The IWW's Feminist History

July 13, 2018


"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 (wobblycity.org), on Facebook (/iwwnyc), or on Twitter (@iwwnyc). You can also reach us by email at: [email protected]

Resolution on Immigration and Customs Enforcement

July 12, 2018


Whereas, the Industrial Workers of World have a longstanding tradition of organizing with immigrant workers; and

Whereas, the Industrial Workers of the World New York City General Membership Branch has an active campaign in support of workers impacted by a workplace audit executed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and

Whereas, the actions of ICE target the most vulnerable of the working class, splitting up families and incarcerating workers for trying to make a better life for themselves; and

Whereas, ICE drives down the wages and working conditions of immigrant workers, attempts to pit immigrant and non-immigrant workers against each other, and is an obstacle to the progress of all working people; and

Whereas, in New York City, ICE retaliated against protestors occupying the ICE Processing Center at 201 Varick Street by refusing to hold bond hearings for detainees or allow access to pro bono legal representation on June 26 and June 27, 2018; and

Whereas, an injury to one is an injury to all; be it,

Resolved, that the Industrial Workers of the World New York City General Membership Branch endorses the ICE facility occupations in New York City; and

Resolved, that the Industrial Workers of the World New York City General Membership Branch demands the abolition of ICE and a return to open borders; and

Resolved, that the Industrial Workers of the World New York City General Membership Branch opposes all cooperation between ICE and the New York City Police Department; and

Resolved, that the Industrial Workers of the World New York City General Membership Branch will give material assistance to anti-ICE protests, civil disobedience, and other actions as we are able.

On Janus v. AFSCME

July 3, 2018


Despite what gloating capitalists and defeatists progressives may say, the Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. AFSCME is not the end of unions in the US.

Unions were not created by the stroke of a judge's pen nor will they be undone by it. Unions were forged in the flames of class war, against the interests of politicians and their lackeys, by working people who understood that we can only count on each other. Whenever and wherever workers act together to improve their working conditions, unions will prevail. No law can change this.

Capitalists seek to turn back the clock to 1934, to before the National Labor Relations Act gave unions legal protections? So be it. We welcome 1934. 1934 saw the ILA unionize all West Coast ports, Teamsters break into "open shop" Minneapolis, and textile workers from New England to the South launch what was the largest strike in US history. The NLRA was a compromise imposed by the government to prevent all out class war. If we are done compromising, then let us return to fighting.

But we don't need to look so far back for inspiration. In 2018, teachers in West Virginia proved that workers need only act together to succeed. WV teachers already lacked the protections that Janus will strip from other unions. That did not stop them from winning their demands and inspiring workers across the country.

The Industrial Workers of the World was founded in 1905. For over 100 years, we have known that there can be no compromise between workers and bosses. Join us for the fight.

The Silver Lining Behind "Right to Work" Legislation

June 28, 2018


While the IWW recognizes that recent "right to work" legislation is a blatant attempt to bankrupt unions, we also see an opportunity for unions to respond by becoming militant and more democratic, as well as teaching members that a union can function quite well without the mandatory deduction of dues from paychecks. Indeed, unions were strongest long before the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which codified labor law, and proved that victories are not dependent on the dues check-off.

In the IWW, the dues check-off is unconstitutional and workers are encouraged to pay dues either directly to a delegate, online, or through the mail. When workers understand that there is value in their union, they will want to pay dues. And when workers have complete democracy in their union, they'll know that their vote controls exactly how their dues are spent. Worried about "freeloaders?" Let the workers handle this alleged problem—not the bosses or the state.

Union membership has continued to decline since the 1950s. How low does the percentage have to plummet before workers realize that unions need a new strategy to win? Only when workers know that they are the union, that they control how it operates and how the dues are collected and spent, will unions return to the fighting machines they once were.

Don't let the state convince you that it can end union membership simply by ending the dues check-off—history has shown otherwise!

June Newsletter

June 19, 2018


General Membership Branch (GMB) meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 7 PM.
Email [email protected] for location details.


Fellow Workers,

Welcome to the June edition of our e-newsletter! Feedback and collaboration are always encouraged. Simply reply to this email to learn how to get more involved in its production.

In addition to the events listed here, you can always check the Google Calendar of the NYC General Defense Committee (GDC) for more happenings. If you would like to submit radical events in and around New York City to the calendar, email details to [email protected].

UPCOMING BRANCH EVENTS

Every day at various times: We need Fellow Workers to participate in consumer education. Please email FW Frank if you would like to sign up for a shift.

Sunday, July 1 from 5 to 8 p.m.: The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, along with the Stop the Raids Coalition, is hosting their monthly Family Gathering Against the Raids. Come to the Bronx Social Center (970 Prospect Ave., Bronx) for letter-writing and hat-passing for desperately needed commissary money. E-mail [email protected] to RSVP.

Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8: Join fellow workers on a Wobbly camping trip! The location details are still being worked out, but please RSVP here by June 24th.

Before the next meeting, the branch will hold an orientation session for new members. The date and time has not been selected yet, but reach out to [email protected] if you are interested in attending.

Tuesday, July 10 at 7 p.m.: Attend the monthly meeting of the IWW NYC GMB. Watch this list for location details or email [email protected].

Saturday and Sunday, August 4 & 5: The New Haven General Membership Branch is holding an organizer training 101. The branch has voted to subsidize some of the travel costs for NYC branch members who would like to attend. Please reach out to [email protected] if you are interested.

PROTESTS, PICKETS & MORE AROUND THE CITY

Workers at the House of Kava in Brooklyn need our help! The workers have organized, and after facing several firings, are running pickets in front of the shop at 238 Central Ave in Brooklyn everyday from 7 to 9 p.m. Contribute to the workers' strike fund here.

Thursday mornings at 6 a.m. and Tuesday afternoons at 3 p.m. Join union workers on the northwest corner of 34 Street and 10 Avenue to protest greedy developers at the Hudson Yards.

Every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Join striking Spectrum workers at these locations around the city.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The branch has experienced several email issues - sorry for any inconvenience! If you emailed the branch in the past few months, and did not get a response, we may not have received your message. Please reach out again, as the issue has been resolved. Also, our internal listserv experienced technical issues last month - if you were removed and not added back to the list, please email [email protected].

The branch has voted to use Loomio as our online voting system. While Fellow Workers are busy getting together by-laws for the new system, please check out introduction to Loomio videos here and here.

Stardust Family United has been one of the most successful organizing campaigns taken on by the IWW in years. The have had great success, but need our help: They have racked up thousands of dollars in legal fees while fighting their organizing campaign. The branch has made a generous donation, but we now need individual members to donate and spread the word about SFU's crowd-fundraiser.

IWOC has two crowd-funding campaigns: one for a Fellow Worker inside who has incurred legal fees while fighting abuses by correction officers and two Fellow Workers who were recently released. Please donate here and here.

IWOC is picking up Jailhouse Lawyers Speak's call for a nation-wide prison strike from August 21 to September 9, and they need help planning solidarity actions, corresponding with inside contacts, and getting the word out to the media. Organizing meetings are currently every second Friday at 7 p.m., usually by phone, and the next one will be on Friday, May 19. If you'd like to join, please e-mail [email protected].

ORGANIZING RESOURCES

GMB Tech has launched a Signal group for the branch. (An off-topic group has been created as well.) Reply to this email to be added to the group. Download Signal here.

In order to better organize our industrial union building efforts, the branch voted to organize a series of teams: member orientation, mobilizing, tech, communications, legal, research, and fundraising. Their descriptions can be found here. Please reply to this email to learn how to join each team!

Online dues collection has launched! You can still pay in person, but if you cannot make our monthly meetings, head over to the website and sign up.

The IWW one-pager and branch trifold are officially complete—and they look great! You can find the one-pager here and the trifold here. Make copies at home, surreptitiously at work, or at a unionized print shop, and distribute to help explain what the IWW is and what we do.

WHAT WOBBLIES READ & LISTEN TO

"At the New School, Labor Struggles Unite Students and Workers" Pacific Standard

"The Unequal Geography of the Gig Economy" The Atlantic

"Remembering the Postville Raid" Workday Minnesota