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Industrial Worker - Summer 2016

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 19:33

In this issue:

  • BLACK LIVES MATTER: Protests erupt worldwide in response to racist police shootings
  • WORKPLACE ORGANIZING: Workers at Portland fast food chain Burgerville unionize with the IWW
  • SOCIAL WAR IN FRANCE: CNT-F reports on the wave of popular protests sweeping the country

 ....and more! 

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

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Categories: Unions

IWW Newswire: 2016-5

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 19:32

Compiled by x344543 - July 20, 2016

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

IWW 2016 Delegate Convention:
  • IWW members, officers, and branch delegates - Register Now for the 2016 Delegate Convention, September 2-5, Oakland, California
Members' Stories: News: SoapBox: IWW History Reviews:

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Categories: Unions

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