IWW Delegate Facing Trumped-Up Charges Needs Your Help!

police-brutality-1On November 14, 2013, IWW members picketed Cambridge’s Insomnia Cookies. Insomnia workers had joined the IWW and gone on strike in August due to long shifts ending after 2 a.m. with no breaks, for pay below minimum wage. They demanded health benefits, $15/hr and a union, and were all promptly fired.* The cops had been trying to shut down our pickets for months, becoming ever more aggressive in their attempts to help crush the fledgling Insomnia Workers’ Union.

That night in November, scores of Cambridge and Harvard cops swarmed our picket and demanded we shut down our portable PA. We promptly turned it off. The cops surrounded the union member who’d been holding it, pushing him into the street. Concerned for the IWW member’s safety, Delegate Jason told the cops to let him go. Immediately four cops piled on Jason, one of them seizing him by the throat and covering his mouth and nose. They threw him down on the ground and pinned him partially under a car. None of the picketers could see what was happening as the cops roughed Jason up, punching and bloodying him. We started chanting against the brutality, only to be threatened with pepper spray by the goons in blue. Finally they dragged Jason away.

Predictably Jason was falsely charged with a variety of offenses including assaulting a cop. Bravely refusing to accept a disadvantageous “deal” that could limit his employment opportunities, Jason has held out for a trial. The fact that he has open charges means he cannot find work, and is now without any income.

Jason goes on trial starting March 18, 2015, after months and months of appearing in court due to the frame-up. Please contribute to our online fundraiser here and share the fundraiser and this message as widely as possible! All proceeds will go towards Jason’s living and legal expenses. Many great IWW and labor-themed perks await contributors. :) You can also send checks to: Boston IWW, PO Box 391724, Cambridge, MA 02139 (please indicate your check is intended to help Jason).

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

*The union’s campaign ultimately won back pay and offers of reemployment for the strikers.

Posted in Boston GMB, Insomnia Cookies Strike & Union Drive, Police Brutality, workplace organizing | Leave a comment

On the Beaches of Santa Monica, Temp Workers Organize

Beach Bathroom Workers Clean Lifeguard Stations

There’s a hidden underside to Santa Monica, California’s idyllic exterior.

Santa Monica is a beautiful beachfront city: breezes from the Pacific Ocean, a year-round Mediterranean climate, 3.5 miles of beaches. Seven million visitors a year flock here—generating $1.63 billion.

But the workers who maintain the city are hired on an as-needed basis, earning poverty-level wages, lacking benefits and the ability to form a union.

I am one of them. I’ve been employed as a temporary employee in beach bathroom maintenance for four years. I struggle to earn a living and hold an extra job so I can earn enough money to survive.

The recession hurt many families in Los Angeles, including mine. My mother moved in with me when my family’s house was lost to a foreclosure. She had nowhere else to go, so I found a home big enough for all of us.

As the eldest child in my family, I support my mother and two younger siblings, but I can barely afford to pay the bills from the $2,000 monthly income I earn. Rent and utilities are $2,200 a month, groceries another $600-700.

A COLOR LINE

Though we do the same work, my coworkers and I earn half of what workers with permanent status earn. There are 10 of us temporary workers, called “labor trainees” although we’ve never received formal training from the city.

Some of us have been in this state of limbo for almost 30 years and were never offered a permanent job. We’ve also taken the civil service exam and passed, but this still didn’t result in a permanent job offer either.

A color line divides the temporary from the permanent workers in Santa Monica. All of us temps are people of color—five of us are Latino and five Black. Our counterparts who are classified as permanent employees of the city, enjoying health insurance and pension benefits, are mostly white.

The problem isn’t only concentrated in the Santa Monica beach, of course. There’s a whole new “permatemp” section of the economy, including workers like us who have been made into “as-needed” casual workers while still being directly hired, and workers who are outsourced to staffing agencies.

According to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project and the National Staffing Workers Alliance, the number of workers in that second category of outsourced workers “has reached an all-time high”: “2.8 million Americans are currently employed in temporary help services, which constitute the majority of staffing industry jobs.”

For employers these are strategies to dodge unions, benefits, and labor laws. The National Labor Relations Board has gone back and forth over the years on whether temporary employees or contracted workers can form a bargaining unit. (Most of this is fought out in court cases. To read more, check out the Seattle-based Center for a Changing Workforce.)

And it’s not just private-sector employers anymore.

PERMATEMP ECONOMY

The public sector used to be a conduit to middle-class, union jobs for many Black and brown people. But state and local governments are increasing employment of permatemps like me.

The use of temporary workers has increased since the recession, as city budgets have been slashed. “Public-sector agencies are increasingly trying to minimize their obligations to workers by staffing through temp agencies—even for long-term jobs—and outsourcing to private contractors,” said Chris Tilly, Director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

We have a chance to stop the growing problem of the permatemp economy here in Santa Monica. If we don’t, I’m afraid that the city will take the next step and start outsourcing more jobs to third-party contractors.

To bring fairness to its beaches, Santa Monica needs to make all of us permanent workers. If we had permanent status, I might be able to support my family on one job—rather than juggling two and working 80 hours a week.

My co-workers would be able to get proper medical care instead of having to come in to work sick or with dangerous infections. We might feel more like dignified workers instead of expendable labor.

CITY HEARING ON TUESDAY

Last year my co-workers and I joined the Industrial Workers of the World and began organizing for change.

Now we are close to making that first step. This Tuesday, the Santa Monica City Council will discuss the status of its permatemp workers. We invite everyone to come join us and support our demands for dignity and justice at work.

Please take a moment to share your feelings about ending the permatemp economy with the Santa Monica City Council by signing our petition. We can build a movement to stop the permatemp economy before it swallows us all.

Shyolanda Montana is employed as an as-needed labor trainee for the city of Santa Monica since May 2011. She wrote this article with the support of Yvonne Yen Liu and Morgan Presta (a pseudonym), both members of Los Angeles Industrial Workers of the World.

– See more at: http://labornotes.org/blogs/2015/01/beaches-santa-monica-temp-workers-organize#sthash.YkIWGapZ.dpuf

sign the petition

https://www.coworker.org/p/beachworkers

Posted in community organizing, international | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Starbucks Announces Record Year in 2014 While Workers Still Wait for Improvements

starbucks

Company Earns Profit of Nearly $11,000 per Worker and Enriches Shareholders While Paying Poverty Wages

December 2014

Starbucks recently announced record sales and profits for fiscal year 2014. A previous Starbucks Workers Union report, Low Wages and Grande Profits at Starbucks, summarized company performance over the past decade and showed how stores are now staffed at a lower level, and workers are working harder while bringing in much more profit for the company. Instead of paying a living wage to workers, the company has transferred billions to shareholders over the past few years. The 2014 results continue this trend in every way. The most crucial fact is that the company earned almost $11,000 in profit for every worker and this money could fund a significant wage
increase instead of being given to shareholders.

http://www.starbucksunion.org/

Posted in Boston GMB, community organizing, starbucks | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Boston Industrial Workers of the World monthly meeting!

FancyIWWConstPosterLG.preview

hey Fellow Workers!

on Sunday December 14, 2pm the Boston Industrial Workers of the World will
have our monthly meeting! please join us! The IWW is a member-run union
for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the job, in our
industries and in our communities. IWW members are organizing to win
better conditions today and build a world with economic democracy
tomorrow. Local IWW’s (also known as Wobblies) are actively engaged in
solidarity campaigns, supporting other workers in struggle like Boston’s
embattled school bus drivers! We are training Wobbly organizers and
building our capacity to launch more IWW union drives, concentrating on
super-exploited service sector workers. All members of the working class
(including the unemployed and those who labor unpaid at home) are eligible
to join the IWW. If you’re sick of inequality, workplace injustice and an
inhumane, profit-driven economic system, come check out the One Big Union!
We meet at Encuentro 5, 9a Hamilton Place, steps from the Park
St. T and two blocks from Downtown Crossing.

Posted in Boston GMB, community organizing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Solidarity In Hong Kong, Brazil And Spain

solidarnosc2

By Florian H., William B., J. Pierce, and Anders M. of the International Solidarity Commission (ISC)

To support the protests in Hong Kong the ISC signed the petition of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) demanding an end to the violence against the protesters. The struggle continues in the financial district of Hong Kong.
On the other side of the world we grieve for Didi together with our dear fellow workers in Brazil:The Industrial Workers of the World wish to express our solidarity with Central Sindical e Popular (CSP Conlutas- Brasil) in sorrow at the death of Dirceu “Didi” Travesso. He was a labor leader of international renown and was especially known for his labor activities in Sao Paulo. He will be sorely missed.
In Madrid several unions within the Red & Black Coordination met recently and the ISC sent a warm “Hello” to the syndicalists:The International Solidarity Commission (ISC) sends to all our comrades and fellow workers here a warm greeting on behalf of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The IWW is proud to be a close friend and supporter of the Red & Black Coordination and our hopes are that this body will grow powerful and ambitious.At the present moment, the criminals in many of our countries are focused on stealing their lucre from the budgets of public services. They rewrite the laws to swindle the sanitation workers, utility workers, and office employees out of their wages, benefits, and pensions. They cripple the public schools and government hospitals in order to create customers for private, for profit schools and hospitals. They “reform” the patrimony of a people to dispossess them of their land and their nationalized industries. Apart from government, they’re focused on increasing consumer debt and raising prices while lowering expectations and living standards to the absolute minimum. The slave masters have been so busy, so focused on their financial schemes, that they have not noticed the new society being built around them.
When they finally look up and see this new world, they will not be able to comprehend it. Their slaves will have combined and pushed them aside (if they are lucky). Their money changing and numbers games will have collapsed. Their control over armies, industries, and institutions will have faded. And everywhere in the streets, in town squares, from the tops of tall buildings, in front yards and aloft on balconies, plastered to factory, facility, and university gates they will behold the Red and Black banner…

The IWW wishes you all a productive and fun conference and looks forward to gluing ourselves tighter to the Red & Black Coordination and all of our revolutionary sister unions for the many battles ahead. Solidarity Forever!

Email the ISC at solidarity@iww.org.

Posted in General Strike, international, Solidarity Statement, Uncategorized, workplace organizing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Oklahoma IWW Stands in Solidarity with Students #YesAllDaughters

Students at Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma walkedout of their classes at 9:20 A.M. on Monday, November 24th, 2014 greeted by hundreds of activists and supporters boldly standing with them in solidarity. Why?

Throughout the semester, an 18-year-old senior at the school raped three female students, publicized the rapes and humiliated the survivors. These girls were met with bullying and harassment, one being forced to leave the school because of constant hazing; another was not even able to enter the school before being violently confronted by the rapist’s friends. Another retaliated when being harassed and was asked to leave the school for the remainder of the year until things “blow over.” The administration punished the survivor for self-defense and has done nothing to address rape, sexual assault and harassment in their school community.

A brave group of students, supporters, and friends of the survivors decided to take action against this injustice. Three weeks ago, meeting in coffeehouses and in supporter’s homes, a core group of organizers brainstormed what they could do to force the administration to address this problem. Through cooperation with local activists and media, the #YesAllDaughters campaign was born, garnering almost 5,000 likes in two weeks, bringing media attention to the issue (including a publishing in Jezebel) and rallying hundreds of students and supporters to stand outside the school next Monday morning.

As a union committed to the abolition of patriarchy and all forms of exploitation, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) stands with these students in solidarity and will be represented at the walkout. Christophe Parsons, a delegate for the Oklahoma IWW, was part of the core group of organizers. Parsons said, “Both as a friend of the survivor and as a revolutionary unionist committed to building a new world, inaction was not an option. I am proud of my fellow students and community supporters who have rallied around these girls, and I am proud of my union, which has showed incredible solidarity and support in organizing this event.”

“Anyone who denies the role that patriarchy plays in oppression, anyone who will not practice gender equity and feminism is not a revolutionary. The Oklahoma IWW will not stand silent in the face of such a blatant injustice in our community against our young people,” said Parsons.

The Oklahoma IWW echoes the cries of the student-activists and stands alongside them in their struggle and the struggle of all victims of patriarchy. #YesAllDaughters

Posted in community organizing, Solidarity Statement | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

IWW Greece Solidarity With Prisoner On Hunger Strike

join_the_iww_by_party9999999-d5mg3oy

On Nov. 10, 2014, anarchist prisoner Nikos Romanos began a hunger strike laying claim to educational passes from prison so he could take classes in the university in which he had enrolled.

His application to the Prison Council, formed by attorney general Nikolaos Poimenidis, headmistress Charalambia Koutsomichali as well as a social worker, still remain unanswered. The appealing interrogator Eftichis Nikolopoulos, who has been claiming not to be tasked with this matter, has sent a document to the council reporting that Romanos’ application for educational passes from prison has been denied.

Iraklis Kwstaris began his own hunger strike on Oct. 29 for educational passes from prison to take classes at the university TEI of Piraeus. He is receiving the same denying documents from the council.

IWW Greece completely supports the hunger strikers and denounces the infringement of their legal rights. In solidarity we ask the council to give all educational passes from prison to Nikos Romanos and Iraklis Kwstaris immediately.

We hold the Prison Council responsible for every day of the hunger strike and for whatever happens from now on.

Support Nikos Romanos by signing the petition:

https://secure.avaaz.org/el/petition/Symvoylio_Fylakon_Korydalloy_Amesi_horigisi_ekpaideytikon_adeion_toy_apergoy_peinas_Nikoy_Romanoy/?ajcVHib.

IWW Greece
IU 620 Educational Workers
IU 610 Health Workers
iwwgreece@yahoo.gr

Posted in international | Tagged , , | Leave a comment