Industrial Workers of the World | One Big Union !, ces 60 derniers jours



vendredi 10 novembre 2017

  • Industrial Worker: Fall 2017 #1781 Vol. 114 No. 4

    By IWW.ORG Staff - November 2017

    The theme for the Fall 2017 Industrial Worker is "In November We Remember." For this issue, a number of Wobblies sent in their remembrances of those long gone but not forgotten and those dear and only recently taken away from all of us. August 1 was the 100th anniversary of the murder of the early Wobbly organizer Frank Little. Butte, Montana was where he was brutally killed, but Butte was also the place that celebrated Frank Little's life and work, with a gathering of far-flung Wobblies as well as his great-grandniece Jane Little Botkin, who wrote Frank Little and the IWW: The Blood That Stained an American Family.

    The issue's cover is a collection of photos, drawings, paintings, posters, and even a sculpture of people whose lives were devoted to making the world a place where workers were recognized for their contributions to society. In their work in organizing, ministry, public service, writing, poetry, songs, films, and art, each of the people commemorated on the cover—from an 18th-century female scientist to an androgynous pop icon and social critic we lost only last year—saw the ills of class warfare and capitalistic dominance and acted to improve the lives of those around them and around the world. If some of the choices I made come as a surprise, look them up and learn about their contributions.

    Download a Free PDF of this issue.

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mardi 7 novembre 2017

  • Do Solidarity Unions Need to ‘Go Public’?

    By LibCom - It's Going Down, October 31, 2017

    In an election-driven, workplace-organizing campaign, going public is a key step. The workers or union try to organize under the boss’s radar for as long as possible, so that they can avoid retaliation and union-busting before they accumulate strength in numbers. Eventually, however, they have to legally file or “petition” for an election, at which point the workers notify the employer of their campaign. The goal of these types of organizing drives is formal recognition from the employer, which in theory compels the employer to sit down with the union and negotiate a contract.

    In the IWW, our main model of organizing is the “solidarity union.” A solidarity union consists of a group of workers taking direct action in a workplace to get what they need and want, without regard to formal recognition by the bosses. Instead of relying on legal processes, workers use the power they have at any given moment, seeing as their hands are on the levers of production—and therefore on the boss’s profits. Examples of using that power include work slowdowns or stoppages, refusing certain kinds of unsafe work, confronting the boss with problems as a group, and even strikes.

    What is the significance of “going public” in a solidarity unionism campaign? If workers are not seeking legal recognition through an election, what purpose does going public serve? Does it need to happen at all? In this article, we reconsider the pros and cons of going public in the context of the IWW’s distinct and powerful alternative to business union organizing.

    Does going public heighten the risk of retaliation?

    In the Ellen’s Stardust Diner campaign in NYC, IWW restaurant workers went public in the form of a major story in The New York Times. The reporter contacted the owner for comment, and this was the first he had learned of the union. He said he was shocked that people were unhappy, and that he would gladly sit down with them. This turned out to be a lie. Even though the union had gathered the support of virtually all of the servers, the owner refused to meet with them about their demands. In response, union members held a large demonstration outside of the restaurant, displaying a bright, new banner with their name and logo—Stardust Family United—while singing and chanting noisily, to place public and emotional pressure on the boss to bargain.

    Two weeks later, every person at that demonstration was illegally fired.

    Sometimes, bosses react in the strongest possible way to finding out that a union is forming in their business: by attempting to eliminate union supporters through firings. This is something we know in the IWW, which is why we cover it at length in our organizer trainings.

    Stardusters had gone public because they felt it was the next logical step in their organizing. They had already gathered nearly unanimous support among servers, they were meeting regularly, and had learned to act as a group. Now it was time to simply tell the boss point-blank that they were a union, and that they had demands. In a way, they were following the steps of a recognition campaign, just without the NLRB election. They believed the owner would see their strength and negotiate. But the union’s coming-out party didn’t have that result. Instead, the owner started firing people for union activity and hired a union-busting lawyer.

    An IWW campaign in Chicago offers an interesting contrast. At Arrow Messenger, the union of messengers did not go public as a “union” – they did not use “the u-word” – but simply approached the boss with specific demands, initiating direct bargaining sessions between the bosses and the workers. When bargaining did not yield the results they wanted, a quickie strike and a series of prolonged direct actions won them most of their demands, including a commission raise for over one hundred couriers.

    The avoidance of word “union” may have made it easier for the bosses to give concessions to the workers, but it did not prevent retaliatory firings in the long run, and the active committee of about 20 workers was picked off one by one. So it’s clear that workers can also be fired in an active campaign that isn’t “public” in the traditional sense. If you’re effective, you’re going to end up with a target on your back, one way or another.

    Fortunately, at Stardust as well, despite not one but two rounds of mass firings, workers were able to win on a majority of their demands, by using direct action in the workplace. The owner never sat down with them, but by taking on issues one by one, and coordinating work refusals and other tactics, the workers made multiple gains, including refusing unpaid work, fixing unsafe equipment, and generally improved working conditions. Going public, in retrospect, was not a necessary step for that.

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mardi 10 octobre 2017

  • New York: Wobblies at Singing Restaurant Win Major Victory

    By Stardust Family United - October 4, 2017

    In a major victory for the singing servers at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, their employer has reached an agreement with their solidarity union, Stardust Family United, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). By entering into the settlement agreement, the company will narrowly avoid a trial on some 19 violations of the National Labor Relations Act, including 31 retaliatory firings.

    Under the terms of the agreement, all 31 employees terminated over the last year in retaliation for union activity have been offered immediate and full reinstatement, and will receive back pay from the time they were fired. Of the terminated employees, 13 will immediately return to work at the popular Midtown diner.

    In addition, the restaurant is required to mail official notices to all employees, informing them that the company will not violate federal law by engaging in certain unlawful practices such as surveilling and threatening workers, interfering with their use of social media, and discouraging them from taking action to improve working conditions.

    For the singing servers, this has been a long road. The union, which is a branch of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), initially went public in late summer of 2016. Weeks after making their efforts known to management, 16 active union members were fired. Over the fall and winter, the workers continued to engage in direct workplace action to improve health and safety conditions, as well as pursue other demands. Another mass firing in January 2017 brought the total of terminated singers up to 31.

    Despite this, Stardust Family United remained active, both inside and outside the restaurant. “I’m thrilled and proud to know our struggle and vigilance over the last year has paid off,” says returning employee Matthew Patterson. “I’m looking forward to returning and making a positive impact inside the diner.”

    #Stardustfamilyunited #IWW #Wobblies #SFU #Singingunion #Labormovement #Workersrights #Solidarity #Weareallstardust

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jeudi 28 septembre 2017

  • Statement from the CNT on the situation in Catalonia

    Open letter from CNT’s International Secretary

    Our position on Catalonia

    Dear comrades,

    First of all, thanks for the support that so many of you have provided with translations, putting statements up on social media, planning actions, etc. CNT, as a whole, and the comrades in Catalonia, particularly, are really grateful for your support.

    As you know the days are momentous in Catalonia and, to a lesser extent, in the rest of Spain. As I write these lines, riot police and the infamous military police, Guardia Civil, are attacking masses of people in the streets of many towns across Catalonia. CNT, together with other unions, is calling for a general strike on the 3rd of October against this repressive wave.

    You probably know that the unity of Spain has always been a rallying flag for the far right here. Therefore, any calls for self-determination from any part of it, as is the case now in Catalonia, spark a vicious response. We are already seeing an increase in the presence of fascist groups in many towns across Spain and the conservative government is taking an increasingly authoritarian stance, trampling on many fundamental freedoms. These are ominous signs of what might lie ahead for us. Repression is only likely to worsen on many fronts, may be even involving the military.

    On some international forums, CNT is being criticised for, allegedly, playing into the hands of the nationalists with our call for a general strike. That’s understandable. As we've said somewhere else, it's a fine line we're trying to walk here and it's only normal that its nuances are lost in the distance (or in translation). It is also difficult for us, and there are lots of internal discussions/debates going on about our strategy, as you would expect in an open and plural organisation like CNT.

    Make no mistake, while we firmly oppose repression from an increasingly authoritarian state and their fascist allies, we are in no way supportive of the nationalist agenda. All along this week there have been countless demonstrations in Catalonia to defend today's referendum, independence, self-determination…you name it. CNT has not called for or supported any of these. In fact, where comrades have a local presence, they've been busy making themselves uncomfortable for the nationalists, bringing economic and social issues to the fore, reminding people that the Catalan government was very keen to introduce social cuts only a few years ago, etc. This, in fact, is stated in our call for the general strike, in a very similar wording.

    So much so, that the call for a strike is not directed only to Catalonia, the only place where, for obvious reasons, the strike will actually take place. No, the text makes it abundantly clear that it is addressed to the whole of the Spanish state. It is understood that, in this situation, to achieve our goals as a class, we have to spread resistance everywhere. This should not be a fight between nations, but between classes. Between an oppressive regime and its fascist allies (as much a part of the “people” as anyone else) and those of us who stand for freedom and rebellious dignity.

    We expect repression to increase during the following weeks and days and we will use our weapon of choice, the general strike, to make it difficult for police to move around, get supplies and do their work in general. We'll see how things move forward from today on, but an already difficult situation can actually get nasty, in terms of repression. As revolutionaries, we don't believe we can just remain idle, while the police attack the people in the streets and fascist gangs roam our towns freely.

    Again, thank you for your support. We'll keep you updated.

    Miguel Pérez, International secretary, CNT.

    AFnA

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