As a volunteer organizer with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), I am proud to announce that a supermajority of the 11 "as needed" beach maintenance workers in Santa Monica just signed Industrial Workers of the World petitions to collectively bargain with the city of Santa Monica for permanent employment. This is a big deal, considering the degree of past exploitation of "as needed" which is a term for "temporary" employment, even when the employment is not temporary. In essence these workers are fighting for rights long denied in a city with a reputation for progressive policies.
On September 29th Insomnia Cookies fired union organizer Colin James for his union activity under the guise of company theft. Colin has been a model employee without a single write-up and has been organizing at Insomnia Cookies for over 6 months. This is the same union busting tactic this company used late last year, firing union organizer Tommy Mendez in Nov. of 2013.
About the only thing A. Barton Hinkle gets right about the Industrial Workers of the World in “Meet the Left-Wing Extremist Running for U.S. Senate” is not calling them the “International Workers of the World”. Although at least Reason likening the “Wobblies”, whose founding antedates the Russian Revolution by over a decade, to “warmed-over Lenin” is not the most anachronistically wrong description published by a major libertarian organization. After all, the Ludwig von Mises Institute has called them Stalinist.
On 18 August 2014 over 10,000 port truckers in Ningbo, China, went on strike, not having had a raise in over 8 years. The strike lasted almost a week, with management offering a 12% raise. It involved nearly the entire trucking fleet of Ningbo, which is China's 3rd busiest port and the world's 6th busiest. During the strike, the port was paralyzed and ships were diverted to Shanghai.
Freshii Workers’ Union members and supporters staged a picket on Monday to demand an end to abuses by Freshii franchise owner Peter Irie. The assembled group demanded that Irie re-hire illegally fired workers, cease union-busting tactics and attacks on union supporters, and officially recognize the Freshii Workers’ Union (FWU).
Thanks to Jeff and Hien’s courage and all the support from so many of you it appears that Cynthia, the owner of La Lot, is now prepared to meet all of our demands. This means implementing a fair tip structure and restoring Hien to the schedule she was working before she was retaliated against for speaking up about stolen tips. Cynthia had already sent emails to staff implementing the new tip structure Jeff and Hien had asked for as a result of the strike, but until last night she was still holding fast that she would not return Hien to her old schedule.
For the customers, nothing has changed in the big, busy McDonald’s on Broadway at West 181st Street, in Washington Heights. Promotions come and go—during the World Cup, the French-fry package was suddenly not red but decorated with soccer-related “street art,” and, if you held your phone up to the box, it would download an Augmented Reality app that let you kick goals with the flick of a finger. New menu items appear—recently, the Jalapeño Double and the Bacon Clubhouse, or, a while back, the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal. But a McDonald’s is a McDonald’s. This one is open twenty-four hours.
On Labor Day - Monday, Sept. 1st - workers at a Jimmy Johns franchise in Baltimore, Maryland are taking action with their union - the IWW Jimmy Johns Workers Union! They will be flyering outside of their store today in order to press for their demands. Lets give their action a little more oomph and show the bosses that we union members stick together! We will be in front of the store from noon (12:00) EST until 2:00 EST, lets keep the phones ringing! A couple of ground rules: no threatening, try to avoid profanity, and most importantly call often!
When Hien started working at La Lot she was told that things there worked a little differently: management would retain 60% of any tips she earned. She had never worked in a restaurant before, didn't know anything about the relevant labor laws, and needed a job-- so she agreed. She quickly learned that most of her co-workers were also working under similar or even more exploitative arrangements. To make matters worse, managers routinely belittled and disrespected their under-paid workforce. As time passed, and Hien began to compare what her paychecks should be to the meager sums she was actually receiving, she decided she needed to do something. She approached some of her co-workers about the issue, and two of them agreed to go with her to confront the owner about her unfair and illegal practice.
Outside of coffee shops and bookstores, crowded Whole Foods stores and worker-run co-ops nationwide, you‘re bound to find canvassers asking for donations or signatures in support of a host of causes. They’re often young people shaking the can for high-profile nonprofits. But as we get deeper into the post-crash precarious economy, the image of canvassers as idealistic college students making a few extra bucks on summer break quickly disintegrates. People are turning to this occupation as their primary source of income, according to many active campaigners. They are hired by independently contracted companies to canvas for nonprofits. The quotas are demanding, making the work one of the most difficult low-wage jobs to hold on to.