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Maryland I.T. Workers Begin Strike With IWW, File Multiple Unfair Labor Practice Charges

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 08:48

By Benjamin Charles - Baltimore IWW, May 26, 2016

FREDERICK, MD-- Workers at True Technical Experts LLC (TTX), an IT subcontractor for major retailers, have gone on strike today demanding an end to wage theft and harassment, and demanding recognition of their union, the Industrial Workers of the World. The workers have submitted a list of demands, which includes raising wages to the industry standard, regular hours, and an anti-harassment pledge from the business’s owner, David Gerlak. IWW workers at TTX have struck twice in the past two months over unpaid wages, winning their back pay both times, although Gerlak has refused to recognize the union. Minutes after being contacted by an IWW representative, Gerlak declared that he had fired two striking employees, in obvious violation of federal labor law.

TTX is a small IT subcontractor whose workers install cabling and other hardware for some of the nation’s largest retailers, such as Target and CVS. As is often the case, their work is handled by a complex chain of contractors and subcontractors, producing a “race to the bottom” where wage theft and poor working conditions are common. For over a year, workers at TTX have organized underground for job stability, respect at work, and an end to substandard wages and conditions.

“We’re tired of being treated like machines,” said TTX field technician Andrew K. “If David won’t treat us like human beings, with basic respect and dignity, we’ll just have to force him to. We are prepared to stay out on strike for as long as it takes.”

This is not the first time these major retailers have had labor issues with their subcontractors. Following years of protests and strikes by a Minneapolis-based workers’ center representing janitorial workers, Target agreed to language stipulating that “cleaning companies it works with cannot interfere with workers’ organizing rights, must follow wage-and-hour laws and must establish worker safety committees.” While no such language currently exists for their IT subcontractors, TTX workers are confident that, with a little encouragement, Target will soon extend its ideals to them as well.

Gerlak has made repeated threats to fire two workers who are members of the IWW, and even threatened to shut down the business in retaliation for union activity. The Baltimore IWW is filing Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against TTX for these blatantly illegal threats.

The workers are asking supporters to stand in solidarity by donating to their strike fund. Donations can be made at https://www.crowdrise.com/support-trutech-workers-organizing

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Categories: Unions

Burgerville Workers Unite!

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 15:39

By Admin - Portland IWW, May 1, 2016

Portland, OR – In a historic move, workers at Portland-area fast food chain Burgerville announced at a rally in the Clinton Street Theater on April 26th that they were forming a union, the Burgerville Workers Union, in affiliation with the Portland branch of the IWW. They marched from the theater to the Burgerville location at Southeast 26th and Clinton to present their demands:

  • an immediate $5 an hour raise
  • affordable, quality healthcare
  • a safe and healthy workplace
  • fair and consistent scheduling with ample notice
  • a supportive, sustainable workplace including paid maternity/paternity leave
  • free childcare and transportation stipends

A typical Burgerville worker makes only $9.60 an hour, and is typically scheduled just 26 hours a week, just under the 30 hours a week which would make them eligible to receive benefits. That equals out to about $990 a month before taxes. To put that into perspective, the average apartment rent in Portland is $1,275 a month for a one bedroom apartment, and most apartment complexes require prospective tenants income to exceed 3 times the amount of the rent.

“Most people can’t even afford to have an apartment. In Portland, everyone knows that the cost of living is insane. It basically took me a second job to be able to have a place of my own. I couldn’t afford it with what Burgerville pays me,” said Greg, Burgerville worker and union member.

Other workers cited problems with management’s uncaring attitude toward their employees: “I need to be able to take a sick day without fear of retaliation,” stated Robert, a Burgerville worker at the Powell location.

The workers forming the Burgerville Workers Union represent a cross-section of the community – young people, seniors, mothers, fathers, students, and grandparents. They put passion into their work, and want to improve their workplaces for themselves, their co-workers, and the community.

“We’re trying to make Burgerville a better place – I just want to be able to do my job and be paid a living wage. This is going to make Burgerville better, by having happy employees that work hard and are proud of their jobs” said Debbie, Burgerville Worker Union member.

The Burgerville Workers Union is supported by the Portland IWW and endorsed by a coalition of local unions and community groups, including ILWU Local 5, IATSE Local 28, SEIU Local 49, Portland Association of Teachers, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Portland Solidarity Network (PDXSol), Portland Jobs with Justice, Blue Heron Collective (Reed College), Portland Central America Solidarity Committee, Alberta Cooperative Grocery Collective Management, Hella 503 Collective, Marilyn Buck Abolitionist Collective and People’s Food Co-op.

To lend your support and solidarity, check out the Burgerville Workers Union website.

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Categories: Unions

Industrial Worker - Spring 2016

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 15:30
  • PRISONERS ORGANIZE: Free Alabama Movement spreads to Virginia as prisoners take up IWW banner
  • TEACHERS FIGHT BACK: Teachers, students, parents and others fight austerity across the United States
  • HOUSING STRUGGLES: Portland Tenants United organize against eviction and displacement
  •  ....and more! 

See attached, or view & share the issue online!

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Categories: Unions

IWW Newswire: 2016-4

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 16:01

Compiled by x344543 - April 27, 2016

The following news items are culled from various other IWW (and other) internet news portals:

May Day: The Soap Box: Other:

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Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-5

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 15:29

Compiled by x344543 - April 27, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions

The 4th Precinct: a black anarchist’s perspective on struggle in Minneapolis’ Northside streets

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 16:28

By Ikemba Kuti - First of May Anarchist Alliance, March 25, 2016

On November 15th, 2015, police executed Jamar Clark in North Minneapolis, MN. Several witnesses claim that Mr. Clark was handcuffed and on the ground when he was shot in the head. Following the execution, an occupation of the 4th precinct police station took place on Plymouth Avenue.

The call for the encampment and occupation came from Black Lives Matter – Minneapolis. BLM-MPLS, is a part of the nation-wide organization of chapters that is backed by the Democratic Party of the same system that ensures black and brown communities are hyper- policed. BLM-St. Paul is not a part of the nation-wide organization, and has even been condemned for making Black Lives Matter as a whole “look bad” for simply chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon…” while they are not a chartered chapter.

BLM-MPLS’ call for the encampment resulted in BLM organizers heading the movement with little to no democratic process until later in the struggle. The encampment also generated tensions arising from different agendas, ideologies, levels of anger, and an array of different tactics that different organizations and members of the community aimed to use.

The nationally connected Black Lives Matter-Minneapolis did, and does, great work at getting people to come out. Unfortunately, they also do great work channeling that revolutionary energy into their dogmatic nonviolent reformism due to an undeniable affiliation with the Democratic Party (the system), which must be noted by those interested in liberation of the people, and which is quickly revealed through research on those who are heading #CampaignZero (Black Lives Matter flow chart to attain a world with limited police terror).

Take note of campaign zero’s four person “planning team” these are important facts: “In 2014, Brittany helped bring community voice to the Ferguson Commission and President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing as an appointee to each. She’s been named one of TIME Magazine’s 12 New Faces of Black Leadership”1. This individual works directly for the president.

The remaining three are also heavily connected to non-profits such as Teach for America (TFA), which is also historically connected to maintaining the system. For example: TFA was recently given a grant to continue to project their brand through the media. Furthermore, another member of this four-person team was the other recipient; she is the director of St Louis TFA. TFA is, effectively, the leading edge of the neoliberal attempts to gut city schools and further hinder education equity, which in turn systemically hinders black and brown kids educational achievement under the guise of helping those kids.

As an anarchist, of African descent, I argue that we need revolutionary struggle controlled by the grassroots and not by top-down leaders. It was the domination of top-down leadership from BLM-Minneapolis, and their seemingly unconscious commitment to the system, that effectively steered Northside community militants away from 1) the encampment, 2) becoming further politicized, and 3) in playing any role in the organizing of their own communities self-determination. Their voices were effectively hushed; just as the system we function under has done for centuries to oppressed people of color.

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Categories: Unions

The Strike is On! Texas Prisoners Strike for Human Rights, End to Prison Slavery

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 16:17

TEXAS PRISON STRIKERS UPDATES:
UPDATE 1: Robertson Center is currently locked down due to the strike, despite denial by the TDCJ of such retaliatory actions. ‪#EyesOnTexas‬
UPDATE 2: We have recently received news from someone incarcerated in TX that the TDCJ is threatening prisoners with a 20 day lockdown of the entire prison system statewide in an effort discourage the strike. 'If you don't work for free we'll put you on lockdown'. #EyesOnTexas

CONTACT: Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 816-866-3808, iwoc@riseup.net

Houston, TX. In a historic action, members of the Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) inside Texas prisons announced rolling prison strikes beginning this morning. As of 9:30 AM we have confirmed that Robertson Unit is on lockdown. Roach and Polunsky Units were on lockdown but have been released now.

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Categories: Unions

IWW Newswire: 2016-3

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 19:17

Compiled by x344543 - March 29, 2016

The following news items are culled from various other IWW (and other) internet news portals:

Lead: Other:

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Categories: Unions

Wobbles 2016-4

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 18:11

Compiled by x344543 - March 23, 2016

The following news items may be of interest to revolutionary industrial workers:

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Categories: Unions