Subscribe to IWW feed
Updated: 2 hours 33 min ago

Language workers got Tallents!

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.

read more

Categories: Unions

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

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

read more

Categories: Unions

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

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.

read more

Categories: Unions

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

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?

read more

Categories: Unions

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

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.

read more

Categories: Unions

Porn, Sex Positivity, and Working Class Solidarity

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.

read more

Categories: Unions

Call for Submissions: In November We Remember Industrial Worker

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.

read more

Categories: Unions

Production Services Collective workers Join IWW iu630

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.

read more

Categories: Unions

Sign up for our Introduction to the IWW class!

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

read more

Categories: Unions

Hotel Frank(enstein) becomes Hotel G(oofy)

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.

read more

Categories: Unions

Gunkist Oranges

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.

read more

Categories: Unions

Houston IWW wins first campaign; a multi-worker fight against a remodeling contractor

Sun, 08/16/2015 - 19:22

Press Release - Houston IWW, August 11, 2015

We won!!

The fight against Felipe Serna has concluded.  Serna wrote a check to Hector, Pancho, and Mauricio which was promptly cashed this morning.

After our letter delivery, folks will recall that we organized a phone blast of The Growing Tree daycare and Felipe’s cell.  It was very effective; his phone didn’t stop ringing and he was in tears begging for mercy.  But when the calls ceased, his verbal commitment to settling turned into indignation as he failed to follow through and after a few days texted us an image of his “lawyer’s” business card, the second attorney he had threatened us with.

So we got indignant too and last night covered the surrounding neighborhood of The Growing Tree with “Wanted for Wage Theft” posters with his image prominently on the front.  We made sure to leave one on the front door of the daycare.  The next morning he wrote a check.

This is an important first victory for the Houston IWW and we couldn’t have done it without your support.  Thanks to the folks who showed up at the ass crack of dawn for the demand delivery and thanks to the many people who participated in the phone blast.

While we can’t know if Serna will steal wages again, he will certainly consider the costs.  And that is what we want every employer in Houston to do; consider that there are forces that they will have to contend with when they steal from labor-power.

We also know that to seriously challenge wage theft and to build workers power, we need an active and fighting working class, something we cannot create by sheer will.  Instead, we do what we can with the resources we have until that becomes a general condition.  In addition to fighting on the job, we need to fight against Adrian Garcia, the police, and ICE, we need to organize with detainees against incarceration, we need to defend our homes and neighborhoods from landlords and banks, we need to fight the grassroots Right and the fascists among them, we need to fight against racist school boards and curriculum, etc.

The IWW is committed to fighting against all of these forces.  An injury to one is an injury all!!

read more

Categories: Unions

I Am Tired of Healthcare

Sun, 08/09/2015 - 13:51

By Luz Sierra - Miami IWW, August 5, 2015

Five years had passed since I first began working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). A CNA is a health care provider that assists Registered Nurses (RN’s). They are the ones considered to do the “dirty work” in healthcare: changing, bathing, feeding, and providing any form of assistance to patients that RN’s do not have the time or opportunity to provide in today’s fast-paced and multi-tasking health care environment. Through providing care to patients, I have seen many of the atrocities of today’s society, especially with mental health.

The past year I was offered a patient companion (sitter) position at a local hospital after being laid off at my previous workplace for organizing. It is a pretty chill job. Depending on the census, I either provide one-to-one care or one-to-two patients care who are at risk to fall and are under Baker Act (a Florida mental health law that forces a patient to remain in the facility and to be under supervision up to 72 hours because of potential harm to self or others), or high risk patients likely to be injured. Throughout the majority of my employment there, I have mostly seen patients with mental health disorders. Among them are the elderly that are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In my experience, they are not given enough or any treatment at all. They are only given medication that sedates them for hours or they are simply ignored by RN’s. An individual with such an ailment could become very anxious, agitated, and disorientated which leads to many problems. For instance, they often attempt to get out of bed unsafely due to memory loss, they can remove their intravenous therapy (IV) if they are bothered by it, and they will sometimes attempt to physically hurt people they do not recognize as they become anxious and fearful of everyone. The list can go on. Mental health disorders are not easily treated, so there are moments when you will need help from CNA’s, RN’s, or even administration. Unfortunately such help is non-existent at times, like one day at work when I was assigned a patient that had Alzheimer’s and was extremely confused.

On that day I received the patient in a difficult situation. The first moment I arrived to her room, she was already punching and kicking the CNA who was trying to prevent her from getting out of bed. The CNA warned me to be careful since she was very combatant; she wasn’t lying. I spent the first two hours preventing her from getting out of bed while she attempted to repeatedly punch and kick me. Eventually a physical therapist stopped by and walked her to the bathroom and around the room. Afterwards, the nurse provided her medication that calmed and reoriented her. After taking her medication, the patient began to talk to me kindly, telling me about her life until she fell asleep for about thirty minutes. When she woke up, the medication was no longer effective so she was agitated and confused again. She wanted to leave her room, but wasn’t allowed to, so she was pushing and hitting me, and screaming loudly for help. I wanted to back away from her since that’s what you are taught when dealing with an aggravated patient, but I couldn’t as she was trying to get up and placing herself at risk of falling. I called the nurse to tell her what was happening, but all she did was stop by and talk to the patient. When she left, the patient became aggressive again.

During the next three hours I called the nurse five times, but she didn’t do anything other than try to calm the patient through talking to her. There’s no problem with that but if the patient is hurting herself and trying to attack caregivers there should be a better alternative. I am not a big advocate of medication, but in my opinion, it’s better to sedate a patient in order to prevent any further harm if the RN is not going to be there 24/7 and if a patient companion has limited options to prevent a patient from hurting anyone or herself.  Luckily, another nurse stopped by and took the patient to visit her husband who was also hospitalized. I was ordered to stay with her as she visited her husband. She was calm for a while, but then became agitated and wanted to leave the room in order to search for her children who weren’t there. I had to take her back to her room where she didn’t want to stay, and spent another three hours walking back and forth from her room to her husband’s room. Along the way she would hit and scream at me while the nursing staff were all watching and did nothing.

read more

Categories: Unions

Your Class Needs You!

Sun, 08/09/2015 - 13:38

By members of the Merseyside IWW – Liverpool IWW, August 5, 2015

About twenty people met in Liverpool Central Library’s meeting room 2 last night, as part of IWW national secretary Dave Pike’s speaking tour of England, Scotland and Wales. Dave’s presentation – called ‘Your Class Needs You’ – attracted a mixture of members, prospective new wobblies (or ‘probblies’ in IWW lingo) and people who were just curious what the IWW they knew from tales of Joe Hill were up to nearly a century after his murder.

It was a lot less eventful than the last time Liverpool IWW met on William Brown Street. In 1921, scouse wobblies led by the writer George Garrett occupied the front of the Walker Art Gallery, and were met with a full scale police riot.

For all us IWW members love the old stories, this was evening very much focused on the IWW of today, and how a new generation of relatively young, casualised workers are leading the way with some inspirational campaigns and struggles. We watched videos of workers from Starbucks, Jimmy Johns and London language schools fighting for improvements to their working lives.

The modern day Liverpool IWW are planning some big things over the next few months, and are thrilled to have settled into our new home of Liverpool Central Library. Watch this space, as well as our Facebook and Twitter. And yes, JOIN US! https://iww.org.uk/join

read more

Categories: Unions

It Took Direct Action to Make This Boss Pay Seattle’s New Minimum Wage

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 18:07

By Chelsea Harris - Labor Notes, July 23, 2015

“I don’t know who you people are!” barked Joe Walker, the owner of Pandora’s Adult Cabaret, a Seattle-area strip club, to the workers gathered in his office. “Why don’t you all go flip burgers!”

But despite this confrontational language—typical of how he often spoke to employees—within hours Walker would give in to their demand for the back pay he owed them.

As a boss, Walker is abhorrent, showing no respect for or concern for the safety of his club’s servers or dancers. Employees had horror stories of working around bodily fluids and other filth with no safety procedures, frequent illness with no health benefits or sick leave, and dancers being stalked and sexually assaulted at the club.

Add to this abusive language and shady bookkeeping. Managers had told bartenders and servers not to report tips. Instead, managers were reporting employee tips as $5 a week.

On April 1 the Seattle minimum wage went up to $11 per hour (the first step in a process towards a $15 per hour minimum wage, which won’t go into effect for two to six years).

But two weeks later, Walker was still paying his servers the old minimum wage of $9.47. When Alyssa, a server at the club, asked when they could expect a wage increase, she was fired.

Lindsay, another server fed up with Walker’s hostility whenever she asked about wages, put in her two weeks’ notice—but was promptly fired too. “You’re beneath this job,” he told her.

Unfortunately for him, Lindsay is in a union: the Seattle branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (the “Wobblies”), which anyone can join, except people with the power to hire and fire. After meeting with the union’s Seattle general organizing committee, Lindsay and Alyssa began an escalation plan.

read more

Categories: Unions

KY IWW: Now Accepting Dues On-line

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 17:51

FW Patrick, Press Secretary - Kentucky IWW, August 4, 2015

After much tinkering, the KY IWW GMB has developed a way to collect dues on-line. We feel this is an easy way for those members who are from far-off, or simply unable to attend certain meeting days, to remain part of the One Big Union.

You can follow the link through our “Dues and Membership” page to pay dues now or in the future. The link there will direct you to an external page where you can select your dues range and remain a member in good standing.

We’re also hopeful that we’ll have more options through the page in the future, including ways to join the KY IWW on-line, donate to the branch, purchase branch stamps, and so on.

One (or two) final thing(s): notes from the July meeting–including a long think piece on movement music–are forthcoming. Stayed tuned for that. And finally, be sure to join us for the KY IWW GMB open house THIS SATURDAY, 8:00 p.m., at our space in The Mammoth. Hope to see you all there!

read more

Categories: Unions

The fight against Felipe Serna and wage theft in Houston

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 17:34

By The Houston IWW Solidarity Network - Houston IWW, July 29, 2015

The Houston IWW is engaged in a fight with a local contractor, Felipe Serna, responsible for wage theft of three former employees: Hector, Pancho, and Mauricio.  These three men were hired by Felipe Serna in May of 2015 for the remodeling of a house in Sweeny, Texas.  They were offered $150/day each for their services and provided room and board at the house.  Several days in Serna decides $150 is too much and instead wants to pay them $100/day instead.  The men held their ground, stating $150 was the agreed upon wage, and Serna backed off.

While at work one day, Serna tells the men he is letting them go.  The men ask for payment for the previous three days of labor and Serna refuses, accusing them of stealing equipment.  To add insult to injury, Hector, Pancho, and Mauricio weren’t driven back to Houston, but told to make their own way.  It cost them $100 total for them to get transportation back to the city.

Serna and his actions are not an isolated event nor is he an employer that is merely a “bad apple that spoils the bunch.”  In fact, Serna is representative of a social force that is exploiting immigrant labor in Houston and in this country.  In fact, $750 million in wages are stolen each year in Houston alone!  Despite a recent ordinance passed in Houston to curb wage theft, it hasn’t stopped it nor could it.  The reality is that Houston capitalists depend on wage theft to maintain existing profit rates and the social hierarchy.  This exploitation is backed by a racist Sheriff’s office run by Adrian Garcia that complies with 287g, Secure Communities, a program of collaboration between the police and ICE to deport and detain immigrants.

In the spirit of this perspective, on Friday, July 24th, the Houston IWW with Hector and Pancho marched to The Growing Tree Academy, a daycare facility in the Gulfton area of Houston to deliver demands to Serna, owned by his wife’s family.  Because contractors often operate in the shadows, working from their homes and vehicles, they are difficult to track down.  Hector read the demand letter in the presence of our union to the staff who kept interrupting him and declaring they have nothing to do with what happened.  Serna wasn’t there but showed up later when most of us had left to say he wanted to talk and he was instructed to follow up on the letter.

We are demanding $1,450 in stolen wages including $100 for transportation.

Hector, Pancho, and Mauricio aren’t afraid of these employer thugs who prey on working class people.  And neither is the IWW.  Work itself is theft.  But to steal the little subsistence we are given to reproduce ourselves and our families is despicable.  The only way to deal with bosses like Serna is to organize together and fight together.

read more

Categories: Unions

IWW Greece Marches Against Austerity - July 15, 2015

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 10:39









See more and get the latest updates at: https://www.facebook.com/IWWGreece

Categories: Unions

Greece IWW: ‘In any case NO! We do not stop, We continue.’

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 08:49

The struggle for human emancipation, is a struggle against capitalism and every institution or policy assignment and split representation. The recent NO should not be left as a referendum victory of the "Greeks", but to mark the re-start of workers to continue and strengthen self-organization. The class struggle is the basic and sufficient condition not only to stop the capitalist attacks, but also the cohesive element that allows us to recall, the basic values of our class such as solidarity, direct action and companionship. In this context, on the occasion of 110 years since the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) we invite you to the event discussion: "The working class and the employer class have nothing in common!" Timeliness of revolutionary syndicalism on July 18th, 8pm at Eutopia Workshop, Leonidou 62 & Thermopylae, Kerameikos.
Not to sigh for the history. But to learn from the past in order to organize the present, to emancipate the future.

read more

Categories: Unions

Industrial Worker - Issue #1776, July/August 2015

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 19:54


  • Incarcerated Workers’ Uprising In Nebraska
  • Kansas City IWW Member Released From Prison
  • Syndicalists Organize And Win In Berlin!


  • Building Workers’ Power in the United Kingdom
  • Summer Special: Reviews, Wobbly Entertainment
  • New Austerity Measures To “Liberate” French Workers From Regulations

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

Categories: Unions