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(en) Industrial Worker - Official Newspaper Of the Wrkers Of the World II.

Date Wed, 14 Jun 2006 20:47:55 +0300

Immigrants and supporters rally in Pensacola April 10
One thousand workers took to the
streets on a beautiful Monday morning to
demonstrate their support for immigrant
rights in downtown Pensacola on April 10.
People from as far away as Tallahassee
came to Martin Luther King Jr Plaza to march
and support this historic rally. Sean Enfinger,
a Creek American Indian and hip hop artist
who goes by the name "Shadowyze," said
that many Americans seem to have forgotten
their heritage. "Immigrants have always been
an important part of the social mechanics of
America, (at least) since 1492," he said.
Michelle zuniga carried a sign that
read "Queremos Leyes Justas" or we want
just laws. Other signs read "Freedom Must
be Earned and We've Earned It!" and "We
are not Criminals." Several members of the
Pensacola GMB of the IWW joined the one-
day strike and marched carrying signs that
read "Solidaridad" and "An injury to One is
an Injury to All" (in Spanish, of course).
Alberto Marte and Amy Landrum,
both members of the Pensacola IWW, were
scheduled to speak at the rally. However,
the event took on a life of its own as people
continued to march through downtown.
"I don't think too many people are here to
stop and listen to speakers. I think they just
want to march," Landrum said. "And that's
all right with me."
Protesters plan to march again on May
Day in what could be one of the largest
demonstrations in recent Pensacola history.
1916 British IWW Songbook
A 1916 edition of the Little Red Songbook
issued by the British IWW is available online
at www.musicanet.org/robokopp/iww.html. It
features lyrics to 66 Wobbly songs, several of
which also have instrumental versions of the
tune so you can sing along.
London May Day events
The London IWW will host a Workplace
Organising session at 4 p.m. with Executive
Board member Adam Lincoln, followed by
an 80th anniversary commemoration of the
1926 General Strike featuring a presentation
by NUM and Wobbly veteran Dave Douglass.
Saturday, 29 April, at 21 Russell Square, Lon-
don. details: www.iww.org.uk
A May Day programme on the 1926 Min-
ers' Lock-Out and General Strike will be held
at the Woolpack Pub in Doncaster, beginning
at 3 p.m. with "The Miners Film," followed
by a talk by David Douglass and a folk music
social. This program is organised by Mining
Communities Advice Service in conjunction
with the National Union of Mineworkers, the
IWW and Doncaster Class War.
Midwest Wobfest 2006
Midwest Wobfest will be hosted by the
Twin Cities General Membership Branch
July 14-16. Wobfest events will be organized
around building solidarity and community
within our union through art, music, spoken
word, comedy, a labor tour, and of course the
sing-along battle between the Chicago and
Twin Cities GMBs. Wobblies from around
the country are encouraged to attend. For
info or housing, email the Twin Cities GMB
at jpila@iww.org or leave a message on the
branch voicemail at (612) 339-4418.
May Day Greetings
"The liberation of
the working class is
the task of the
workers themselves."
(No intermediaries needed)
Harry Siitonen,
San Francisco Bay Area GMB
Brooklyn warehouse workers winning with direct action
Boston Wobblies joined tens of thousands of workers April 10 in an immigrant rights
protest, part of national Day Without An Immigrant actions that saw more than a million
workers join protests and walk-outs in hundreds of cities across the United States.

On March 20 at 5:30 a.m. workers at
Amersino, a produce distribution warehouse
in Brooklyn, N.Y., met in a deli to sign IWW
membership cards and prepare to stand up to
an abusive boss. On that chilly Monday morn-
ing close to 20 Latino workers along with a
diverse IWW contingent ­ including workers
from Handyfat, Starbucks and Mayday books
­ marched on the boss demanding the imme-
diate reinstatement of fired workers, an end
to violations of minimum wage and overtime
laws, and respect from the boss.
As the boss drove up in his new Mercedes
Benz, workers marched with bikes in hand
ready to demand justice. The showdown
between the workers and their boss is just
one example of the class conflict that exists
in New York City. The workers organized to
end the harsh treatment from the boss who
would yell racist remarks at workers while
paying them far below what they earned.
Meanwhile the boss used the money he was
stealing to build a collection of trucks he is
using for his long haul operations and other
business endeavors.
The workers surrounded the boss as
IWW organizer Billy Randel negotiated. After
exchanging some words and laying out the
demands two fired workers were immediately
reinstated. In addition the boss agreed to
temporarily agree to all demands. Although
that did not mean much, it was enough to
prevent a strike. Workers returned to work
proudly wearing their IWW buttons.
Within the same week the boss began
to engage in his anti-union campaign. In an
attempt to intimidate workers the boss fired
two workers claiming that since he rehired
the other two workers he now has to fired
these two. In addition, the boss refused to talk
to IWW representatives and made it clear that
he was not looking to negotiate.
On Saturday, March 25, Amersino work-
ers once again met at 5:30 a.m. with the inten-
sion of going on strike unless their demands
were met. With the help of IWW organizer
Bert Picard, workers engaged in a consensus-
based decision-making process. Workers
decided that unless the boss reinstated the
fired workers they would strike.
The workers then marched on and con-
fronted the boss. The boss claimed he did not
have the money to pay everyone, the boss
asked workers not to be influenced by outsid-
ers, the boss red-baited and declared his pas-
sion for America. Workers stood their ground
as the boss rambled nonsense. Finally, after
seeing that the workers were ready to strike,
the boss rehired the two fired workers.
The boss at Amersino is still violating the
law and stealing from workers, however the
workers are backed by the IWW and Make
The Road by Walking who together are build-
ing power for an underclass of undocumented
workers in Brooklyn. Immigrant workers in
Brooklyn are standing together and organiz-
ing in demand of an end to the abusive con-
dition of work, an end to disrespect, and an
onset of having their voice heard. An NLRB
election is set for April 28.
Ottawa Wobblies aid
Panhandlers Union
The Ottawa GMB is working with the
Panhandlers Union of Ottawa in its campaign
against criminalization, assisting with legal
defence and advocating with social service
and housing authorities.
For a time, Wobblies produced an edition
of the Dominion newspaper for distribution by
the panhandlers for donations. The city shut
this successful venture down with a bylaw
prohibiting street vending. The panhandlers
are demanding an end to prosecutions and
more humane solutions to homelessness.
The union holds monthly meetings, and is
negotiating with local authorities.
Preamble to the IWW Constitution
The working class and the employing class
have nothing in common. There can be no
peace so long as hunger and want are found
among millions of working people and the few,
who make up the employing class, have all the
good things of life.
Between these two classes a struggle must
go on until the workers of the world organize
as a class, take possession of the means of pro-
duction, abolish the wage system, and live in
harmony with the earth.
We find that the centering of the manage-
ment of industries into fewer and fewer hands
makes the trade unions unable to cope with
the ever-growing power of the employing class.
The trade unions foster a state of affairs which
allows one set of workers to be pitted against
another set of workers in the same industry,
thereby helping defeat one another in wage
wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the em-
ploying class to mislead the workers into the
belief that the working class have interests in
common with their employers.
These conditions can be changed and the
interest of the working class upheld only by an
organization formed in such a way that all its
members in any one industry, or all industries
if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or
lockout is on in any department thereof, thus
making an injury to one an injury to all.
Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair
day's wage for a fair day's work," we must in-
scribe on our banner the revolutionary watch-
word, "Abolition of the wage system."
It is the historic mission of the working
class to do away with capitalism. The army of
production must be organized, not only for the
everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to
carry on production when capitalism shall have
been overthrown. By organizing industrially we
are forming the structure of the new society
within the shell of the old.
Join the IWW Today
he IWW is a union for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the
job, in our industries and in our communities both to win better conditions
today and to build a world without bosses, a world in which production and
distribution are organized by workers ourselves to meet the needs of the entire popula-
tion, not merely a handful of exploiters.
We are the Industrial Workers of the World because we organize industrially ­ that
is to say, we organize all workers on the job into one union, rather than dividing workers
by trade, so that we can pool our strength to fight the bosses together.
Since the IWW was founded in 1905, we have recognized the need to build a truly
international union movement in order to confront the global power of the bosses and
in order to strengthen workers' ability to stand in solidarity with our fellow workers
no matter what part of the globe they happen to live on.
We are a union open to all workers, whether or not the IWW happens to have rep-
resentation rights in your workplace. We organize the worker, not the job, recognizing
that unionism is not about government certification or employer recognition but about
workers coming together to address our common concerns. Sometimes this means
striking or signing a contract. Sometimes it means refusing to work with an unsafe
machine or following the bosses' orders so literally that nothing gets done. Sometimes
it means agitating around particular issues or grievances in a specific workplace, or
across an industry.
Because the IWW is a democratic, member-run union, decisions about what issues
to address and what tactics to pursue are made by the workers directly involved.
Learning as we fight: AMFA & IWW
What better way to celebrate April Fool's
Day than with fellow Wobs? On April 1 the
Twin Cities GMB hosted a forum at Maca-
laster College entitled "Lessons from the
Northwest Airlines Strike." The event went
well, with nearly 100 people who came to
discuss the six-month-old struggle against
the bosses at Northwest Airlines.
A fellow worker from the Twin Cities
GMB opened the evening with a few remarks
about the IWW and its involvement in the
strike, and then introduced each speaker.
First up was Ted Ludwig, president of
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association Lo-
cal 33. He started by saying that he will not
call this "lessons learned" because the strike
is ongoing, though many workers have been
forced to look for new, lower-paying jobs.
Without placing blame on any one per-
son or organization, FW Ludwig lamented
the lack of solidarity from other unions. He
also spoke about how NWA has a tight grip on
the strings of state legislators (not a surprise
to Wobblies). FW Ludwig then went on to
explain how the mechanics could have ac-
cepted pay cuts at the beginning of the strike,
following in the wake of massive downsizing
among the union's ranks. Facing these terms,
workers "must draw a line in the sand and
stand up for their rights." FW Ludwig ended
by announcing his run for a seat in the Min-
nesota senate (not a lesson this Wob would
have learned, but to each their own).
The second speaker was Peter Rachleff,
Toward a new labour
media movement?
"The ideas of the ruling class are in every
epoch the ruling ideas" ­ this well-known
quotation from Karl Marx was chosen by one
speaker to open his presentation at an ex-
traordinary conference which has just taken
place in Cape Town, South Africa.
The conference, sponsored by the Inter-
national Federation of Workers Education
Associations and one of its South African
affiliates, Workers World Media Productions,
was entitled "Workers' Education and Work-
ers' Media in a Global Economy." Participants
came from North and South America, Europe,
the Middle East, Africa and Asia. They repre-
sented some of the most innovative projects
in the labour movement today.
Among them were, for example, Myoung
Joon Kim and Jiyoung Lee, whose Labor
News Productions in South Korea have pro-
duced nearly 90 videos in the last few years
­ and have specialized in training workers to
make their own videos.
Shanta Koshti and Namrati Bali came
from the Self Employed Women's Association
in India ­ and presented their extraordinary
video project which has empowered many
women who are members of the 800,000-
strong movement, providing them with
equipment and training. And Martin Jansen
of WWMP presented the group's weekly
hour-long labour news radio program which
is aired on some 40 community radio stations
in South Africa as well as the South African
Broadcasting Corporation, reaching a poten-
tial audience of some 15 million listeners.
They came together with trade unionists,
worker educators and other activists for three
days of workshops and plenaries, as well as
Cape Town's first-ever Labour Film Festival,
but they did more than just talk. For the
conference aimed from the very beginning to
produce concrete results ­ in fact, to create
the beginnings of a new movement.
As the conference's final draft statement
concluded, "there is an enormous wealth
of knowledge and experience" among the
participants but "until now, the diffusion and
awareness of this knowledge and experience
has been largely limited to the national or re-
gional arena." The group set out to "establish
an international network" uniting "workers'
media and educational organisations" to
a labor historian and activist. FW Rachleff
opened with jokes about the thousand and
one uses for duct tape, as the proud banner
of the Twin Cities GMB was affixed to the
wall with duct tape. He called the outcome
of AMFA's most recent vote to reject NWA's
settlement offer as one of the most amazing
union votes in recent memory. The bosses'
settlement offer would change workers' status
from "on strike" to "off payroll, on layoff" ­ in
effect allowing them one month of "layoff
pay," to recuperate cost of accrued vacation
pay, and uncontested unemployment benefits
(which one state judge already denied).
With almost 73 percent of the members
voting, the final tally was 965 in favor of the
settlement and 1,258 to continue the strike.
The workers voted on principle, passing
on vacation pay and other bread and butter
incentives. FW Rachleff then addressed the
international framework of neo-liberalism
and how this view represents the capitalist
imagination of "the strongest will survive, as
the rest of us will have to fight for crumbs."
Rachleff concluded by noting that the bosses
at NWA were allowed to flee the Minnesota
courts for New York, and that the local me-
dia wouldn't draw any connections between
Vance Security being professional strike
breakers as well as hired goons for the Bush-
Cheney 2004 election machine.
The moderator from the IWW then
introduced media clips covering two days of
direct action where strikers and supporters
attempted to stop scabs from going to work.
line Lee Eric
carry out four tasks: Distribution of work-
ers' media; Co-operative production of new
media; Development of new cultural forms
and tools in the new media; Training in the
development of skills and confidence.
Having attended a number of labour and
technology conferences over the years, mostly
in Britain and North America, I have to say
worker-activists in the developing world ­ not
usually participants in such events ­ are not
even remotely lagging behind. In some areas,
they are actually far ahead of those in the
developed countries.
Nevertheless, one major theme of the
conference ­ possibly because its location in
Africa and the presence of activists from Nige-
ria, Malawi, zimbabwe, Angola, Tanzania and
elsewhere ­ was the so-called "digital divide."
Conference participants were constantly be-
ing reminded of the fact that in many parts
of Africa, it was not so much a question of
Internet access as access to electricity.
In light of that, it was particularly in-
teresting to hear the WWMP report that in
creating its weekly radio show, which could
be heard on battery-powered portable radios
in the most remote areas of South Africa,
they always choose three local news stories
and three global ones. The global ones are
taken off the LabourStart website. This was
one example of many showing how the tech-
nologies, both new and old, could be merged
and how something utterly new could be
created. Workers living in villages without
electricity, possibly unable to read or write,
are benefiting from a global website created
by other workers using the very latest in the
new communications technology. This does
give one hope.
The ruling ideas of our age may well be
the competitive and individualistic values
of our ruling classes ­ but this group of de-
termined media activists and educators give
hope that alternative ideas might well reach
audiences too. I was honored to be elected a
member of the preparatory committee, so I
should be able to report in a few weeks and
months on progress. Until then, stay tuned.
At one of the hotels where scabs were being
housed, their bus transport to the airport was
immobilized by a flat tire. A loud round of
applause came from the audience after view-
ing these clips of workers taking matters into
their own hands.
The program continued with FW Mike
Klemm, Local 33 vice president and regional
strike coordinator. He said that if workers are
going to strike, they must have a full strike
fund built up. FW Klemm then talked of not
being able to tell who is going to cross the
picket line. The person who you think is least
likely to scab might be a person who crosses
the line, and the person you think might scab
could be your tightest comrade.
Karen Schultz of the Professional Flight
Attendants Association followed. She began
by stating that it's imperative to support our
brothers and sisters when they're engaged
in a struggle, be it a strike or a fight for civil
rights. Part of this support includes talking
to our neighbors about the truth behind the
struggle, for from these conversations wide-
spread solidarity will happen. This FW talked
about the economic power we wield as work-
ers. Every time we go into a store to purchase
something we need to ask the workers, "Is
this company supporting you?" She ended by
stating that NWA is a predator and "this strike
will go down in history because AMFA drew
a line in the sand and said no more."
Kip Hedges, an 18-year member of the
International Association of Machinists and
Aerospace Workers, then spoke on how
solidarity could be built upon self-interest.
When the bosses go after one craft union at
your work place, one can bet that they will
target your own craft soon after. FW Hedges
discussed how the AMFA strike has helped
expose the fault lines in the current labor
movement and how divided we really are. He
noted that the AFL-CIO fakers blocked soli-
darity efforts from the state federations and
internationals, down through the regional
labor bodies.
This FW very pointedly said that we are
all pieces of meat to the employing class.
He continued by explaining how the bosses
create a social construct where workers are
led to believe that we can't win, as things
that happen to us are inevitable ­ "that is
just the way things are." Yet, the FW gave
some solid examples of how workers under
harsh conditions are fighting back, both here
in the United States and abroad. He con-
cluded by saying that if we keep fighting
back, we will win as the desire to fight back
is growing at home and overseas.
A second IAM member spoke about how
solidarity is our primary weapon as working
people. This FW stated that our focus should
center on organizing the rank-and-file instead
of bringing the big union fat cats in line. He
talked about the importance of linking our
struggles with those happening around im-
migration, mine safety and young workers in
France. He ended by speaking on our need
to build confidence as a class, as the bosses
know how powerful solidarity can be.
The final speaker was Jeff Pilacinski from
the Twin Cities GMB. FW Pilacinski started
with the one main lesson that seemed to flow
through every speaker, which was, "an injury
to one is an injury to all." He read from an
IWW publication from 1923 that highlighted
the faults of the craft union system ­ a system
that serves the bosses and encourages one
group of workers to scab on another.
The AMFA strike, like so many to others
in recent memory, has made it painfully clear
that workers must look towards an industrial
union model. FW Pilacinski encouraged all
of us to be leaders on the shop floor and in
the streets by forwarding the idea that "direct
action gets satisfaction." He ended by saying
that only through solidarity and direct action
can we can build a world without bosses
where the workers are in control.
After the final speaker, audience members
posed questions on the strike's progress, the
need for a labor party (or no party at all), and
the role of media in different labor struggles.
The event lasted three hours and in the end
many folks commented that they wished we
had more time.
Scabbing pilots to get stock
Scabbing Northwest Airlines pilots will
trade concessions for $888 million in stock
when the carrier emerges from bankruptcy,
under a deal being voted on by union mem-
bers as we go to press. The ALPA union
says that will amount to 13 percent of the
reorganized company. Pilots would also
get bonuses for meeting goals for on-time
flights, customer satisfaction, and financial
performance. ALPA would also keep its seat
on Northwest's board of directors.
Other scabbing unions have not received
similar terms, though all have accepted
deep concessions. The Machinists' union,
which used to represent mechanics, and the
Teamsters, which used to represent flight
attendants, both surrendered their board
seats under their new agreements for the
handful of members in other crafts that they
still represent. Those unions refused to turn
over the seats when workers replaced them
with independent unions in protest against
an earlier round of concessions.
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