The IWW's Feminist History

"The IWW has been accused of putting the women in the front. The truth is, the IWW does not keep them in the back, and they go to the front." – Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Wobbly, 1915

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a democratic, rank-and-file labor organization dedicated to building workers' power on the job. Founded in 1905 in Chicago, the IWW was one of the first unions to take seriously the struggle for women's liberation, enshrining in its constitution that "No worker shall be excluded from the IWW because of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, creed, disability, sexual orientation, or any other non-economic criterion . . . ." Helen Keller, Margaret Sanger, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, Lucy Parsons, Dorothy Day, and other celebrated feminists have all been members of the IWW, or "Wobblies."

Join Us in Fighting for Immigrant Workers' Rights

In addition to supporting women's liberation, the IWW has always fought for immigrant workers. In 2017, the IWW's New York City General Membership Branch (NYC GMB) supported workers at Tom Cat Bakery in Queens, who were targets of the first known I-9 audit under the Trump administration.

Tom Cat workers still need support! Contact us if you can volunteer to do consumer education or research!

I-9 audits are conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to pressure employers to fire undocumented workers, further criminalizing immigrants, jeopardizing the well-being of families, and fueling poverty. I-9 audits have been used to terrorize thousands of workers, including those at Cloverhill Bakery in Chicago, Boathouse Canton in Baltimore, and 7-Elevens across the country. ICE Deputy Director Tom Horman recently stated that he aims to increase such operations by 400 percent.

Organize to Defend Women, Immigrants & the Rest of the Working Class

Learn more by visiting us at our website (, on Facebook (/iwwnyc), or on Twitter (@iwwnyc). You can also reach us by email at: [email protected]

Twitter icon Instagram icon Facebook icon Mastodon icon GitHub icon