with an organized wrath years in the planning. Growers enlisted the local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion to guard fields. They evicted families of strikers from their company-owned houses. The English-language press became a bulletin board for the growers—The Santa Ana Register, for instance, described the 200 Mexican women in Anaheim as “Amazons with fire of battle in their eyes.”

Orange County Sheriff Logan Jackson deputized citrus orchard guards and provided them with steel helmets, shotguns and ax handles. The newly minted cops began arresting strikers en masse, more than 250 by strike’s end. When that didn’t stop the strike, they reported workers to federal immigration authorities. When that didn’t work, out came the guns and clubs. Tear gas blossomed in the groves. Mobs of citrus farmers and their supporters attacked under cover of darkness.

What county residents tried to dismiss as a fruitless strike quickly escalated into a full-fledged civil war in which race and class were inseparable. The Mexicans of Orange County, the county’s historical source of cheap labor, were finally asking for better working conditions; their gabacho overlords wouldn’t hear it. And so both sides fought for a month until the lords of Orange County won.

Wonder why Orange County trembles whenever its Mexicans protest? Welcome to the Citrus War of 1936, the most important event in Orange County history you’ve never heard of.

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Categories: Unions

Fleet Memo for September 5 2015

IBU - Tue, 09/08/2015 - 14:12
Categories: Unions

Fleet Memo for August 29 2015

IBU - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 13:16
Categories: Unions

In memory of longshore workers killed in 1886 at the port of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

ILWU - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 15:50

In the late 1800s, when a cargo vessel entered the Puget Sound, it would take on longshoremen at its first port of call, then those men would remain on the ship to work the vessel at all ports in the area.

In mid-June of 1886, the “Queen of the Pacific” put into Seattle where she took on six longshoremen. The longshoremen were charter members of the newly established Seattle Stevedores, Longshoremen and Riggers Union (SL&RU), predecessor of ILWU Local 19. During June and July, the= vessel discharged and loaded cargo at docks in the Puget Sound, working its way up to British Columbia.

On June 9, 1886, the Queen was docked in Nanaimo, British Columbia, where a powerful blast ripped through the ship’s hold, taking the lives of the six charter members of the SL&RU: Hans Hanson, August Johnson, William Kade, William McDonald, Patrick Priestly and William Robee. For 59 years, the tragedy was the worst waterfront accident in the history of the West Coast.

The explosion occurred at five minutes before noon on July 29, 1886, at the Nanaimo coal dock where Seattle coal passers were winging coal into the corners of the ship’s hold. Suddenly, a ton of coal hit the center of the lower deck; a clap shook the ship from aft to stern anda sheet of flame flashed upward from the hold to the upper deck.

The SL&RU coal gang was engulfed by flames. As they were carried out of the lower hold, eyewitnesses saw that hair had been burned from their heads and faces; flesh hung in shreds and their “cries were most heart-rending.”

The severely burned men also included eight seamen. Horse-drawn wagons carried the injured to the Nanaimo Hospital where three doctors worked around the clock for two weeks to save lives. One by one, all of the longshore workers and two sailors died from seared lungs and skin burns A court of inquiry later determined that coal dust had ignited from spontaneous combustion. They ruled that the explosion was an accident that could not have been prevented. Ten months later, an explosion killed 155 miners at the same mine that provided coal for the “Queen of the Pacific.” Another court of inquiry found the second explosion also an “unavoidable accident.”

During the century that followed, coal miners in North America fought to end coal dust and methane explosions that were claimed by employers and their experts to be “unavoidable.”

Union members in the United States finally succeeded in passing the Mine Safety and Health Act in 1977 that led to significant safety and health improvements.

Seattle longshore workers installed a plaque at the Nanaimo gravesite in 1886 to commemorate the deaths of their union brothers and to thank the people of Nanaimo for caring for them. But after 128 years, the plaque had disintegrated. Seattle Pensioners commissioned Local 19 member and artist Ron Gustin to replicate the original plaque.

The new monument is a bronze relief mounted on charcoal black granite that measures 20 x 6 x 28, and weighs 575 pounds. Father Piotr Lapinski, who was in charge of St. Peter’s Cemetery, graciously agreed to the re-installation.

At the 2015 rededication Lapinski’s successor Father Krzysztofy (Chris) Pastuszka delivered the benediction for the fallen six.

Seattle Pension President Carl Woeck read the original SL&RU message that was dedicated in 1886:

“We wish to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation of the services rendered our six comrades by the citizens of Nanaimo and missionary Charles Seghers following the recent accident on the Queen of the Pacific. Our fallen union brothers Hans Hanson, August Johnson, William Kade, William McDonald, Patrick Priestley and William Robee rest in peace in your care. Should the opportunity ever present itself, the people of Nanaimo may rest assured that the longshoremen of Seattle will endeavor to repay the debt that they so justly owe them.”

Stevedores, Longshoremen and Riggers Union of Washington Territory
Frederick D. Sprague, President
Henry Storey, Secretary
August 7, 1886

After the graveyard ceremony, Americans and Canadians met at the Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo for lunch. Seattle Pensioner Vice President Ian Kennedy was the banquet emcee.

Speakers included ILWU Canada President Mark Gordienko, Local 19 President Jason Gross, Seattle Pensioner President Carl Woeck and ILWU International Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams. Comradeship between Canadian and American longshoremen was the theme of the remarks. All stressed that remembrance of the terrible tragedy had strengthened the bonds of friendship, and that we are part of a worldwide family who will always be considered brothers and sisters.

At the luncheon, it was noted that another longshore tragedy happened in Vancouver, British Columbia, on March 6, 1945. The steamship Green Hill Park blew up and killed six longshoremen and two seamen. Somehow, whisky, flares and sodium chlorate had been stored together in ‘tween decks in Hold 3. The flammable cargo exploded and blew out a steel bulkhead that killed Donald G. Bell, Joseph A. Brooks, William T. Lewis, Morton McGrath, Montague E. Munn and Walter Peterson. Seamen Julius Kern and Donald Munn, who were in a room directly above the exploding cargo, also perished from asphyxiation.

Ronald Magden, historian; with Mark Gordienko, President ILWU and Charles Zuckerman, Local 500

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