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(en) US, California: Over 80 Wobblies and Supports Rally to Support Cinema Union

Date Sat, 13 May 2006 20:28:14 +0300


Landmark Shattuck Cinema workers are fed up. Years of bad hours, poor
pay, a hostile work environment and the demoralizing treatment from
theater management has led the Cinema workers of Berkeley, CA, to push
for a union; for the One Big Union of the Industrial Workers of the World.
At 4pm on May 12, 2006, approximately 80 Wobblies and supporters
gathered in what some hailed as the one of the largest IWW gatherings in
recent Bay Area history, next to the May Day contingent earlier this
month. Theater workers, union organizers and locals from the community
attended the rally to demonstrate their solidarity for the union effort,
carrying signs that read “An injury to one is an injury to all”, and
“Union Now”. A drum team kept the crowd enthused, as they sang
union songs and recited pro-worker chants to the public. Some Cinema
employees were still on the clock, but were very much committed to
participate in the rally while on their breaks, wearing their IWW pins and
showing support for the IWW. Shattuck Cinema organizer, Harjit Gill,
say’s “I think what we see here today is a great success. There has
been the participation of IWW members from the past and the present, and
those who haven’t been recently active. Ultimately, we’re very
excited about this campaign.”


On Monday, May 8th, 2006, 23 out of the theater’s 28 workers turned
in authorization cards to the National Labor Relations Board, requesting
for representation with the IWW. Among the Shattuck Cinema’s
revoking of workers privileges, unfair raise policies, and insufficient breaks,
a common concern from workers is the management’s lack of
accountability for its actions, and as Cinema employee Lauren Grady
say’s, “When the theater management has a problem, rather than
dealing with the worker directly they take our shifts away and cut our
hours.” Grady adds, “[They need] to start listening to our concerns
and valuing [the] workers. We need our voice to be heard. Its time we had
a union!”

On top of these concerns is how the Cinema employee’s receive no
health benefits and the hourly pay is over three dollars less than the city of
Berkeley’s standard for a living wage. These policies are especially
unjust in context of Shattuck Cinema having been bought by Mark Cuban,
billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

This week marks the beginning of the public effort to unionize the
Landmark Shattuck Cinema in Berkeley, with a longer struggle of contract
negotiations in the near future. As the vast majority of workers remain
highly optimistic and dedicated to organizing their workplace with the
IWW, the Shattuck Cinema management has conversed only with their
lawyers, saying the cadence of “No Comment” to any media
inquires on their employees push for a union. The NRLB has set the date
of June 16 as the Cinema’s Election Day for a union. Gill say’s,
“The workers have organized themselves so well that they should be
able to win this election without much trouble, with draft-proposals for
contracts already developed.” The IWW encourages supporters to call
the theaters at 1-888-7-CINEMA, or visit
customerservice@landmarktheaters.com and say YES! to the Berkeley
Shattuck Union.

Fellow worker and Cinema organizer Bruce Valde notes, “The Cinema
industry is not organized and is ripe for it. Draw your own conclusions. I
think that we’re going to see other workers at other theaters definitely
become interested.” Valde continues, “I’m convinced theater
employees are a natural constituency for union organizing, especially in an
IWW approach that devotes itself to the workers, unlike a typical
business-union.”

Ultimately, a sort of “domino-effect” can occur as the virtually
unorganized Cinema industry sees the example that has been set by
Shattuck Cinema. This theater is comprised mostly of workers who were
not initially involved in the union, and now with their new interest and
dedication, new doors have opened for the IWW as we take a lead in
Cinema organizing.

Ex-Cinema employee, Jeff Charest, say’s, “For us to be treated
like cattle and without consideration of our livelihood is absolutely unfair.
The working conditions I experienced when I was a Cinema employee
could undoubtedly be alleviated. We have to be able to support ourselves.
It’s time Shattuck Cinema workers went union.”

or yourselves because you don't know how to make real history now."
That's why we wrote about invariance in the beginning of our introduction.
According to our conviction, the programme of the proletariat is invariant,
but every idea, point of view, programme, which was proved to be false by
the historical experiences, must be thrown out from the steamship of the
present. Invariance is also many-sided, some groups consisting of
working-class members weaken our struggle and send it back to a former
stage of development which was already superseded by capitalism. But the
insights of the former movement hadn't become a total practical force of
anarcho-communism. The mere anti-etatism in itself (which does not take
into account that the domination of capital stands higher than the states),
the confusing of the bourgeois centralism with the organical centralization
of the proletariat, the division of the struggle to economic and political
terrains, the enlargement of the externally "brought-in" and "learned" class
consciousness, and also the ouvrierism and other "infantile disorders" - all
these are fillips to the organical development of the movement. Marx's
critique of the "left-wing liberalism" (Proudhon, Stirner) and the
consequent anarcho-communist movement's historical line of
development can also be understood as a general criticism of
"revolutionary egoism" - but it has no effect in some "anarchist circles".
Although the proletarian struggles confirmed the correctness of the former
critiques and these always became an effective force of the class-stuggle
avant-garde - it was not the case in the whole movement. The movement
of the proletariat is divided, and capitalism benefits from this division.

It’s No Silver Screen. Shattuck Cinema Workers Are Going Union

Pictures: http://indybay.org/news/2006/05/1822833.php
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