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(en) US, New York City: EZ Supply workers go IWW*

Date Sun, 05 Feb 2006 12:22:13 +0200

Deep in the gritty, industrial district of North Brooklyn/Queens, 15 workers
of EZ Supply started the new year right by marching to their workplace and
demanding that their highly abusive boss sign a petition recognizing the IWW
as their union. Little over a month earlier they had come to the workers’
night at Make The Road by Walking, and told of working long hours without being
paid overtime, which ultimately amounted to being paid less than minimum wage.
Sometimes the trucks would finally be loaded to the top at 3 p.m., and the
workers would be told that all 25 stops in Manhattan had to be made. And they
did something rarely heard of: they collectively forced their boss to rehire a
fired worker, who had been fired because he hadn’t made all the stops that day.

Soon they signed up with the IWW, and decided on some direct

Wearing IWW pins and carrying IWW flags and a banner saying
“abolish the wage system,” they were joined by members of
the local NYC-GMB, Make The Road by Walking, and workers
from Handy Fat, another warehouse nearby which has also
organized with the IWW. Soon there were rowdy chants and a picket
line which turned away at least one delivery.

“The boss thinks he’s God,” said FW Bert Picard, one
of the key organizers in the campaign. FW David Temple’s
command of the Chinese language conveyed the importance to this
“god-like” boss of coming out to speak with the workers and
signing the petition, or else there would be no work that day.

Ironically it wasn’t the chants in Chinese of “rat, rat, come
out of your hole” by those on the picket line that finally brought
the managers out of their hole, but instead management’s call to
the police. By 11 a.m. the boss had the petition, to be shown to his
lawyer, and the workers were back at work.

EZ Supply provides restaurants with coffee cups, take-out bags and
other supplies, but the union drive at their warehouse is providing
the sweatshops and exploited workers in the area with a wonderful
example of revolutionary unionism. After the EZ Supply workers
returned to work, Bert and other organizers remained outside and
took the names and numbers of other deliverers and workers who
had witnessed the brief strike and wanted to learn more about the
IWW and how to organize.

It was only the second day of 2006, a year which so far promises to
be very rewarding.


Industrial Worker - February 2006
* [Ed. Note: IWW - Industrial Workers
of the World is antiauthoritarian
anticapitalist direct action syndicate.]
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