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(en) US, Direct Action Gets the Goods! IWW* Chicago Victory for Unpaid Worker

Date Sun, 15 Jan 2006 10:01:07 +0200

the Industrial Workers of the World labor union (IWW) called for an
informational picket to boycott the Ideal Hand Car Wash in Chicago’s
Albany Park neighborhood after the managers and owners of the business
refused to pay Neil Rysdahl, a longtime member of the IWW, the $227.50
he was owed for over 45 hours of work he preformed for them.
The highly visible protest began at 8 AM, with a small but dedicated
group of picketers banging bucket drums, shaking noisemakers, passing
out leaflets, and carrying signs reading, “Ideal Car Wash Cheats
Workers,” and “An Injury to One is an Injury to All!” Notably, one
picketer dressed in a clown costume held a sign reading, “Ideal Bosses
Are Bozos!” to mock the clown Ideal usually uses to attract customers.

Humboldt Park Food Not Bombs showed up to serve bread, pastry, hummus,
and coffee, and joined in the picket. “I knew this was an important
picket to support because it was an opportunity to make a real
difference in someone’s life through direct action,” said Robert Clack,
a member of Humboldt Park Food Not Bombs.

The picket effectively shut down business at the car wash for the
morning, as most drivers who intended to patronize Ideal drove away
after talking with picketers or seeing signs blasting the business for
unfair labor practices.

After only three hours of picketing, Eduardo “Eddie” Amanero, a manager
of the car wash, agreed to pay Rysdahl in full, in cash, on the spot, in
order to bring an end to the picket.

“The point of all this is, if you mess with one of us, you mess with all
of us,” said Patrick Brenner, a members of the National Executive Board
of the IWW. “We stick up for our members.”

In November, Rysdahl brought a grievance to the IWW Branch Meeting. The
Grievance Committee then wrote two polite, professional letters to the
managers and owner of Ideal, warning that industrial action would be the
next step taken by the Union if Rysdahl was not paid in full in a timely

“Eddie Amanero called us after he received the letter and said he was
trying to sell the business,” said Penny Pixler, a member of the
Grievance Committee of the IWW Chicago Branch. “He said he wasn’t going
to pay Neil.”

During the protest, the owners and managers of the business tried to
intimidate picketers, calling them “losers,” and “faggots.”

“When the owner and his goons showed up, and tried to start a
confrontation, I tried to put them at ease and told them we didn’t want
any trouble, we just wanted to make things right for Neil,” said
Brenner. “When I went inside to negotiate for Neal and to collect
payment for him, the guys the owner brought with him threatened us,
saying, ‘Why are you paying this faggot his money? We’re going to fuck
him up.’”

The landlord of the building Ideal occupies also stopped by the protest.
He said the business is one and a half months late on their rent
payments and indicated this might be the last straw for the owners of

The Chicago Police arrived at the meeting point for picketers before
anyone planning to attend the protest.

“The cops knew what was going on, probably from reading posts on
Indymedia,” said Rysdahl. “I told them the owners of Ideal were
gangsters, and that they were ripping off workers. The cops told me they
already know about the situation.”

Although four or five police cars stayed in the vicinity for the
duration of the protest, they did not leave their cars to approach
picketers or to interfere with Food Not Bombs.

When asked what he was going to do with his back wages, Rysdahl said,
“I’m going to catch up on some debts. And, of course, I’m going to pay
all of the back dues I owe to the IWW!”

By: Buffy la Anarchista


Background Info:

Big Idea CSC – PR For Revolution!
"Big Idea Communications" <bigideacommunications@hotmail.com>
* [Ed. Note: IWW - Industrial Workers of the World is antiauthoritarian
anticapitalist direct action syndicate.]
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