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Berkeley Urban Ore Workers Win IWW Union Election

The Urban Ore workers of Berkeley, California won their union election with a two-thirds majority of workers’ votes on April 7, 2023. The union received confirmation of their certification from the NLRB as a bargaining unit on Thursday, April 20. The campaign went public on February 1. While one of the employers had told local media he objected to some of the ballots, he did not file any objection before the deadline with the regional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) office. Urban Ore is a 3-acre for-profit salvage operation in Berkeley, California, founded in 1980 with its goal “to end the age of waste.” Workers describe it as an essential part of the Berkeley community.

North American Wobblies Hold 2022 Organizing Summit

Chicago, Illinois - On the first weekend of October, Wobblies from across North America converged on the grounds of a Marriott hotel in suburban Chicago. The plan for the two-day summit came in the form of several workshops solicited by North America IWW’s Organizing Department Board and suggested by attendees. A total of fourteen Wobblies presented on topics ranging from nonprofits, to tipping, to interviewing IWW members about their organizing. The first workshop I attended was a “Grievance Sort and March on the Boss,” facilitated by Jenni and Louisa of the Organizer Training Committee. We were assigned to small groups of four or five and given a range of grievances, from the mundane (“I don’t like the music that plays at work”) to the potentially life-altering (“my boss makes us work faster and faster regardless of safety”).

Burgerville’s Union Racking Up Victories On Shop Floor

Last December, The Industrial Workers of the World’s Burgerville Workers Union signed their first collective bargaining agreement with management, officially becoming the only fast food restaurant in the country covered by a federally recognized contract. This historic win comes as the culmination of three-and-a-half years of heated negotiations with management, seven strikes, and dozens of major picket lines. Over 75% of workers covered by the contract participated in the vote, with 92% in favor. The contract brings major gains to the five Portland-area stores with federal union recognition such as a grievance process, a three-month set schedule, and paid parental leave.

Bread And Roses A Hundred Years On

One hundred years ago, in the dead of a Massachusetts winter, the great 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike—commonly referred to as the “Bread and Roses” strike—began. Accounts differ as to whether a woman striker actually held a sign that read “We Want Bread and We Want Roses, Too.” No matter. It’s a wonderful phrase, as appropriate for the Lawrence strikers as for any group at any time: the notion that, in addition to the necessities for survival, people should have “a sharing of life’s glories,” as James Oppenheim put it in his poem “Bread and Roses.” Though 100 years have passed, the Lawrence strike resonates as one of the most important in the history of the United States. Like many labor conflicts of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the strike was marked by obscene disparities in wealth and power, open collusion between the state and business owners, large scale violence against unarmed strikers, and great ingenuity and solidarity on the part of workers. In important ways, though, the strike was also unique. It was the first large-scale industrial strike, the overwhelming majority of the strikers were immigrants, most were women and children, and the strike was guided in large part by the revolutionary strategy and vision of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Insomnia Cookies Suspends IWW Workers, Violates NLRB Agreement

"Just days after a settlement agreement was reached between Insomnia Cookies, several striking workers, and their union, the employer has suspended a union staff member. Tasia Edmonds, who works at the Insomnia location near Boston University and is a union organizer with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union, was put on leave from her job earlier this week in what she calls an attempt at “union-busting.” An agreement was reached between the union and Insomnia through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at the beginning of the week, which stipulated that the company will not fire workers or “take any other action” against its employees for engaging in the federally “protected activities” of union-organizing and going on strike."
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