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Industrial Worker August Unions talk tough at US Social Forum

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									 Starbucks charged                                Chicago Couriers: doing                             Boycott Molson beer,                            IWW meets Bangladeshi
 again for firing IWW                             solidarity unionism                                 support Alberta strike                          garment workers
                                       5                               6-7                                                  9                                         11

    Official newspaper                                                Of the
                                                                  August 2007
                                                                                                  industrial wOrkers Of the wOrld
                                                                                               #16 9 8 Vo l. 10 4 N o. 8          $1 / £1 / €1

 Unions talk tough at US Social Forum
 By Jerry Mead-Lucero                                 Big Labor’s involvement in the social           nizers were forced to compromise with           the ILO (International Labour Organi-
      “What is happening in America               forum process, since the first few World            police on a much less confrontational           zation). In April, the ILO declared the
 to workers today is the result of a              Social Forums in Porto Alegre, Brazil,              route due to the opposition of much             North Carolina ban on public sector
 thirty year sustained, intentional,              has served as a way for the AFL-CIO and             of Atlanta ’s business community. A             collective bargaining a violation of
 strategic, assault on workers, unions,           many of the union internationals to mix             destination in the original plan was            international labor standards and called
 our quality of life and our standard of          and mingle with activists from a broad              Grady Hospital, where the green-shirted         for repeal of North Carolina General
 living. It has been a class war against          range of social struggles. The same can             members of Local 1644 had planned               Statute 95-98, the basis of the ban.
 workers and it is time we engage that            be said of the relatively impressive sup-           to express their opposition to a recent             Traditionally, social forum planners
 class war and fought back.”                      port given to the first USSF by organized           decision by the Chamber of Commerce             and participants will engage in a num-
      These words were met by a                   labor.                                              to privatize this public hospital. Still, the   ber of public protests to provide some
 standing ovation from the crowd and                  The role of the labor movement in               march did pass nearby and the AFSCME            level of direct action to the content of
 loud applause. But it is not an IWW              the planning and organizing of the fo-              contingent encouraged rally participants        the forum. In the case of the USSF, a
 speaking. It might surprise you to               rum was apparent at the opening march               to join them in chants of “We are the key       number of these actions focused on
 hear that Stewart Acuff, Organizing              and rally on June 27. Though clearly out-           to saving Grady” and “the community             union or labor campaigns.
 Director for the AFL-CIO, said this              numbered by anti-war, racial justice and            has got the key to saving Grady.”                   United Food and Commercial
 at the Workers’ Rights in the Global             environmental activists, union members                   Struggles of public sector workers         Workers (UFCW) organized a picket
 Economy plenary of the first United              were abundant among the thousand                    were a major theme of labor-focused             outside of a nearby Publix grocery store
 States Social Forum (USSF). I don’t              marchers who made their way through                 workshops at the conference.                    to demand the removal of union-bust-
 expect that Acuff’s speech was meant             the streets of downtown Atlanta. The                     A number of panels featured public         ing Smithfield Foods’ products from
 to announce the Federation’s deci-               original march route was meant to take              employees from North Carolina, one of           store shelves. Supporters of trade
 sion to call for the abolition of the            participants past a number of sites in              only two states (Virginia being the other)      unionists in Colombia took part in an
 wage system or that it will lead to              the city at which workers are engaged in            where collective bargaining for public          action at Coca-Cola headquarters.
 any plans for a nationwide general               struggles with their employers or local             sector workers is explicitly outlawed.              The National Day Laborer Organiz-
 strike. But his words are symbolic of            government.                                         The United Electrical, Radio & Machine          ing Network held a rally protesting the
 mainstream labor’s continued and                     According to the Local 1644 Deputy              Workers of America (UE) Local 150 re-           political position of Republican Senator
 deepening interest in connecting                 Director Nancy Lenk of the American                 cently partnered with unions in Canada          Johnny Isakson. The senator is advocat-
 with other social movements and less             Federation of State, County and Munici-             and Mexico to encourage an investiga-
 traditional forms of organizing.                 pal Employees (AFSCME), march orga-                 tion of the situation in North Carolina by                           Continued on 9

 Colombia still a union death trap                                                                    New York City IWW launches
      Colombian trade unionists con-                  From 1991 to 2006, 2,245 unionists
 tinue to be threatened and killed with
 impunity, said an Amnesty Interna-
                                                  were murdered, 138 disappeared, and
                                                  3,500 had reported receiving threats. In            ‘9 in 90’ organizing drive
 tional report released on July 3.                2006 alone, 77 unionists were killed. The
      The report, “Killings, Arbitrary            guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed                 By Stephanie Basile
 Detentions, and Death Threats: The               Forces of Colombia (FARC) are accused                    In New York City,
 Reality of Trade Unionism in Co-                 of killing six trade unionists, while               wobblies recently marched
 lombia”, denounced the use of terror             the other 92 per cent are attributed to             on HWH Trading Corp to
 tactics by the Colombian military,               paramilitaries and the military. So far in          demand fair pay and better
 pro-government paramilitaries, guer-             2007, 18 union members have died.                   working conditions for the
 rillas and criminals to intimidate,                  A high proportion of human rights               company’s 15 warehouse
 hurt and kill union members in the               abuses against trade unionists take place           employees.
 last decade.                                     during labor disputes which, according                   The July 1 march was the
      The report detailed the stark               to the report, indicates they are targetted         first public action of an am-
 reality of fighting for workers’ rights          for supporting socio-economic rights.               bitious organizing drive that
 in Colombia. In one example, union               The violence affects workers in every               the NYC IWW is undertak-
 leaders in the coastal city of Bucara-           sector: education, health, public services,         ing this summer. Dubbed “9
 manga received paramilitary “death               agriculture, and food processing, among             in 90,” the IWW is hoping to
 certificates” that called for “a Colom-          others.                                             organize nine new shops in
 bia free of trade unionists and guer-                Esteban Beltrán, director of Spain’s            the next 90 days. The drive
 rillas.” Shortly afterward, gunmen               Amnesty International in Madrid said                kicked off in mid-June, and
 killed a union adviser as he drove his           that being a union activist in Colombia is          organizers have already had
 motorcycle through the streets of a              one of the “most dangerous professions              talks with workers from four
 city in the interior, Barranquilla. The          in the world.”                                      shops.
                                                                                                                                                                    Photo by Benjamin Ferguson
 incident demonstrated the deadly                                                                          HWH, a produce dis-
                                                                                                                                      IWWs picket EZ Supply warehouse in New York.
 reach of anti-union killers.                                               Continued on 8            tributor in Queens, is the
                                                                                                      first of the “9 in 90” whose               About 30 people attended, along with
Industrial Worker                                                                                     workers have gone public with their        some flags and makeshift drums. At the
                                                                        Periodicals Postage           IWW membership.                            march, the boss was informed that the
PO Box 13476
                                                                               PAID                        At HWH, workers are not only          workers were demanding he respect
Philadelphia, PA 19101                                                                                expected to work extremely long hours,     minimum wage laws. He agreed to pay
                                                                          Philadelphia, PA
ISSN 0019-8870                                                               and additional           but routinely travel up and down the       workers minimum wage, to pay time and
                                                                             mailing offices          Eastern seaboard. Workers come into        a half for overtime, and to reduce the
ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED                                                                          the warehouse Sunday night, spend the      workers’ weekly hours.
                                                                                                      night loading their trucks and head out         In addition to gaining better working
                                                                                                      for long trips Monday morning. One         conditions, the workers are looking to
                                                                                                      employee works 116 hours per week and      finally collect what they rightfully earned
                                                                                                      makes weekly trips between New York        while working below minimum wage.
                                                                                                      City and Maine, a seven hour drive one     Two days before the march took place,
                                                                                                      way. Another worker makes routine runs workers met with a lawyer from the at-
                                                                                                      between New York City and Syracuse, a      torney general’s office. As a result of the
                                                                                                      four hour drive one way.                   meeting, the attorney general is expected
                                                                                                           The march was held to show that       to launch an investigation into HWH’s
                                                                                                      the workers have the support of fel-       minimum wage violations. The workers
                                                                                                      low wobblies and to officially alert the   are hoping that the investigation will
 Subscribers: The number (top line of label ) reflects the last issue due on your subscription.       boss of their membership in the union.     lead to a win in back-wages.
Page  • Industrial Worker • August 007

                                                        pay, pay no medical health insurance.
                                                        Make millions. I want no part of it.
                                                             The 13th Amendment needs to be
                                                        abolished, taking jobs from people out in
                                                             Spring is a time of renewal. It is also
                                                        the time of the two principal holidays of
                                                        the international working class that are
Slavery in the USA                                      celebrated all over the world: Mayday
                                                        (May 1, International Workers Day) and
                                                        IWD (March 8, International Women’s
     Hello, my name is Brian. I am cur-
                                                             Both of these holidays originated
rently confined to this Missouri state
                                                        with the struggle of workers in America.
gulag. I would like to receive your news-
                                                        Mayday grew out of the fight for the 8-
paper. I am currently in hole and am
                                                        hour day.
unable to pay.
                                                             IWD was first observed on 28 Febru-
     Possible you have any back issues,
                                                        ary 1909 following a declaration by the
could you send them? I saw your address
                                                        Socialist Party of America. Women from
in ‘zine called “Show Me The Money”.
                                                        clothing and textile factories had staged
     I have been in hole past 16 months
                                                        a mass protest on 8 March 1857 in New
because I refuse to be a slave for these                                                                                         Fellow Workers,
                                                                                                                                                                                               Letters Welcome!
                                                        York City.
trolls.                                                                                                                          In his book about coal miners in
                                                             The garment workers were pro-
     That’s right, slavery is going on. The                                                                                  Great Britain, The Road to Wigan Pier,
                                                        testing as what they saw as very poor
13th Amendment to US Constitution al-                                                                                        George Orwell wrote: “The essential                               Send your letters to:
                                                        working conditions and low wages. The
lows it. Lincoln’s Emancipation Procla-
mation didn’t abolish slavery.
                                                        protesters were attacked and dispersed                               point is that all people with small inse-                 with
                                                        by police. These women established their                             cure incomes are in the same boat and
     People were lied to. [It may have]                                                                                                                                                        “Letter” in the subject.
                                                        first labor union in the same month two                              should be fighting on the same side.”
abolished slavery out in society, [but]                                                                                          More and more people in the United
                                                        years later. We could do with that here
prisons are the new slave plantations.                                                                                       States are falling into this category of                          Mailing address:
                                                        and all prison[er]s form a union.
     Top pay in this state is 70 cents an                                                                                    those having “small insecure incomes”.
hour. Some states [have] no pay at all.
                                                                                                                                                                                               IW, PO Box 52003,
                                                              No masters, no slaves,                                                                                                           298 Dalhousie St, Ottawa, ON
Companies come in for the cheap prison                                                                                             In Solidarity,
forced slave labor. No unions, no holiday
                                                              Brian Lester, Licking Missouri                                       Raymond Solomon                                             K1N 1S0 Canada

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                                                                                                                                             August 007 • Industrial Worker • Page 

Canyon Ranch resort takes staff tips
Staff and resort clients file class action to retrieve $6 million
By X351536
     On the morning of June 17, com-           out. Canyon Ranch
munity members and IWWs from the               has a well-deserved
Upstate New York James Connolly IWW            reputation of heavy-
branch staged a solidarity picket at the       handed and arbitrary
Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Lenox,           mistreatment of its
Massachusetts in support of the workers’       employees.
struggle here for economic justice.                 IWW member
     Current and former employees of           Paul Poulos dis-
Canyon Ranch, as well as by patrons of         cussed the picket
the spa, recently filed a class action suit    with a senior man-
alleging that this exclusive resort illegal-   agement employee
ly deprives employees of tips from their       from the Health re-
spa-related services, ranging from body-       sort, who was pump-
work and skin care to the dining hall          ing the wobblies for
and hair salon. Canyon Ranch charges           information about
guests an 18 per cent gratuity fee under       themselves.
the pretense that it passes along this              According to
mandatory tip to its employees.                Poulos, he promised
     “This is a long-standing violation        to pull the picket
undertaken deliberately and willfully          then and there if this
with the outrageous and evil motive of         senior management
maximizing their own profits by misap-         employee could tell
propriating tips and services owed to          him straight that
their employees,” said the legal brief.        Canyon Ranch was
     The class-action suit is retroactive      not stealing work-
for six years, meaning a total of approxi-     ers’ tips. The man
mately $6 million.                             responded: “I cannot
     To add insult to injury, the resort’s     discuss current litiga-
management advertises on their web-            tion.”
site and tells patrons directly not to tip          The picket con-
employees. They tell the guests that           tinued.                                                                                                      Photo by X351536.
employee tips are covered by an 18 per              Many low-level       Commnity members and IWW members picket Canyon Ranch’s main entrance.
cent gratuity charge, and that employ-         managers are se-
ees receive the service fee in addition to     cretly in agreement with the lawsuit. As      designed to limit their ability to earn    want to book services at the last minute,
their regular wages. In reality, the work-     one manager told this writer, “If Can-        money working on the side. Previously,     ignoring the fact that a “bullpen” had
ers who give the services receive nothing      yon Ranch is illegally expropriating tip      if workers were not booked for a service,  been set up for that very purpose, in
from this extra charge, which instead          money they should make it right.” This        they could call in and be taken off the    which workers were paid a base rate to
goes directly into the resort’s coffers. In    same manager added that many of the           schedule for that time, freeing them up    sit and wait voluntarily for bookings.
other words, it’s pure profit for the cor-     recent policy changes for the massage         for freelance work.                             Due to the corporate theft and other
poration at the expense of the workers         therapy staff in particular, originated            Currently, workers must remain on     policy changes which adversely affect the
and patrons.                                   over some managers’ resentment that           site even if they are not booked. There is workers, organizing efforts are underway
     Many employees wanted to be pres-         they were earning less money than the         no base pay for sitting around so this is  at Canyon Ranch in Lenox and threaten
ent at the picket including this writer,       senior workers.                               effectively time and wages lost. Manage-   to spread to corporate headquarters in
who is an IWW member, but were                      Workers in other departments are         ment claims that the policy is designed    Tuscon, Arizona.
afraid of losing their jobs for speaking       also affected by recent policy changes        to make workers available for guests who        Wobblies are also organizing at
                                                                                                                                        another Lenox health resort, the Kripalu
 Preamble of the IWW Constitution                                    Join the IWW Today                                                 Center for Yoga and Health. Workers

      The working class and the employing                                                                                               have filed a lawsuit against the Lenox-
 class have nothing in common. There can
                                                        he IWW is a union for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the
                                                                                                                                        based Cranwell resort over its corporate
 be no peace so long as hunger and want                 job, in our industries and in our communities both to win better conditions
                                                                                                                                        theft of tips. An IWW Health Service
 are found among millions of working                    today and to build a world without bosses, a world in which production and
                                                                                                                                        Workers industrial union is in the works
 people and the few, who make up the em-       distribution are organized by workers ourselves to meet the needs of the entire popu-
                                                                                                                                        to represent employees at all the resorts
 ploying class, have all the good things of    lation, not merely a handful of exploiters.
                                                                                                                                        in the Lenox area.
 life. Between these two classes a struggle         We are the Industrial Workers of the World because we organize industrially
                                                                                                                                             The legal team of Canyon Ranch
 must go on until the workers of the world     – that is to say, we organize all workers on the job into one union, rather than divid-
                                                                                                                                        plans to respond to the class-action
 organize as a class, take possession of the   ing workers by trade, so that we can pool our strength to fight the bosses together.
                                                                                                                                        lawsuit by pleading poverty, according to
 means of production, abolish the wage              Since the IWW was founded in 1905, we have recognized the need to build a truly
 system, and live in harmony with the                                                                                                   our sources. However, Canyon Ranch is
                                               international union movement in order to confront the global power of the bosses
 earth.                                                                                                                                 well able pay up.
                                               and in order to strengthen workers’ ability to stand in solidarity with our fellow
      We find that the centering of the man- workers no matter what part of the globe they happen to live on.                                In addition to the facilities in Tuscon
 agement of industries into fewer and fewer                                                                                             and Lenox, Canyon Ranch operates
                                                    We are a union open to all workers, whether or not the IWW happens to have
 hands makes the trade unions unable to                                                                                                 health spas and clinical services in Las
                                               representation rights in your workplace. We organize the worker, not the job, recog-
 cope with the ever-growing power of the                                                                                                Vegas, Miami, and Cleveland, as well as
                                               nizing that unionism is not about government certification or employer recognition
 employing class. The trade unions foster                                                                                               on board the Queen Mary 2 luxury resort
                                               but about workers coming together to address our common concerns. Sometimes
 a state of affairs which allows one set of                                                                                             liner.
                                               this means striking or signing a contract. Sometimes it means refusing to work with
 workers to be pitted against another set                                                                                                    Canyon Ranch until recently was
                                               an unsafe machine or following the bosses’ orders so literally that nothing gets done.
 of workers in the same industry, thereby                                                                                               owned and operated by Mel Zuckerman
 helping defeat one another in wage wars.
                                               Sometimes it means agitating around particular issues or grievances in a specific
                                                                                                                                        and Jerrold Cohen, with silent part-
 Moreover, the trade unions aid the employ- workplace, or across an industry.                                                           ner investment. Nearly half of Canyon
 ing class to mislead the workers into the          Because the IWW is a democratic, member-run union, decisions about what issues
                                                                                                                                        Ranch is now owned by Crescent Real
 belief that the working class have interests to address and what tactics to pursue are made by the workers directly involved.          Estate Equities Company, based in Fort
 in common with their employers.                          TO JOIN: Mail this form with a check or money order for initiation and        Worth, Texas, which is currently being
      These conditions can be changed and             your first month’s dues to: IWW, Post Office Box 23085, Cincinnati OH             acquired by Morgan-Stanley Realty.
 the interest of the working class upheld             45223, USA.                                                                            According to their figures, Morgan
 only by an organization formed in such                   Initiation is the same as one month’s dues. Our dues are calculated ac-       Real Estate “has acquired $121.5 bil-
 a way that all its members in any one in-            cording to your income. If your monthly income is under $1,000, dues are
 dustry, or all industries if necessary, cease                                                                                          lion of real estate assets worldwide and
                                                      $6 a month. If your monthly income is between $1,000 - $2,000, dues are           currently manages $55.6 billion in real
 work whenever a strike or lockout is on in           $12 a month. If your monthly income is over $2,000 a month, dues are $18
 any department thereof, thus making an                                                                                                 estate on behalf of its clients.”
                                                      a month. Dues may vary in Regional Organizing Committees (Australia,                   With assets such as these and sub-
 injury to one an injury to all.
                                                      Europe).                                                                          stantial backers, it is unlikely the courts
      Instead of the conservative motto, “A
 fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” we
                                                        • I affirm that I am a worker, and that I am not an employer                    and certainly not the workers them-
 must inscribe on our banner the revolu-                • I agree to abide by the IWW constitution                                      selves, will believe a plea of poverty.
 tionary watchword, “Abolition of the wage           • I will study its principles and acquaint myself with its purposes.
 system.”                                                                                                                                  Speak Spanish?
     It is the historic mission of the work-                                Name: ________________________________                         Want to be part of a fighting
 ing class to do away with capitalism. The                                  Address: ______________________________                        union?
 army of production must be organized,                                      City, State, Postcode, Country: ________________
 not only for the everyday struggle with
                                                                            Occupation: ____________________________
                                                                                                                                           The IWW needs you!
 capitalists, but also to carry on production                                                                                              If you can help our Spanish-
 when capitalism shall have been over-                                      Phone: ___________ E-mail:_______________                      language campaigns with
 thrown. By organizing industrially we are
 forming the structure of the new society
                                                                            Amount Enclosed: _________                                     translation or organizing, call
 within the shell of the old.                                               Membership includes a subscription to the Industrial Worker.   IWW headquarters at
                                                                                                                                           513-591-1905. Get involved!
Page  • Industrial Worker • August 007

                                                      Bosses counter
                                                      online campaigns

     A decade ago, South Korean work-       bids it from hosting any content which is       ply because companies
ers used the Internet to distribute live    subject to a legal dispute.                     that give online services
reports (including video) about their            There are certain lessons to be            away for free can change
general strikes. At the time, they were     learned here by unions anywhere which           their policy at any time
way ahead of the rest of the world in       are trying to use the net to organize           and start charging, or
maximizing the use of the new commu-        workers.                                        restricting what we do,
nications technology. They still are.            First of all, backup. The Korean           or even shut down com-
     A union seeking to organize work-      union needed to keep an offline backup          pletely. We need to use
ers at a company called KORENO (a           of all the contacts it had collected            our own sites hosted on
subsidiary of Samsung and a Japanese        through the website. It is staggering to        our own servers where
corporation) set up                                                                             possible.
an online group in                                                                                  And finally, we
October 2006 and                                                                                should not underes-
signed up 110 mem-        Companies are not stupid. They may                                    timate the opposi-
bers. The group was                                                                             tion. It’s all well and
hosted by one of          be aware and look for ways to slow                                    good to delight in the
the largest Korean        and stop our use of powerful new                                      new-found freedom
Internet service                                                                                we have online, with
providers, Daum           technologies.                                                         our ability to launch
Communications.                                                                                 instant campaigns
     So far the story                                                                           and build global net-
is not unlike what                                                                              works at virtually no
many of us have experienced. Many           think that they do not have access to           cost. But companies are
unions use online tools such as Yahoo       contact details of those who wished to          not necessarily stupid.
Groups to help on organizing campaigns. join a union because these were kept by             They may well be aware
     The company management at              the internet service provider.                  of what we are doing and
KORENO did not like the online group,            Second, more backup. Every web-            look for ways—including
so they brought legal action against the    site should be backed up on the union’s         legal action and threats
union. They claimed that the union had      local computers, ready to be moved to           made to internet service
“injured the company’s honor” by pub-       another internet service provider when          providers—to slow down
lishing “false content” online.             and if needed. This is not only important       and even stop our use
     At the same time, they wrote to the    in cases like KORENO where censorship           of these powerful new
internet service provider demanding that is at work, but more typically when a              technologies.
they shut down the union’s web pres-        union needs to change internet providers             A decade ago,
ence. Daum Communications promptly          to save money or get better service. The        Korean unions were
did this, not only denying the union a      LabourStart website, for example, is now        showing unions around
platform but also denying them access       on its fourth hosting company-meaning           the world our future. We
to details about individual workers who     that on three separate occasions in less        were seeing how web
had used the site to express their interest than ten years we have had to move all          pages could be created
in joining the union.                       our content.                                    in real time and global
     The union and its supporters are            Third, we should not over-rely on          solidarity built online.
furious, claiming that this is all a form   free online tools. Things like Daum’s           Today we’re seeing what
of censorship. They point out that there    network of “cafes” or Yahoo Groups may          happens next: a corpo-
has been no court ruling regarding the      seem quite tempting, but can obviously          rate counterattack that
company’s claim that the site is libellous. be easily taken away from us. And again,        is increasingly sophisti-
     Daum says that its own policy for-     not only in cases of censorship, but sim-       cated and effective.

Solidarity unions must be more than paper tigers
By Todd Hamilton
    Simply put, solidarity unionism                                                                                                         hallmark in every campaign. It might
is organizing as a group of workers to                                                                                                      make more sense to keep the boss in the
change a workplace, workplace, indus-                                                                                                       dark about union activity at a shop or in
try or economy to what we want. This                                                                                                        an industry, until we have built a wide
simple idea is not fleshed out systemati-                                                                                                   enough base of support and won some
cally either in practice or in theory. Soli-                                                                                                victories. The solidarity union would
darity unionism leads us to change our                                                                                                      only announce its presence if it present-
understanding of what the ‘union’ means                                                                                                     ed a strategic advantage.
for us, as well as where we intervene and                                                                                                       We can also be strategic about who
put our emphasis in struggle.                                                                                                               and when we sign members up. Rather
    There is no blue print for how to or-      move towards a revolutionary under-          is weakest where workers play a second-         than having the goal of organizing being
ganize in general, but that doesn’t mean       standing and practice. As they grow          ary role.                                       to just get people to sign cards whether
we can’t develop strategies to pursue our      stronger, these worker organizers can             Union bureaucracies also have this         they want to participate or not, member-
goals. Previous writers such as Alexis         apply deeper pressure in their industry      effect. Union officers who have all the         ship can be an action itself, a positive
Buss and Staughton Lynd have focused           and avoid deflating the struggle through     power and knowledge, in effect subordi-         step a worker can take in furthering the
on how we can organize without falling         mechanisms that strip workers’ power.        nate workers to their own union by forc-        struggle and building worker conscious-
back on some of the familiar features               Solidarity unionism advocates have      ing them to go through the acceptable           ness. We can keep membership for
of union organizing. These features            argued for organizing, even if only a mi-    tools of struggle. Membership-based             workers who want to be an active part
included comprehensive contracts, elec-        nority of workers are involved, regard-      drives sink huge efforts into getting           of the organization, who are ready to
tion-based organizing campaigns requir-        less of whether or not the boss and/or       people to sign cards and vote for a union.      join, and who have experienced class
ing a majority of workers, and involving       state recognize the union. This organiz-     However, once that is done, the work-           struggle and organization together with
directly the mediating bureaucracies and       ing recognizes where workers’ power          ers’ role is done, too. There is often little   the union.
institutions such as the courts, union         is the greatest—in the workplace and         benefit for workers who are passive in              This idea is a positive feature, rather
bureaucracies, lawyers, politicians and        community—and strategically chooses          relation to their union hierarchy.              than a restrictive one. By signing up
parties that alienate workers’ power.          how to fight back, while avoiding the in-         Solidarity unionism is about orga-         members who are active members, we
    Solidarity unionism presents its           stitutions that often act against workers’   nizing whether we’re recognized or not,         can draw a line in the sand between
own challenges and poses new ques-             interests.                                   whether there’s a contract or not, and,         unions that are paper tigers, and unions
tions. For me, the rough model has                  We have hit some walls while trying     most of all, settling worker issues by the      like us that exist in our actions, educa-
experienced workers participating in           to organize workers. Gaining contracts       workers directly. Contracts, lawsuits, ar-      tion, and struggle.
workplace struggles where demands              have helped kill job actions by forc-        bitration are not ends in themselves, but           Send your submissions for “Work-
are won through direct action. Workers         ing workplace gripes into a mediating        only tactics that feed into our strategy.       ers Power” to forworkerspower@gmail.
are brought into the organization and          bureaucracy that is hostile to workers.           This understanding leads to a deeper       com. For more on solidarity unionism,
develop as organizers through these            Hierarchical institutions choose to put      perspective on strategy. For instance,          don’t miss our Chicago Couriers Union
struggles. This experience helps them          struggle into realms where worker power      we don’t need to fly the union flag as a        feature on pages 6 and 7 of this issue.
                                                                                                                                                 August 007 • Industrial Worker • Page 

Save Crichton campus campaign needs support
    The Scottish National Party (SNP),              At stake are at least 40 jobs, includ-
which had made saving the Crichton            ing the jobs of IWW members on Crich-
campus a campaign promise, won the            ton campus.
May 3 Scottish parliamentary election.             “If we can win here, and organise
    With just one more parliamentarian        this university—this is our first major
than its rival, the Scottish Labour Party,    struggle in that battle—then we can
the SNP is now under pressure to deliver      surely demonstrate the real power of the
what it promised.                             organised working class. We can show
    It is “pretty clear” that the new gov-    by example the utter indefatigible neces-
ernment is putting pressure on the board      sity of organising workers into one big
of Glasgow University and the Scottish        industrial union,” said Durie.
Funding Council, a quasi-autonomous                The IWW Save Crichton campaign is
funding agency for higher education.          asking IWWs to send an email or letter
    The IWW in Scotland is asking for         or telephone Glasgow University in sup-
people to pile on the pressure by making      port of keeping the campus open.
a wave of calls to save the Crichton cam-          Contact the Principal, Sir Muir Rus-
pus to the new ministers and make sure        sell and complain at the decision. Email:
they know it has popular support.   ; Tel: 0141 330 5995.
    “What a change,” said Nick Durie, an      Contact the Scottish Funding Council
IWW organizer on the campaign. “We’re         and urge them to help Glasgow Univer-
doing our bit here, fighting within the       sity find a resolution to this problem
trade unions to get them to act, and          Email: Contact
acting on the ground with the resources       Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Education
our small job branch and campaign have        and Lifelong Learning, and urge her to
mustered, to the point where we have          act quickly to help resolve the situation.     IWWs march to demand that Crichton campus remains open.
made quite an impression, but we need         Email: Fiona.Hyslop.msp@scottish.              school on the main campus, thus forcing         have no other higher education facility
your help urgently to secure a victory.”                                 young people to leave their region to find      and while they suffer economically from
    September, the start of a new se-              Make sure they know that Glasgow          education and opportunity; that Sir Muir        a gap in graduates and graduate jobs.
mester, is the deadline for the university    University made a £2 million profit; that      Russell has a poor financial track record           We need your support now, so send
to make a decision on whether to go           it is unacceptable to shut down a liberal      and his opinion cannot be trusted; and          your letter today and help us save Crich-
through with the campus closure or not.       arts school and replace it with a business     that Dumfries and Galloway provinces            ton campus and build the IWW.

NLRB charges Starbucks for firing IWW—again
     Less than three months after the
National Labor Relations Board hit Star-
                                                                                                                                             Barista homeless
bucks with a 30-count legal complaint,
the federal labor agency has once again                                                                                                           The IWW Starbucks Workers Union
accused the coffee giant of breaking the                                                                                                     is calling for solidarity to defend Simone
law in a continuing effort to undermine                                                                                                      Gordon, a black Starbucks barista who
the IWW Starbucks Workers Union.                                                                                                             was demoted and had her schedule cut
     Based on an independent investiga-                                                                                                      to just five hours per week on New Year’s
tion into the company’s conduct, the                                                                                                         Day.
Board has alleged that Starbucks fired                                                                                                            Gordon’s store manager, Graham
outspoken union barista, Isis Saenz, for                                                                                                     Higgins, accused her of being racist
protected organizing activity.                                                                                                               against white people at the store in a
     “It’s beyond dispute now that Star-                                                                                                     New Jersey mall and stated that she
bucks is waging one of the most relent-                                                                                                      wasn’t fit to be a leader in the store.
less anti-union operations in the United                                                                                                          “The allegation that Ms. Gordon is
States today,” said Stuart Lichten, the                                                                                                      racist is so patently absurd that we won’t
IWW’s attorney on the case. “If Wal-                                                                                                         even dignify it with a response. Suffice it
Mart has a soulmate in the union-bust-                                                                                                       to say, Simone Gordon, who has a white
ing arena, it’s Starbucks.”                                                                                                                  grandparent, opposes all forms of dis-
     Starbucks fired Ms. Saenz after she                                                                                                     crimination,” said a Starbucks Workers
participated in a union protest at a Park                                                                                                    Union statement.
Avenue, New York Starbucks where                                                                                                                  The demotion and cut in hours has
Chairman Howard Schultz was sched-                                                                                                           forced Gordon onto the street and onto
uled to attend a book release event.                                                                                                         welfare. She was also caring for her
Protesters called on the company to pay                                                                                                      father, who is suffering from a heart
a living wage and respect the right to                                                                                                       illness.
organize.                                                                                                                                         Since Higgins began to spread the
     “Shame, shame,” the protesters                                                                                                          rumors, one customer requested that
chanted, when Starbucks Regional Vice                                                                         Graphic by Benjamin Ferguson   “the black girl who doesn’t like white
President Jim McDermott exited the                                                                                                           people” not touch her drink.
store.                                                                                                                                            Management has also criticized
     Starbucks was upset that Saenz                                                                                                          Gordon for wearing her hair in an Afro
referred to McDermott informally as           ers would “reach out” to the Starbucks              Starbucks workers can earn a start-        on occasion and for “the way she talks,”
“Jimmy” and fired her. In response,           Workers Union. Ms. Sykes spoke out             ing wage as low as $6 or $7 an hour and         according to the union. The union said
working people in the United States and       after several incidents of age discrimina-     are prohibited from obtaining full-time         it is planning to lay legal charges against
abroad took to the streets in a global day    tion including one instance of being told      status. While the company boasts of its         Starbucks.
of action to condemn the firing.              that “even 16 year olds” could learn to        health care offering, Starbucks actu-                In the face of this racist harassment,
     “With this complaint, workers every-     make drinks quicker than her.                  ally insures a lower percentage of its          Gordon is fighting back as a member of
where should rest assured that calling            “This settlement is a victory for every    workforce than Wal-Mart, a company              the Starbucks Workers Union.
your boss by his or her first name at a       barista, older and younger, who are fed        notorious for its unaffordable health care            “I always had to fight for things- I’ve
union protest is protected,” said Alex        up with the lack of guaranteed work            package.                                        been on my own since I was 17. I want to
Van Schaick, an IWW barista at the Park       hours at Starbucks,” said Sykes.                    Due to understaffing, baristas are         fight because if they’re going to do this
Avenue store. “Even if you add a ‘y’.”            “We have a right to demand a secure        often forced to work at an unsafe speed,        to other people I’m not going to allow
                                              work schedule with a union and this            exposing themselves to the risk of repeti-      it. No one should be treated like trash.
Chicago IWW reinstated                        settlement proves it.”                         tive stress injuries and burns.                 We’re all human; we’re all taxpayers. No
    Starbucks is now having to deal with          Starbucks denied wrongdoing in the              The IWW Starbucks Workers Union            matter our salary, no matter a fancy car,
the backlash of its policy of firing union    out-of-court settlement.                       is an organization of employees at the          we’re all equal,” said Gordon.
organizers.                                                                                  world’s largest coffee chain united for              The Starbucks Workers Union is ask-
    Starbucks settled with a fired Chi-                                                      dignity on the job and in society. Since        ing people to email Starbucks Chairman
cago barista in June, offering to reinstate   Starbucks on trial in New York City            the founding of the union in 2004, Star-        Howard Schultz at hschultz@starbucks.
her and pay an undisclosed settlement             The trial against Starbucks on all the     bucks workers have joined at multiple           com, as well
sum.                                          outstanding New York charges began on          stores in several US states.                    as copy your message to the Starbucks
    The company had fired Gloria Sykes,       July 9, 2007. Last year, the coffee giant           Pressure from the union against            Workers Union to demand Simone
55, a Chicago barista, who told manage-       entered a lengthy settlement agreement         Starbucks has resulted in wage increases        Gordon’s immediate reinstatement to
ment that if they didn’t make changes         with the federal government in the first       and the remedy of a diverse array of            her former position and compensation
with respect to age discrimination            labor case brought by baristas in the          grievances from pregnancy discrimina-           for the losses she has suffered over the
and scheduling, she and her co-work-          United States.                                 tion to health and safety violations.           last seven months.
Page  • Industrial Worker • August 007

Chicago Couriers Union: a lesson for
    IWW member Colin Bossen deliv-                                                                                                        union. He argued that the first two tasks
ered a talk on the IWW’s Chicago Couri-                                                                                                   of organizing a union were to develop a
ers Union at the Provisions Library in                                                                                                    social map of the industry and gather a
Washington, DC on June 8. The Insti-                                                                                                      contact list for as many workers as pos-
tute for Anarchist Studies and Provi-                                                                                                     sible, so it was best to keep the organiz-
sions Library supported his work along                                                                                                    ing quiet. The meeting ended with plans
with the CCU organizers interviewed.                                                                                                      to hold another information meeting
This article is an edited version of his                                                                                                  and proceed from there. A questionnaire
presentation.                                                                                                                             was circulated, but few people filled it
What is solidarity unionism?                                                                                                              out in time for the next meeting. The
     Solidarity unionism is a term and an                                                                                                 information asked for was the number
organizing strategy coined by the labor                                                                                                   of people in the company, their names,
historian and activist Staughton Lynd in                                                                                                  contact information, demographics and
his book of the same name. He defines                                                                                                     social groupings, and the owner of the
solidarity unionism as “relying, not on                                                                                                   company.
technical expertise, or the numbers of                                                                                                         The second information meeting was
signed-up members, nor on bureaucratic                                                                                                    held in a messenger’s home. More than
chain-of-command, but the spark that                                                                                                      20 people came. Few people had filled
leaps from person to person, especially                                                                                                   out the survey, so discussion turned to
in times of common crisis.”                                                                                                               their working conditions and what could
                                              Arrow messengers during a work stoppage in 2005.                          CCU file photo.
     Lynd’s solidarity unionism has six                                                                                                   be done about them immediately. Arrow
basic characteristics: voluntary member-      alism, specifically how labor contracts    (ILWU) in San Francisco, had created a           Messenger Service had recently institut-
ship, no dues check-off, no paid officers     could turn the union into a cop for the    similar organization. The Chicago IWWs           ed a policy that called for messengers to
or staff, democratic decision-making          boss, enforcing discipline among the       felt this experience would give the IWW          cover their tattoos and remove piercings.
with everyone empowered to “criticize         union’s members. Glaberman had a sec-      legitimacy among messengers and that             Chicago bike messengers, particularly
frankly and fully”, a focus on direct         ond key insight that “activity precedes    they could draw directly on the wisdom           white messengers, tended to have a lot of
action rather than collective bargain-        consciousness.” This meant that people     gained by other IWW organizers through           piercings and tattoos. People were pissed
ing agreements, and internationalism          respond to workplace situations emo-       their own struggles. IWW members had             off. The IWW organizers at that meeting
that seeks to build networks of workers       tionally before they respond rationally    begun already to develop a few relation-         wanted to build infrastructure and lay
“across boundaries of nation, gender,         and often take actions in a way that con-  ships with messengers. This meant that           campaign groundwork, rather than do a
and religious faith.”                         tradicts their presupposed beliefs, and in getting a foothold in the industry would         strike or job action so the meeting ended
     Lynd contrasts solidarity unionism       the case of unions, contractual agree-     be easier.                                       without a clear plan of action.
with the business unionism of the large       ments. Glaberman’s favorite example             Although no one in the IWW knew it               The IWW organizers decided to build
AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions.             of this was during World War II when       at the time, members of the bike mes-            the courier union’s infrastructure, map
Lynd identified three characteristics in-     workers at the autoplants would sign no-   senger community had been shopping               the industry and gather contacts. The
herent to business unions: being govern-      strike agreements with management and      around for a union for several months            organizers also recognized they lacked
ment-sponsored monopolies that [try] to       then would spontaneously go on strike      before conversations between messen-             the experience, so petitioned the General
force all persons working in a particular     over safety issues.                        gers and IWW members even began.                 Executive Board for funds to bring in
shop to join the union and deducts dues           Weir, in his essay “The Informal            In June 2003, there had been an             Pete to kick start the campaign. With the
directly from a workers’ paycheck; agree-     Work Group,” reinforced this idea that     effort to create a Windy City Bike Mes-          funds approved, Pete planned to come to
ing to collective bargaining agreements       consciousness comes from activity and      sengers Association (WCBMA). The ef-             Chicago from late March to mid-June to
that grant management exclusive power         the experience of working and social-      fort was led, in part, by Andrea Murphy          teach workers how to organize, handle
to make the crucial on-the-job and in-        izing together. These informal work        and was the third attempt at creating a          grievances and devise strategy.
vestment decisions alongside a no-strike      groups, the social groups that people      bike messenger association in the city.
clause prohibiting direct action of all       form at work, were for Weir the heart      Murphy had participated in the WCBMA             ‘Hot Shop’ at Arrow
forms during the contract; and, under-        of the union, with each having its own     with the clear intent that it would be-               Before Pete arrived, things began
mining and preventing the formation of        culture, “informal leadership, discipline, come a union and had even gone so far            to get hot at Arrow. A few of the mes-
independent labor parties, locally and        and activity.”                             as to attend a weekend training put on           sengers had reached a breaking point
nationally. Business unions are “orga-                                                   by the AFL-CIO.                                  and wanted to strike over the new tattoo
nized from [the] top down,” devoted to        First steps to organize                         Under Murphy’s guidance, the first          and piercing policy. They invited two of
keeping the labor peace and relying on             The campaign to organize what is      act of the WCBMA had been to invite a            the IWW organizers to attend a meeting
paid staff who don’t include workers in       now the Chicago Couriers Union began       trainer from the AFL-CIO Organizing              where they discussed what to do. The
processing grievances or making deci-         among young                                                           Insitute to meet      organizers talked them out of striking,
sions.                                        members of the                                                        with messen-          reasoning that they did not have the sup-
     While past IWWs may have prac-           Chicago Gen-         We need to create situa-                         gers. While           port or organization to win. In retrospect
ticed something like solidarity unionism,     eral Member-                                                          about 40 people       I cannot help but wonder to what extent
this organizing theory was introduced to      ship Branch of       tions where bosses will                          attended the          we performed the function described by
the IWW in 2000 by the IWW’s then-            the IWW who          offer us concessions to get                      meeting noth-         Glaberman of keeping workers in check
General Secretary-Treasurer Alexis Buss.      decided that they                                                     ing substantive       in that case. On the other hand, the mes-
     “We must stop making gaining legal       wanted try to
                                                                   our cooperation.                                 came of it be-        sengers in question probably would have
recognition the point of our organizing.      organize a soli-                       —Alexis Buss                   cause the AFL-        never thought of striking without having
We have to bring about a situation where      darity union. In                                                      CIO trainer told      talked to the IWW in the first place.
the bosses, not the union, want the           Fall 2003, several                                                    the messengers        In her final report as a CCU organizer
contract. We need to create situations        members of the                                                        they needed to        Andrea Murphy is critical of the IWW
where bosses will offer us concessions        Chicago IWW                                                           organize before       organizers.
to get our cooperation,” said Buss in her     met and decided to organize the courier    even approaching a union for help.                    “A couple of messengers at Arrow
Industrial Worker column.                     industry in Chicago.                            The initial purpose of the WCBMA            were feeling exploited enough to want to
     A union is not a union because it gets        The couriers had no union or pros-    had been “to tackle on-the-job issues”           do the most daring thing they could do
legal sanction from the government or         pect of a business union interested in     but after the AFL-CIO meeting this focus         in their position. In the end, the outcome
a contract from the boss, said Buss in an-    organizing them. The industry’s high       was eventually lost. As the WCBMA                was no different than it would have been
other column. Rather, a union is simply       turnover and unique subculture seemed      unravelled, the IWW stepped into the             had they been fired [most of the messen-
any “organized group of workers” that         to be well suited for a solidarity union-  vacuum. Conversations between the                gers in question quit Arrow]. Because of
comes together to have “more poten-           ism campaign. At the same time, these      remnants of the WCBMA and the IWW’s              the desire to keep the campaign under-
tial power than unorganized individual        traits made winning a National Labor       organizing committee resulted in the             cover and the (imagined) responsibil-
workers.” This redefinition of the union      Relations Board-sponsored election at      decision to bring IWW organizer and              ity they assumed for the results of the
shifted the power back to workers. In         a single company unlikely. Chicago has     former bike messenger ‘Lil Pete out from         campaign, a genuine passion to do some-
the United States, any group of workers       dozens of messenger companies.             Portland for a week. During Pete’s time          thing was stifled.
engaged in concerted activity has legal            Messengers also potentially have      in Chicago, he spoke with Chicago mes-                “I challenge every
protections under the National Labor          an enormous amount of power on the         sengers about organizing with the IWW            think about how best to direct energy
Relations Act. These rights include           job. Packages must be delivered in a set   and the union held a public forum to             rather than subduing or controlling it.
presenting grievances, working together,      amount of time; it was possible for a      discuss the idea.                                Consider what it might look like to lead
making demands on the boss, seeking           courier to use direct action to delay and       After flyering and word of mouth, a         from behind. I caution against talking
meetings, and even striking.                  disrupt a company’s business. In theory,   publicity a forum was held in mid-De-            anyone out of doing anything, as this
     Buss also encouraged wobblies to         couriers could be organized around spe-    cember 2003. At least 40 people came,            requires too much influence over the
look at the work of two of Lynd’s men-        cific grievances rather than the idea of a many were veterans of the industry.              passions of peoples,” said Murphy.
tors, Stan Weir and Martin Glaberman.         union contract.                            There was both excitement and fear
Weir and Glaberman were both working               The IWW also had a recent history     about the possibility of forming a union.        Problems with top-down organizing
class intellectuals who wrote about the       of organizing in the courier industry.     Grievances began to emerge, in particu-              In this instance, the IWW organizers
structural problems of the American           From 2000-2002, Wobblies in Portland       lar, several people were upset about be-         had begun to make decisions about the
labor movement. Weir spent much of his        had built a union of bike messengers       ing independent contractors rather than          direction of the campaign without real
life working as a sailor, a longshoreman      that succeeded in winning a number         employees. There was also talk about             input from workers in the industry. We
or an autoworker in California. Glaber-       of substantive demands, including a        next steps and a general sense that secu-        wanted people to think and act strategi-
man was a Detroit autoworker.                 pay raise, at Transerv, one of the larger  rity was important. Messengers feared            cally while they often wanted to solve
     Glaberman’s work focused on the          messenger companies. Only the Interna- losing their jobs. At the meeting, Pete              their problems immediately. As organiz-
problems inherent in union contractu-         tional Longshore and Warehouse Union       outlined a basic strategy for building the       ers from outside the industry, we were
                                                                                                                                                 August 007 • Industrial Worker • Page 7

IWW solidarity union organizers
not initially accountable to the                                                                                                                    We formed the Stop NICA! com-
messengers. They had not elected                                                                                                               mittee with the goal to drive NICA out
us and the power that they had                                                                                                                 of the industry. The committee would
over us essentially amounted to                                                                                                                fight NICA on both a legal level, by
whether they participated in the                                                                                                               filing claims for unemployment and
activities that we organized or                                                                                                                workmen’s compensation with the
not. It took several years to break                                                                                                            various government agencies as if the
this pattern.                                                                                                                                  workers in question were employees,
     Our strategies would prove                                                                                                                and through direct action. The Stop
later on to have limited, if any,                                                                                                              NICA! committee hoped to convince
success. With organizing at Ar-                                                                                                                companies that they should switch their
row stifled, we began the task of                                                                                                              workers back to employee status and
building an Industrial Organiz-                                                                                                                prevent NICA’s spread elsewhere.
ing Committee. We selected a                                                                                                                        The committee lasted the summer
group of four workers to be its                                                                                                                and had moderate successes, winning
first members. They were chosen                                                                                                                five workman’s compensation cases and
because we thought them to be                                                                                                                  holding a series of pickets that delayed,
leaders within the messenger                                                                                                                   but did not stop, NICA from spreading
community. All four of them were                                                                                                               to two companies.
white and all former WCBMA           Bike messengers at a 2004 union picnic.                                                  CCU file photo.       Andrea Murphy came onto the
members. One of the first tasks we set      learned about the fine when he saw a          almost entirely of bike messengers. We              campaign as a full-time paid organizer to
for the group was to recruit members        $50 deduction from his paycheck. Such         knew we had to bring driver messengers              speed up and focus the work. She decid-
who more accurately represented the         deductions are illegal under Illinois law.    into the campaign if it was to succeed.             ed that it was time “to end the secrecy”
demographics of the messenger indus-             Scott and the Standard Courier shop           This effort failed due to different            that had surrounded the campaign since
try. About half of the couriers in Chicago  committee confronted management,              work cultures. Driver messengers are                the beginning. Murphy threw CCU meet-
are black and we realized that we would     demanded Scott be reimbursed and an           an atomized workforce isolated in their             ings open to all couriers who came.
never be able to organize the industry      end to the uniform policy. Management         vehicles at work and during breaks. Bike                 “Every working messenger would
without a union that reflected the people insisted that the messengers at Standard        messengers congregate together during               have a voice and a vote at meetings, with
in the industry.                            were independent contractors. The shop        their downtime. The bike messenger                  the exception that only members of the
     We also developed a larger strategy    committee reasoned that independent           subculture also can be elitist and alienat- CCU in good standing could vote on
for the campaign based on Pete’s experi-    contractors could not be required to          ing to non-members.                                 money matters,” said Murphy.
ences in Portland, the theory of solidar-   wear uniforms. Over the course of a                It was around this time that MK took                The CCU elected a secretary, Mar-
ity unionism and studying the industrial    week and a half, Scott and six of his co-     a job with Arrow as a bike messenger                shall Arnold, a former Arrow dispatcher
union structures of the IWW in the                                                                                                            who worked at Dynamex. The group held
twenties and thirties. Our idea was that                                                                                                      workshops, advocated for messengers to
we would organize two types of commit-                                                                                                        city hall, and organized around grievanc-
tees. The first would be shop committees                                                                                                      es and industry issues. Arnold believes
composed of members of the union who                                                                                                          that in some ways the union’s biggest
worked at a particular company. They                                                                                                          accomplishment is that it continues to
would handle the grievances that arose                                                                                                        exist.
at that workplace. Each shop committee                                                                                                             In Fall 2006, the CCU began a cam-
would elect a member to serve on an in-                                                                                                       paign to the get one of the buildings in
dustry wide organizing committee that,                                                                                                        downtown Chicago, 135 S. Lasalle, to in-
in turn, would handle the grievances that                                                                                                     stall a messenger center that would allow
could not be dealt with on a company by                                                                                                       couriers to easily drop off their packages
company basis.                                                                                                                                as reported in the June 2007 Industrial
     Once the union got strong enough                                                                                                         Worker. What is exciting is that this
the industrial organizing committee, we                                                                                                       campaign is that is the first major effort
would issue a set of demands for indus-                                                                                                       spearheaded by the couriers themselves.
try-wide standards and then go about                                                                                                          Nearly four years later, the dream of a
trying to enforce these through direct                                                                                                        solidarity union for the courier industry
action. The members of the industrial                                                                                                         may be happening.
organizing committee selected the other
members of the committee, often with                                                                                                          Learning five lessons on the job
heavy input from Pete, MK and I.                                                                                                                   Looking back, we learned five les-
     The goal was to develop the shop                                                                                                         sons. First is that a campaign initiated by
committees to the point where they                                                                                                            outsiders cannot follow the pure model
would elect their own representatives to                                                                                                      of solidarity unionism advocated by
the IOC. This never happened, probably                                                                                                        Lynd. IWW organizers often found their
because the structure we wanted was                                                                                                           ideas in conflict with the couriers work-
                                            Chicago Couriers Union pickets the Lasalle building in 2007. Photo by by X353650.
imposed upon the workers and did not                                                                                                          ing in the industry. This conflict stifled
arise naturally out of their day-to-day     workers marched on their boss to issue        and focussed on building a shop com-                these workers and slowed the campaign.
work experiences. To put it bluntly, we     their demands. After the third march,         mittee at Arrow. His work led to a major                 Second, building a union takes a long
had miscalculated their informal work       management rescinded the uniform              campaign to change working conditions               time and organizing requires dedication
groups.                                     policy, refunded Scott $50 and fired him. and pay. This switch of focus by a key                  and patience. The CCU is only a success
                                                 Scott’s firing turned out to have a sil- organizer prompted the end of the IOC.              because organizers stuck with it for sev-
Changing organizing strategies              ver lining. The same day he was fired, he          The union then decided to concen-              eral years. The industry’s high turnover
     Pete returned to Chicago in late       filed an Unfair Labor Practice with the       trate efforts on fighting independent               raises the question of how to create
March and we began to implement our         NLRB charging Standard Courier with           contractor status. In Chicago, and across stability for a successful union.
strategy. Through a lot of diligent work    punishing him for union activity. Several the country, many messengers are con-                        Third, informal work groups matters
in Pete’s absence, we had managed to        months later Standard settled the charge sidered independent contractors by their a lot. The union failed to bring in drivers
create an almost complete map of the        and offered Scott $3,000. In the mean-        employers. The reasoning of the employ- because they belonged to a different set
industry and collect the contact informa- time, Scott had also filed a claim with the ers is that messengers are able to decide               of informal work groups.
tion for close to 650 messengers, roughly Illinois Department of Employment Se-           whether or not they will accept a particu-               Fourth, structures must evolve
45 per cent of the people working in the    curities. The claim resulted in a decision    lar package from a dispatcher and, there- organically. Efforts to create the IOC,
industry. The near-heroic efforts of mes- “that Standard’s workers are employees          fore, are independent. As independent               the Stop NICA! committee, and the shop
sengers made this possible.                 and not independent contractors as the        contractors, couriers are responsible               committees failed because organizers
     Pete’s arrival in Chicago kicked the   company has claimed.”                         for their own taxes, denied workman’s               imposed them artificially onto the indus-
campaign into high gear. With Pete in            During that time the couriers won        compensation, unemployment insurance try. The structure of the CCU ultimately
town, we organized several shop com-        a small victory at the Comet messenger        and even a right to a minimum wage or               succeeded because it reflected the social
mittees. Our plan was to build the union    company. Comet employed primarily             overtime pay.                                       dynamics of bike messenger culture,
slowly by winning small grievances at       black workers. A couple of bike messen-            Government agencies have mostly                which is part of a community. Organiz-
individual work places. However, no         gers from Comet joined the union and          rejected the employers’ claim. But most             ers should pay careful attention to the
committee was capable of functioning        told the IOC that “workers paychecks          messengers do not know this and so the              indigenous forms of organizing that exist
without an IWW organizer present. Two       did not amount to minimum wage.”              companies get away with it. The North               and seek to capitalize on them.
organizer trainings were held, but they     The messengers began to organize. The         American Independent Contractor As-                      Fifth, organizers need clear goals.
failed to empower couriers to be inde-      threat of organizing pushed manage-           sociation (NICA) helps them do it. When Organizing at Arrow and now around
pendent organizers. Despite these weak-     ment to enforce minimum wage laws.            a messenger gets a job with a company               135 S. Lasalle, has been successful
nesses, the shop committees achieved             Pete left in June and his absence was that uses NICA she or he is told they are              because the organizers had and have
limited success.                            immediately felt. MK and I lacked his         contracted through NICA and merely                  both clear goals and a plan of action.
     Our first victory came when Scott      experience at group facilitation. The or-     assigned to work for the courier compa-             This clarity makes it much easier to get
Gibson, one of the members of the IOC,      ganizing faltered and changed direction.      ny’s dispatchers. NICA messengers are               people to join in the organizing and un-
was fined illegally “when he was caught          We decided to aggressively reach out charged a weekly fee and must pay for                   derstand why it might benefit them.
not wearing a company-required uni-         to driver messengers. Up until this point, using the radio equipment. These fees                       For infomation or citations, contact
form” by Standard Courier. Scott only       participation in the union had consisted      can be quite high, up to $100 per month. Colin at
Page  • Industrial Worker • August 007

Review                                                                                                                                     run factories and Mexico’s Zapatistas,
                                                                                                                                           the “Oaxaca Commune” will likely be a

Snapshot of ‘Oaxaca commune’                                                                                                               subject for more books and articles over
                                                                                                                                           the next few years. They will be able to
                                                                                                                                           offer more analysis and different per-
                                                                                                                                           spectives from Davies’ version.
    The People Decide: Oaxaca’s Popu-        governor Ulises                                                        that prefers to             The APPO itself is a hotly contested
lar Assembly, by Nancy Davies. Narco         Ruiz Ortiz must                                                        ignore or sen-         political organization involving several
News Books, 2007, US$17.                     leave office.                                                          sationalize it.        factions, making it hard for any author
                                                  Police and                                                        to accurately characterize it. Some activ-
Review by Paul Bocking                       other authorities                                                      is the best inde-      ists in Oaxaca have said that not touch-
     The popular uprising in the southern    were driven out,                                                       pendent online         ing this issue is a major oversight. Aside
Mexican state of Oaxaca was one of this      and government                                                         news source in         from this limitation, The People Decide
country’s biggest untold stories from        offices occupied                                                       English (and           has a sense of immediacy one can feel
2006, a precipitous year full of protests,   or blockaded in                                                        one of the best        while reading each entry.
strikes and repression across the nation.    cities, towns and                                                      in Spanish) on              Wobblies have participated in soli-
The People Decide is a diary-like com-       villages across                                                        Mexico’s social        darity protests against state violence in
pilation by Nancy Davies of day-to-day       Oaxaca. Commer-                                                        movements.             Oaxaca, wrote and distributed articles
first-person news stories chronicling the    cial and govern-                                                       Its publica-           in both the Industrial Worker and the
movement led by the Popular Assembly         ment-run radio                                                         tion in April of       IWW’s Spanish-language newsletter
of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and          stations were                                                          this collection        Solidaridad, and visited to build direct
the state local of the national teacher’s    taken over by                                                          of articles is         links between the IWW and local organi-
union. This movement demanded the            teachers and other                                                     certainly timely,      zations. I hope IWW members continue
ousting of an authoritarian governor and     activists to serve                                                     considering the        to support the popular movements of
the creation of a truly democratic society   as the movement’s                                                      events it depicts      Oaxaca, and draw inspiration from their
led by the poor Indigenous majority in       primary form of                                                        occurred only          struggles. For an excellent account of the
Oaxaca.                                      communications.                                                        several months         first six months of the Oaxaca uprising,
     Davies is an American retiree who       Following months                                                       earlier.               and a sign of what may be to come for
has lived in Oaxaca for the past eight       of paramilitary violence and harass-               As with other contemporary social          the rest of Mexico, The People Decide is
years. These reports on the struggle         ment conducted against teachers and             movements such as Argentina’s worker-         a great read.
unfolding around her were published          the APPO, resulting in dozens of disap-

                                                                                             Australian terror squad
online at in English, and      pearances, arrests and deaths, Mexican
subsequently translated into Spanish         federal police forcibly re-occupied the
and other languages.                         state capital of Oaxaca City in November

                                                                                             rounds up G20 protesters
     The whole event began as a fairly       2006, at which point the entries of the
routine teacher’s strike, but when state     book conclude.
police violently attacked an encampment           This rebellion’s story continues to
of striking teachers on June 14, 2006,       unfold past the conclusion, however, and             The Ongoing G20 Arrestee Solidarity           The campaign is not only seeking
killing three teachers and children,         is one which all IWW members should             Network has launched a campaign to de-        that the police drop all of the charges,
a popular uprising broke out in their        get to know as a contemporary example           fend protesters arrested and harassed by      but is demanding to know why protest-
support. The teacher’s bread and butter      of a revolutionary movement of orga-            police since the G20 meeting on Novem-        ers are being labeled as terrorists.
demands for higher wages and more            nized workers and their community that          ber 2006 in Melbourne, Australia.                  “Why is it that the full force of the
funding for dilapidated schools were         transform their society. This movement               On the G20 meeting agenda were           state, snatch squads, federal police, anti-
joined to a growing mass movement            exists despite the best efforts of a violent    global energy and minerals markets and        terror units, have been deployed against
broadly united under the APPO, that had      government, its business allies and the         IMF and World Bank reform. The Grand          the G20 protestors, when Paul Wol-
one non-negotiable imperative: state         capitalist media in Mexico and abroad           Hyatt Melbourne Hotel hosted the event.       fowitz, architect of the Iraq invasion, a
                                                                                             Police surrounded it with a barricade.        man whom almost a million Australians,
                                                                                                  About 3,000 protesters marched           and millions more around the globe

  Oz IWWs liven WTO
                By Dana Lyons
                                                                                             against the G20 meeting, denouncing
                                                                                             it as elitist and pro-capitalist. Direct
                                                                                                                                           protested against, gets a special invita-
                                                                                                                                           tion?” asked protester Liz Thompson.
                                                                                                                                           “The criminalisation of solidarity and
                                                                                             actions shut down banks and resulted in

  labor history
                                                                                             confrontations with Melbourne police.         resistance will not prevent us from tak-
                                                                                                  In response, the state police’s Victo-   ing actions in our own defence–it simply
                                             Corporations, it’s a really great day,                                                        makes the law look more and more like
                                                                                             rian Terrorist Investigation Squad raided
                                             To sidestep nations, who just get in the way,                                                 an instrument of the rich and powerful
                                                                                             six homes in Sydney and arrested five
   By x347961                                Because their people, have too much of a say
                                                                                             protesters. More raids followed with 35       to use against the poor and powerless.”
        IWWs Brian McLure and Jack           But boys we have got the answer
                                                                                             people arrested. Charges ranged from               The G20 or Group of 20 is composed
   sung the words off the pages of the       Free trade, it sounds really good
                                                                                             riot and conduct to harm persons, which,      of the governments of Argentina, Aus-
   Australian IWW’s new pamphlet,            It spells freedom for the corporate
                                                                                             if convicted, would result in 10-year jail    tralia, Brazil, Canada, China, European
   Fanning Discontents Flames at the         brotherhood
                                                                                             terms. A Melbourne IWW member, Akin           Union (with representation from France,
   tenth National Labour History Con-        And you need us in your neighborhood
                                                                                             Sari, was one of those arrested.              Germany, Italy and United Kingdom),
   ference hosted by Melbourne Uni-          We’re the new global employers.
                                                                                                  “Direct action and civil disobedi-       India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Rus-
   versity on July 4-6. The conference
                                                                                             ence have long been part of a worldwide       sia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South
   theme was “Labour Traditions.”
                                                                                             campaign against global capitalism and        Korea, Turkey and the United States.
        Brian and I attended the labour      CHORUS (as follows)
                                                                                             other issues. These tactics have a proud      It was formed to blunt criticisms that
   history conference at Melbourne Uni-
                                                                                             history of success from the suffragette       the Group of 8 was elitist and excluded
   versity to fan the flames of discontent   Ah honey, let’s join the WTO
                                                                                             movement, to the struggle for the 8 hour      non-white, non-Western countries from
   with a few wobbly favourites and          Make lots a’ money at the WTO
                                                                                             work day, to the gay rights movement          decisions about how to rule the world.
   other revolutionary songs. There were     We can change a few laws,
                                                                                             in Tasmania,” said Anita Thomasson, a              The G20 group has launched a
   about 30 people (mainly labour his-       Fix democracy’s flaws
                                                                                             spokesperson for the arrestee solidarity      web site to inform and rally supporters
   tory buffs it seemed) who took great      It’s the corporate new world order
                                                                                             network.                             .
   delight in seeing real life wobblies in
   the flesh.
        The IWW was highlighted in two       Unions are a pain in the ass                    Colombia union death trap
   papers: Mark Derby’s “A country           They cause problems, give executives gas                             Continued from 1
   considered to be free–NZ links with       They want fair wages for the people who              “Many of them must negotiate wear-       of trade unionists is indicative that such
   the wobblies” and Verity Burgmann’s       work                                            ing bullet-proof vests, live with an armed    security measures on their own are not
   “The IWW in International perspec-        What a bunch of jerks                           escort and they move around in armored        sufficient.”
   tive: comparing the North American        Poor children must be taught how to live        cars,” said Beltrán.                               Amnesty International called on the
   and Australian Wobblies.”                 They need employment so they’ll have                 The Colombian government has             Colombian government to implement
        Jack sang and Brian spoke about      money to give                                   responded to the strongly-worded report       a delayed human rights plan, end the
   what being an IWW meant to him.           To corporations who are making their clothes    by saying the report distorts the real-       impunity enjoyed by human rights viola-
   Three people from the audience            The child labour laws must go                   ity that more people than just union          tors, and to support the new permanent
   joined us on stage to sing the songs.                                                     members suffered during the conflict.         mission of the International Labor Orga-
        We sold a copy of the pamphlet                                                       The government said it is now protecting      nization (ILO).
   and handed out a leaflet in support       CHORUS                                          1,500 union leaders and that the govern-           The report also notably called on
   of the G20 arrestees. One Melbourne                                                       ment has convicted 75 people for attacks      companies working in Colombia to “take
   IWW member was jailed for two                                                             on union members and is prosecuting 27        proactive measures, in line with interna-
   months after being charged during         People of America fret,                         more trials and another 39 cases pend-        tional human rights law and standards,
   the media-generated and at-times          Turtles and dolphins, who are caught in the     ing.                                          to ensure the safety of their workforce,”
   blatantly racist hysteria immediately     nets                                                 The Amnesty report said that             declare their public support for the hu-
   after the protests. IWW members           But it takes money to free all these pests      government protection is often not as         man rights of their workers including
   have been active in and supportive        And that’s a free trade barrier.                reliable as it appears. Amnesty said that     their right to join unions, and cooper-
   of the current campaign to drop the       Clean air is a luxury for some                  often key protection is sometimes “with-      ate with police and prosecutors to help
   charges against the stop-G20 activ-       But let’s be fair, it’s not for everyone        drawn or restricted, even at times of         investigators end impunity. This call on
   ists.                                     Cause goods are cheaper, if you release a       heightened security risk”, often with the     employers makes it even more difficult
        Songs sung included Joe Hill’s       little scum                                     excuse being “budgetary constraints.          for them to remain in the background
   Casey Jones Union Scab, WTO (see          Defend your freedom of pollution.                    “This report does not seek to evalu-     and benefit from the use of violence to
   lyrics), and Woody Guthrie’s Union                                                        ate the protection programme; AI con-         enforce their profit margins and work-
   Maid.                                                                                     siders that the high number of killings       place control.
                                                                                                                                            August 007 • Industrial Worker • Page 

Boycott Molson beer during strike
Workers fight $7 wage cut for new workers
By Nick Driedger, Wobbly Dispatch
     In a time when unions should be         Palace Casino (see below) has been on         that the workers at the Edmon-
making record gains in step with record      strike for ten months now.                    ton brewery make the beer.
profits, employers are forcing conces-           However, if it were not for people        Without people to make beer
sions onto them.                             taking a stand, we wouldn’t have any          there is no one for human re-
     At the Molson brewery in Edmon-         of the rights we have today. It’s im-         sources types to shuffle around,
ton, Alberta, Canada, new hires’ wages       portant to remember that even though          there is no product for the mar-
are being cut from $29 to $22 per hour.      the struggle is tough, it’s about some-       keters to sell, and there is no
Workers are represented by the Cana-         thing bigger–our communities and our          money for CEOs to schmooze
dian Auto Workers (CAW).                     dignity. A strike is about more than just     and play golf with. Without
     Molson’s strategy is clearly one of     a few paltry raises, but in the long run      workers, there is no product,
sowing division in the union’s ranks: up     being able to assert control over our own     and when one considers what
to half the workforce is set to retire in    work.                                         workers are actually owed, in
the next five years, so they are attacking       On top of all this, much of the lead-     proportion to the useful work
the pension of the new hires. This is pre-   ership of the Molson strike are older         done in a company (that is, all
cisely what makes the solidarity shown       members who will not have to face the         of it) a decent wage and reliable
on this strike so admirable.                 wage cuts for new hires or the crummy         pension do not seem unreason-
     Many of the workers on the line are     second rate pension. Their fight is purely    able.
younger, newer employees that have           one of working class solidarity—standing           Workers across Alberta are
never been through a strike. Like many       up for each other because it’s the right      urged to not buy Molson beer
of us in the IWW, they grew up in the        thing to do.                                  until the end of the strike. Many
Nineties, a time of comparable labor             The solidarity doesn’t end at the         in the IWW are going to have to
peace. Going on strike for the first time    Edmonton plant either. Canadian Auto          do without their favorite–Black
can be a scary thing. Just last week in      Workers truckers are refusing to haul         Label–this summer.
the middle of the night on the downtown      Molson beer, and all the other Molson              This fight cannot be won if
Edmonton picket line, someone pulled a       plants across the country are refusing        we think about it as just Molson
knife on one of the strikers.                overtime, making it impossible for the        against the CAW. This is the
     There is always uncertainty about       company to replace lost stock.                wealthy Canadians against the
how the struggle is going to turn out, and       On June 12, Molson offered a 20-          workers. Make no mistake: this
it seems recently employers can wait out     cent higher wage over their previous one      attack is not just on the brewery                        Photo by Jeannette Gysbers.
a strike, letting it drag for months. The    for new hires. What Molson forgets is         workers–it is on all of us, too.  Edmonton IWWs picket with Molson workers.

Canadian wages stagnate, while corporate profits soar
    Canadian workers are more efficient      gross domestic product (GDP) in the               “If workers’ real wages had increased    48 days in industrialized countries. That
than ever, but their pay has not in-         past 40 years, with an increased share        to reflect improved productivity and         means Canadians were on the picket line
creased in 30 years, said a new report by    going to corporations.                        economic growth, they could be earning       four times more than other workers in
the Canadian Centre for Policy Alterna-          “Corporate profit shares are the          an average of $10,000 more each year         Western industrialized countries.
tives released on June 28.                   highest they’ve been in 40 years—and          on their paycheques (in 2005 dollars),”          Yet, something has gone wrong for
    The report, “Rising Profit Shares,       we’re not talking peanuts here,” said         said the report.                             workers. Strikes and the bargaining
Falling Wage Shares”, is part of the         Ellen Russell, who wrote the report with          Yet, Canadian workers are fighting       resulting, should have led to improved
Centre’s Growing Gap study (www.             Mathieu Dufour. “In 2005, corporations        back.                                        contracts, working conditions and that documents growing        banked $130 billion more in gross profits         Another study, conducted by the          benefits. These agreements then set the
inequality in the Canadian economy.          than they would have if the profit share      British national statistics agency, showed   standard for non-unionized workplaces.
    Not only have wages remained             had remained at 1991 levels. Sharing          that Canadian workers struck more often          One possible answer for what has
stangnant, but the poorest workers are       those earnings with workers could have        than anywhere else, aside from Iceland,      gone wrong is that employers are more
earning less. Real wages adjusted for        gone a long way to reducing Canada’s          in North America and Europe.                 aggressive, demand more concessions
inflation have decreased for workers         growing income gap.”                              In the last decade from 1995 to          and reject fair bargaining in the belief
earning minimum wage.                            The study also revealed how in-           2004, Canadian workers lost an aver-         that workers should take it or leave it.
    Overall, it means that workers are       creased productivity doesn’t mean better      age of 193 lost days of work per 1,000           Thirty per cent of Canadian workers
getting the smallest share of Canada’s       pay. The link between the two is broken.      employees compared to the average of         belong to unions.

Labor talks tough at US Social Forum
                     Continued from 1                                                      Palace Casino strike hits 300th day
ing for legislation in the US Congress,           Labor law in the United States, due
which would bar local governments from       in part to racist compromises made in
requiring Home Depots and other big          the years of the Roosevelt administra-
box retailers to provide shelters for day    tion, does not extend labor rights to
laborers.                                    domestics or to farm workers such as the
    Day laborers often wait all day, rain    flawed but important right to collective
or shine, for people to hire them so the     bargaining.
shelters are an important support.                The domestics who came to Atlanta
    The most impressive labor-related        for the social forum to meet and learn
workshops and planning sessions at the       from each other’s efforts to organize
USSF were organized by “non-tradition-       were certainly not content to remain un-
al” worker’s organizations. Within the       heard or unnoticed. It was quite impos-
space provide by the forum, domestic         sible to miss the domestics boisterous
workers and farm laborers met together       renditions of their anthem, the “Domes-
with their fellow workers from around        tic Workers Calypso” or their exuberant,
the country.                                 enthusiastic responses to the speakers in
    The domestic workers, through their      the workshops and plenary sessions.
private meetings at the USSF, agreed              At the worker’s rights plenary,
to form a national coalition of domestic     just before Acuff spoke, Ai-Jen Poo of
worker organizations. Domestic worker        Domestic Workers United in New York,
organizing has developed in major urban      explained their plan to enthusiastic ap-
centers around the country in recent         plause.
years.                                            “We hope to build our labor move-
    Largely independently, immigrant         ment to a place where, when we call for
social service agencies and organizing       a strike as domestic workers it will be for
centers such as Casa of Maryland and         domestic workers rights and for global
Andolan, a South Asian workers center        justice, legalization for undocumented
in New York, started to become aware         workers, and an end to the war in Iraq
of hundreds of thousands of domestic         […] or maybe, maybe it will be a strike of
workers who were facing extreme situ-        all informal sector workers or better yet,
ations of exploitation and often, verbal,    a strike of all workers, union and non-                                                                        Photo by Jeannette Gysbers.
physical and sexual abuse.                   union, the entire working-class.”
                                                                                           The Palace Casino workers’ marked their 300th day on the picket line on
    Isolated by their place of employ-            Following such powerful language, it
                                                                                           June 29 with a party. Edmonton IWW members have walked the line in
ment and often by their status as im-        is no surprise that the AFL-CIO has felt
                                                                                           solidarity with these members of UFCW each week since September 2006.
migrants, domestics have also largely        compelled to up its rhetoric. How could       At the party, a number of UFCW workers plus FW Gabriel Cardenas (above)
been ignored by the mainstream labor         anyone in the labor movement call for         helped raise money for leukemia by shaving their heads.
movement.                                    less than open class warfare?
July 2007 • Industrial Worker • Page 10
   Page 10 • Industrial Worker • August 007

                             The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir
                             by Dave Van Ronk with Elijah Wald
                                  Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) was one of the founding fig-
                             ures of the 1960s folk revival, but he was far more than that. A
                             pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger,
                             a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of
                             the 1960s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musi-
                             cal historian, a Wobbly, and one of the most quotable figures on
                             the Greenwich Village scene. Holding court in legendary ven-
                             ues like Gerde’s Folk City and the Gaslight Caf8é, Van Ronk’s
                             influence was so great that a stretch of Sheridan Square—the
   heart of the Village—was renamed on June 30, 2004, and is now Dave Van Ronk Street.
   The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a unique first-hand account by a major player in the          The Industrial Workers of the
   social and musical history of the ’50s and ’60s. It features encounters with young stars-      World: Its First 100 Years by
   to-be like Bob Dylan (who survived much of his first year in New York sleeping on Van
                                                                                                  Fred W. Thompson & Jon Bekken
   Ronk’s couch), Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell, as well as older
   luminaries like Reverend Gary Davis, Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, and Odetta.
                                                                                                  forward by Utah Phillips
   Colorful, hilarious, engaging, and a vivid evocation of a fascinating time and place, The      The IWW: Its First 100 Years is the most
   Mayor of MacDougal Street will appeal not only to folk and blues fans but to anyone            comprehensive history of the union ever
                                                                                                  published. Written by two Wobblies who                 IWW T-shirts: Sabo-cat or
   interested in the music, politics, and spirit of a revolutionary period in American culture.
   Hardcover, 246 pages.                       Originally priced at $26.00, now just $12.00       lived through many of the struggles they               globe design, printed on red
                                                                                                  chronicle, it documents the famous                     or black shirt.
   The Bosses’ Songbook: Songs to Stifle the Flames of Discontent                                 struggles such as the Lawrence and                     Sizes S-XL $15.00
                                                                                                  Paterson strikes, the fight for decent
   Co-authored by Dave Van Ronk, Roy Berkeley, and more                                           conditions in the Pacific Northwest                    Size XXL $17.00
       Largely a spoof on authoritarian leftist movements, The Bosses’ Songbook is pure                                                                  When ordering, please specify size,
                                                                                                  timber fields, the IWW's pioneering
   Wobbly, written at a time when it was very difficult to have both a sense of humor and                                                                design and color shirt (red or black)
                                                                                                  organizing among harvest hands in the
   radical politics. The Kellermans have thankfully rescued this publication from obscurity,
                                                                                                  1910s and 1920s, and the war-time
   and the Literature Department is offering it for a limited time.
        They handed him his orders at Party headquarters,
                                                                                                  repression that sent thousands of IWW                  Embroidered Patches
        Saying, “Pete, you’re way behind the times.                                               members to jail. But it is the only general            3” circle with IWW
        This is not ’38, it’s 1947,                                                               history to give substantive attention to               logo and “An injury to
        There’s been a change in the Party line.”                          42 pages, $6.00        the IWW's successful organizing of                     one is an injury to all”
                                                                                                  African-American and immigrant dock                    embroidered in
      Special Deal: The Mayor of MacDougal Street and the Bosses’ Songbook for $15.00             workers on the Philadelphia waterfront,                black, red, white and
                                                                                                  the international union of seamen the                  golden $3.50 each
   A Century of Writing on the IWW 1905 - 2005: An Annotated Bibliography of Books                IWW built from 1913 through the 1930s,
   on the Industrial Workers of the World Compiled by Steve Kellerman                             smaller job actions through which the
        This annotated bibliography published by the Boston General Membership Branch             IWW transformed working conditions,
   of the IWW lists all known books on the IWW, organized by category in chronological            Wobbly successes organizing in
   order. Brief critical notes describe the books, quickly and helpfully identifying their        manufacturing in the 1930s and 1940s,
   strengths and weaknesses. Other categories are Biographical Works, Miscellaneous Works         and the union's recent resurgence.
   including substantial discussion of the IWW, Writings by Wobblies, and a listing of nov-       Extensive source notes provide guidance
   els featuring the union. An excellent resource for anyone doing research on the IWW.           to readers wishing to explore particular
   38 pages, $5.00                                                                                campaigns in more depth. There is no
                                                                                                  better history for the reader looking for
                                                    The Big Red Songbook                          an overview of the history of the IWW,
                                                                                                  and for an understanding of its ideas and
                                                    Edited by Archie Green, David                 tactics.             255 pages, $19.95
                                                    Roediger, Franklin Rosemont
                                                    and Salvatore Salerno
                                                 This is indeed an incredible en-
                                                 deavor. The most comprehensive                                              IWW Baseball Cap
                                                 collection of rebel workers’ songs               A beautiful black cap with red under the visor.
                                                 and poems ever compiled in English,              Embroidered logo in white and red, and “Solidarity     Pyramid of Capitalism poster.
                                                 The Big Red Songbook includes all                Forever” embroidered on the back of the cap. Union     17"x22" full color reproduction of the
                                                                                                  made & embroidered, one size fits all. $16.00          classic graphic        $9.50
                                                 the songs that appeared in the

                                                                                                       Order Form
                                                 IWW’s celebrated Little Red
                                                 Songbook from 1909 through 1973,
                                                 plus dozens more. Here are the
                                                 songs of Joe Hill, T-Bone slim, Dick               Mail to: IWW Literature, PO Box 42777, Phila, PA 19101
                                                 Brazier, Ralph Chaplin, Covington                  Name:______________________________________________________________________
                                                 Hall and other Wobbly legends;
                                                 lesser knowns, but ought to be                     Address:_______________________________________________________________
                                                 legends such as Eugene Barnett,
                                                                                                    City/State/Zip Code:_________________________________________________
                                                 Paul Walker, and Henry Pfaff; for the
                                                 first time anywhere, a good selection                QUANTITY                 ITEM                                               PRICE
                                                 of songs by women Wobblies: Anges
   Thecla Fair, Laura Payne Emerson, Sophie Fagin, Jane Street, Laura Tanne and
   others; Australians Bill Casey and Harry Hooton, Englishman Leon Rosselson,
   Germans Ernest Riebe and John Olday, and Scotsman Douglas Robson. A
   special section focuses on variants and parodies of IWW songs: a Depression-
   era version of “Hallelujah I’m a Bum,” Jack Langan’s 1960s version of “Solidar-
   ity Forever,” an Earth First! adaptation of Joe Hill’s “There is Power” by
   Walkin’ Jim Stoltz, and Hazel Dickens’ bold update of “The Rebel Girl.” And                         In the U.S., please add $2.00 for first           Sub-Total:______________
   there’s the wealth of essays, analysis, references, bibliographies, and discogra-                  item and 50¢ for each additional item
                                                                                                       Canada: Add $3.00 for the first item               Shipping*:______________
   phies, provided by Archie Green, his coeditors, and other collaborators, giving                          50¢ for each additional item           organizing fund donation: _____________________
                                                                                                      Overseas: Add $4.00 for the first item
   not only historical context, but also a wide range of perspectives on the                               $1.00 for each additional item        Total Enclosed:______________
   Wobbly counterculture and its enduring legacies.                 546 pages, $24.00
                                                                                                                                                August 007 • Industrial Worker • Page 11

International Solidarity Commission delegate report
IWW meets with Bangladesh garment workers’ fed
By Jason Fults
     Many readers of the Industrial
Worker are already acquainted with
the ongoing struggles in Bangladesh’s
garment sector, as well as the activi-
ties of one of its most vocal unions, the
National Garment Workers Federa-
tion (NGWF). Over the past three years
numerous wobblies have worked to build
solidarity with the NGWF, most notably
in Pittsburgh and upstate New York.
     At a Labor Notes conference in May
2006, Fellow Worker Greg Giorgio met
with the NGWF’s General Secretary,
Amirul Haque Amin. When asked how
the IWW’s International Solidarity
Commission (ISC) could best help the
NGWF’s struggles, FW Amin replied:
“We need continuous support. But
before providing support, we need more
(time to learn) about each other. So, I
will be happy if someone from the IWW
visits Bangladesh [so] the NGWF, our
members, [can] share their struggles,
share their information.”
     In early June of this year, I accepted
Amin’s invitation and visited the NGWF
office in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka,
on behalf of the ISC. Our meeting took
place barely one year after “a wave of
fierce class struggle” brought Bangla-                                                                                                                                 Photo by Molly Stentz
deshi garment workers (and others) into       The National Garment Workers’ Federation office in Dhaka. In the front row, middle, is the President
direct clashes with police and the mili-      of the union while in the back row is General Secretary Amirul Haque Amin (left) and Jason Fults (right).
tary. This months-long conflict resulted      union’s gender composition has influ-         allies in the West have to build capacity        ers producing the fabric. Amin believes
in several workers killed, thousands          enced its campaign decisions. One of the      and partnership, acknowledging that a            that such an approach is essential if
more injured or imprisoned, and over          union’s primary campaigns is to imple-        key aspect of that partnership is infor-         workers are going to win in the long-run
a dozen factories burned to the ground.       ment maternity leave.                         mation exchange linking conditions in            and suggested Wal-Mart as an appro-
The atmosphere, though tranquil by                 Other NGWF campaigns in recent           specific factories with particular brands        priate target, stating that “all workers
comparison, was nevertheless forebod-         years have included: the campaign for         and corporations.                                throughout the world” need to be target-
ing; early monsoon rains had already          a six-day work week; the campaign                  The NGWF wants to commit two                ing the company, due both to the sheer
flooded some parts of Dhaka (as usual),       for improved                                                         additional staff specifi- size of their supply chain as well as the
and a government-imposed “State of            health, safety,                                                      cally to such a focus.    symbolic value of all that the company
Emergency” remained in effect. General        and security; the                                                    Amin estimates that to represents.
elections were postponed indefinitely,        campaign for a                                                       hire two new organiz-          Finally, we discussed more immedi-
resulting in a backslide in labor rights      paid May Day                                                         ers, the NGWF would       ate and concrete means of increasing the
and civil liberties.                          holiday; and the                                                     need $200 per month. levels of communication between the
     Despite these challenges, the NGWF       campaign for an                                                          Also on the topic     two unions. The NGWF would like to be-
continues to recruit members, conduct         annual Muslim                                                        of information ex-        gin receiving a few additional copies per
worker education and organizer train-         festival bonus.                                                      change, Amin agreed       month of the Industrial Worker to share
ings, and provide legal assistance to              Through-                                                        with fellow workers       with their branch offices, and agreed
workers. NGWF membership now stands           out the sector,                                                      in Pittsburgh that the    to submit regular updates to our news-
at 22,000 workers. Four thousand are          forcing bosses                                                       formation of not only     paper regarding their activities. Amin
classified as “regular subscribers”, mem-     to simply follow                                                     North-South, but also     is also interested in having a few key
bers who regularly pay union dues of 10       Bangladesh’s ex-                                                     South-South commu-        IWW materials translated into Bengali
Takas (US$0.15) per month. The rest are       isting labor laws                                                    nication networks is      and perhaps doing a sizable print run of
classified as “subscribers.” Currently, the   has been a major                                                     crucial.                  these materials to distribute to NGWF
NGWF has 30 factory-based unions, and         ongoing struggle,                                                        As such, he thinks    members.
1,000 “factory committees,” the first step    and a much more                                                      that the possibility of        Obviously deciding on any of these
towards forming a union in a workplace.       difficult one                                                        the IWW facilitating      ideas for working together does require
     Amin views these membership num-         under the State                                                      exchanges between the further discussion between the NGWF
bers as a real victory given the extreme      of Emergency,                                  Photo by Molly Stentz NGWF and workers’         and IWW.
difficulties with forming unions in Ban-      which is used to List detailing the 447 workers killed and organizations in Latin                   Overall, our meeting was both com-
                                                                    2,466 injured in 44 garment factory fires
gladesh. When the NGWF was founded            repress workers’                                                     America is a “very        radely and productive. Some small steps
                                                                    and collapses since December 1990.
23 years ago, they had no office space        direct action.                                                       interesting and useful    were made, and a relationship that, in
and organized their meetings in parks,                                                      concept.” He requested that the IWW              time, could become very important for
cheap restaurants, academic institutions,     Ideas for working together                    play a central role in such a project,           both unions was strengthened.
and other public spaces. Now, the union            Apart from gathering more in-depth       making the initial introductions between              I will be based in India until at least
has six branch offices covering all the       information on how the union operates,        the NGWF and groups in Latin America,            the end of 2007, possibly longer, and if
industrial zones plus their central office    another major purpose of our meeting          from which point the three groupings             the ISC requests another trip to Dhaka
in Dhaka. The NGWF also now has 11            was to discuss continued collaboration        (NGWF, IWW, and Latin American                   during that time I will gladly oblige. In
full-time and eight part-time organizers.     between the IWW and the NGWF.                 unions) could have ongoing conversa-             the meantime, the ISC, as well as Fel-
Despite the union’s growth, Amin still             Amin reiterated in no uncertain          tions.                                           low Workers who support this budding
refers to the NGWF as “small and not          terms that pressure from consumers                 Amin was very interested in the             IWW-NGWF relationship, have much to
well-funded compared to the trade union       onto multi-national corporations, and         idea of organizing along the entire sup-         discuss and follow up on.
organizations elsewhere.”                     from these corporations onto their sub-       ply chain. He supports projects which                 Jason Fults is a Thomas J. Watson
                                              contractors, is extremely important.          would, for instance, connect US workers          fellow based in New Delhi, India. To
Gender equality a priority                    Unions such as the NGWF will continue         in Wal-Mart’s distribution centers with          obtain a complete copy of his 4500-
    Another striking feature of the           their fights at the local level, but they     Bangladeshi garment workers sewing               word Bangladesh Report, write him at
NGWF, and of the Bangladeshi gar-             are limited in what they can accomplish       the clothes with Latin American work-  
ment sector in general, is its gender         without the solidarity of people outside
composition: 80-85 per cent of Bangla-        the country.
                                                                                                Still available! NGWF assessment stamp.
deshi garment workers are reportedly               Basically, there are millions of unem-
women. The NGWF tries to reflect this         ployed Bangladeshis, and the bosses can
                                                                                                  Help build the bridge from the shop floor of the
demographic reality in its organizational     fire with impunity, knowing that they
                                                                                              global apparel weatshops to the IWW! Join hands
structure and according to the NGWF’s         can easily replace however many work-
                                                                                              with the National Garment Workers Federation of
constitution, at least 50 per cent of any     ers they need to. What is much more
                                                                                              Bangladesh and aid their strike fund with this $5 as-
committee must be comprised of wom-           difficult is for the individual factories
                                                                                              sessment. As they sew gear for Major League Base-
en. The union’s 30-member National            to continue to receive orders once their
                                                                                              ball and other sweatshop profiteers, their struggles
Assembly, its highest decision-making         reputation has been damaged publicly.
                                                                                              continue to mount.
body, currently has 16 women. They play       Amin said that international pressure
                                                                                              Please make checks out to: IWW
key leadership roles as the President,        on the brand-companies is as important,
                                                                                              Send to : Greg Giorgio, Delegate, P.O. Box 74
both Vice Presidents, the Treasurer           and some times even more important,
                                                                                              Altamont, N.Y. 12009
and other officers are all women. Of          than anything the workers can do locally.
                                                                                              e-mail :
the union’s 19 staff, 11 are women. The       Amin insists that the NGWF and their
Page 1 • Industrial Worker • August 007

     The IWW formed the International Solidarity Commission to help the union
 build the worker-to-worker solidarity that can lead to effective action against the
 bosses of the world. To contact the ISC, email

 By Mike Pesa

 Supporting public sector strike in          a wildcat strike against their employer,
 South Africa                                Freightliner LLC. In March 2007 the
      The International Solidarity Com-      workers struck over safety issues and
 mission wrote a letter of solidarity with   benefits, defying UAW officials who
 the approximately one million work-         considered the strike “unauthorized.”
 ers involved in a massive public sector         The resolution condemns LLC for
 strike in South Africa. The letter was      refusing to negotiate with workers. It
                                                                                                                                                              Graphic by Tom Keough.
 sent to the Congress of South African       also urges international UAW leaders to
 Trade Unions and the Zabalaza Anar-         support its members when they decide         Opinion
 chist Communist Federation as well          a strike is necessary.
 as to the secretary and spokesperson                                                     US tells Iraq to pay up debt, Gulf War costs
 of the President. In the letter, the ISC    New assessment stamps
 condemns police brutality against               Two new assessment stamps (a $3          By Tom Keough                                Geneva, Switzerland, this June how
 strikers and also criticizes government     and $6 stamp) are now available to all            The US government is lobbying hard      much of this debt should remain the
 officials who have been raising their       IWW members. Funds raised directly           to prevent forgiveness of Iraq’s $125        legal responsibility of Iraq. The US
 own salaries at the expense of workers      support our international solidarity         billion debt, incurred under President       delegation argued for no forgiveness. US
 and the public. The ISC endorses the        work. Examples of projects that will         Saddam Hussein. The US claim that it         activists and other countries protested
 workers’ demands that any agreement         benefit from the stamps include raising      liberated Iraq apparently stops at the       outside the meeting. Protesters demand-
 must include the reinstatement of all       money for this Fall’s IWW delegation         country’s chains of debt.                    ed an end to the reparations payments,
 fired workers.                              to Mexico and providing material aid to           On top of this debt are war repara-     elimination of Hussein’s debt, and full
                                             the National Garment Workers Federa-         tions. When Iraq lost the Gulf War in        funding of reconstruction costs for Iraq.
 ISC delegate visits unions in               tion in Bangladesh so their organizers       1991, part of the surrender agreement             Before President George W. Bush’s
 France and Spain                            can devote more time to working with         created a legal requirement that Iraq        war on Iraq, the world watched as mili-
     In an effort to advance the IWW’s       us. To order individual stamps to deco-      must pay war reparations to Kuwaiti          tary, political, and intelligence authori-
 relationship with European labor            rate your red card or entire sheets of       individuals, Kuwaiti government organi-      ties from around the globe protested his
 unions, ISC delegate Kieran Knutson of      stamps to distribute to the members of       zations and multinational corporations       plan to invade. Even the most pro-
 the Twin Cities GMB visited the offices     your branch, send your check or money        who claimed that Iraq damaged their          American, pro-big business leaders such
 of the CNT and CGT union federations        order and a self-addressed stamped           property in Kuwait when the Gulf War         as General Norman Schwarzkopf, the
 during his travels in France and Spain.     envelope to:                                 started. The UN received 2.7 million         US generals in charge of NATO and the
 This trip builds on the momentum            ISC Solidarity Fund Stamp                    claims demanding up to $352.5 billion.       Pope strongly denounced the invasion as
 created by the IWW’s delegation to          c/o IWW General Headquarters                 The corporate claims filed topped $80        being about nothing but oil. The hor-
 the International Syndicalism Confer-       PO Box 23085, Cincinnati, OH 43223           billion from 5,800 claimants of more         rors unleashed by the invasion resulted
 ence in Paris this May. With the IWW        USA                                          than 100 countries. Oil companies’           in worldwide revulsion and opposition
 growing rapidly in Europe, our contacts                                                  claims account for more than half of the     to President Bush. Many traditional
 and relationships with other European           Reminder: A number of last year’s        corporate amount. However, these cor-        government and business allies of the US
 workers are quickly developing.             NGWF Strike Fund assessment stamps           porate claims such as “lost profits” are     spoke out, saying they did not want to
                                             are also still available through the         difficult to prove, so only $610 million     help US Vice-president Dick Cheney and
 Solidarity with UAW wildcat strike          Upstate New York GMB. Email solidar-         has been awarded to date.                    corporations such as Halliburton make a
     The ISC passed a resolution sup- for instructions on how to            Overall, the United Nations Com-        huge profit from this war.
 porting 700 rank-and-file United Auto       purchase them.                               pensation Commission, whose governing             Foreign corporations who compete
 Workers (UAW) members in Rowan                                                           council mirrors the UN Security Council,     with US corporations saw no reason to
 County, North Carolina, who engaged in          Thank you for your support!              has handed over $21.8 billion to claim-      help their US competitors get a huge
                                                                                          ants with another $30.6 billion due.         financial advantage. President Bush and

Uk radical ed workers analyze industry                                                         The key question is where is this
                                                                                          money going to come from?
                                                                                                                                       his appointed governor of occupied Iraq,
                                                                                                                                       Paul Bremer, even promoted a policy of
By Bob Miller, IU620                                                                           The nation of Iraq has no money to      not allowing anyone to do business in
    A group of education workers met         by religious groups from the Christian       re-buildtheir country nor care for their     Iraq if they were from a country that had
on July 1 in Manchester, England. The        right in England. They pose a threat to      wounded nor run their utilities. Yet, the    not sent troops to Iraq.
meeting was organised by individual          the working conditions of all the staff      combination of the Iraqi national debt            With the creation of the so-called
IWW members and members of both the          who work in schools and further tighten      and reparation payments will force many      new Iraqi-led government, the US kept
Anarchist Federation and the Solidarity      the control over the curriculum that is      generations of Iraqis to pay the bill with   the power to decide who can invest or do
Federation, who work in schools, sixth       taught.                                      oil. Washington will ultimately get what     business in Iraq. This policy has back-
form colleges [senior high schools and           The third discussion was led by a        it wanted from the invasion.                 fired on Washington. Foreign govern-
prep colleges] and universities. Teach-      member of Manchester Solidarity Feder-            The Hussein government paid over        ments did not send soldiers just to buy
ers, lecturers and students were present     ation. He detailed the way they had been     $19 billion before the invasion, despite     Iraqi oil.
as well as a librarian and a porter.         organising at the University of Manches-     international sanctions. Some of this             With both domestic and foreign op-
    Although a small event, the discus-      ter against job cuts and re-organisation.    money came from the Oil For Food             position to the Bush war for oil, the UN
sions were well-informed and held in a       He emphasised that the atmosphere of         program. US news media critics often         Compensation Commission is not grant-
comradely manner.                            threat and intimidation meant that           complained that Saddam didn’t use the        ing oil money handouts as perhaps the
    We started with a discussion on the          their work had to be carried out in a    money to feed his starving people. Some      US envisioned. At the June meeting the
examination system and the pressures         clandestine manner. In many ways, what       Oil For Food money went to pay the big       UN commission said it would grant far
it puts on both workers and students.        he described would be familiar to wobs       oil companies for reparations.               less money than asked for by claimants.
Under discussion was the way students        organising in job branches that had not           After the 2003 US-led invasion, as           Iraqis need our support to lift this
are being checked and monitored at           ‘gone public’ yet.                           the country unraveled, the US adminis-       huge burden of debt and war repara-
each point of their lives and the way that       Finally, we looked at the way the        trators forced Iraq to continue payments     tions. They cannot be expected, living in
exam league tables are used by employ-       universities are changing from centres of    of over $2 billion in reparations since      a shattered country gripped by a bloody
ers to discipline and control educators.     academic study to production lines turn-     the fall of Saddam’s government.             guerrilla war the US started, to pay this
    We then moved on to analyse the          ing out well-trained graduates.                   The UN’s Compensation Commis-           debt. To demand they do so is unaccept-
government’s plans to close many of              The theme that emerged through           sion debated at their meeting held in        able and unethical.
the secondary schools in England and         the day was the similar nature of the

                                                                                          ASDA-Wal-Mart watch
replace them with academies. Academies       problems faced by people in each area
is an important sounding title for pri-      discussed. We hope to have a similar
vatised schools, run in many instances       meeting in the future.
                                                                                              British social justice advocacy group         The website’s goal is to inform and

Japanese cop stabs himself for time off                                                   War on Want has launched a website
                                                                                          that shines a spotlight on ASDA, a su-
                                                                                                                                       recruit consumer support for a campaign
                                                                                                                                       to ensure workers have the right to or-
    A Japanese police officer in north-      He had been in charge of a disaster relief   permarket chain recently taken over by       ganize as well as to protect the local food
western Japan stabbed himself in May         effort after the March 25 earthquake that    Wal-Mart. The website, www.asdawatch.        economy and small shops.
to get some time off, according to the       killed one, injured 300 and damaged          org, is supported by the GMB union                War on Want has also tried to use
Associated Press. The man, 44, re-           nearly 15,000 homes. He is now facing        which represents 25,000 workers out          a website,, to focus
ported the wound as an attack, but his       a misdemeanour charge for filing a false     of a total workforce of 140,000, with        attention on ASDA’s key supermarket ri-
colleagues found no one matching the         report. Japan has a word for death by        collective bargaining rights at nine of      val, Tesco, which controls 30 per cent of
description. The policeman had also          overwork, karoshi, recognized by the         20 distribution depots and at none of        the British grocers market and reported
waited one hour before calling for help.     health ministry.                             ASDA’s retail stores.                        £2.5 billion (US$5 billion) in profits.

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