Working for Each Other, Working for Ourselves

Toronto IWW is happy to announce Working for Each Other, Working for Ourselves: A Revolutionary Public Service Worker-Organizer Summit, to be held October 3rd and 4th 2015 in Toronto, Ontario. Working for Each Other will draw together grassroots workplace organizers from around North America. A major component of today’s economy, the public services are often hit first and hard by austerity and other cut backs. As workers, we need to organize ourselves to fight these battles in the community centres, grocery stores, clubs and office towers where we work for the benefit of other people.

To pitch us a workshop

Do you have a story to tell, skills to share, strategies to discuss, research to present or other contribution to make to the organizing of public services? Have you organized a union, job committee, direct action, general assembly or otherwise created more democracy on the job?

We are currently soliciting proposals for workshop, panel, talk and facilitated discussions from IWW members and non-members alike.

Donations

In order to make this event as accessible as possible, we are also seeking donations, both in-kind and financial, to help cover travel and other costs, especially those related to accessibility.

How to attend

Registration for participants will open sometime in July. See below for ways to keep track of developments.

Keep in touch with us

Facebook fb.com/WorkingForEachOther

Twitter @Work4EachOther

Join our announcements-only mailing list

Check out our website workingforeachother.org

Email us workingforeachother@iww.org

May 16-17 2015: Organizing 101: Build the Committee Training

Toronto IWW is pleased to announce opening of registration for the Spring 2015 edition of Organizing 101: Build the Committee Training, our crash course on grassroots, direct action-driven solidarity unionism.
IWW Oraganizing 101: Build the Committee
Dates: May 16-17, 2015
Location: Downtown Toronto in an accessible (physically and by transit) location
Registration deadline: May 2nd 2015 **registration is mandatory, see below**

This is a two day course on building power in your workplace from the bottom up. It focuses on techniques for building a committee of workers who are confident and capable of addressing issues in the workplace, and for overcoming obstacles like worker apathy, anxiety, and the bosses’ counter-organizing efforts. The course is free/donation, and is open to everyone –so please forward to anyone who might be interested!

Do I have to be a member of the IWW to attend? Absolutely not! The skills built in this workshop are useful to anyone interested in building power on their job whether it is in the context of an IWW campaign, an independent union, the mainstream labour movement or another formation. Learn more about the IWW.

We will get started on Day 1 of the course (Saturday, May 16) at 9:00 am and end at 5:00 pm. Day 2 of the course (Sunday, May 17) will run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. There will be a social event Saturday night. Attendance for the full two days of the workshop is mandatory in order to get the full picture of the methods.

Food will be provided, and child care will be provided as required (please indicate on registration).

Registration

If you would like to register your availability to house a participant, please use this form.

Stay in touch with the Toronto IWW:

Website: torontoiww.org
Twitter: @torontoiww
Email us with questions, comments, or to join: toronto@iww.org

Will another IWW branch beat Toronto in raising money for women and trans* people to travel to IWW events?

The Toronto IWW Fundraising and Literature Committee is issuing a challenge to other IWW branches: Beat us in fundraising for the Sato Fund. We will be having a fundraising event Labour Day weekend 2014 to raise money for women and trans IWW members to travel to IWW events.

We would like to encourage other branches to fundraise for the Sato Fund, so we challenge others to have fundraisers between now at September 30th, 2014. Email toronto@iww.org to let us know you are in the competition.

What is the Sato Fund?

The Sato Fund was established to memorialize FW Charlene “Charlie” Sato, an IWW member and activist who died in 1996 after a long battle with cancer. As a professor of pidgin and creole language studies at the University of Hawai’i, Charlie often was at the forefront of promoting the rights of aboriginal peoples to use their language in educational and public settings.

After her death, the IWW established the Sato Fund, which was originally intended to “help women with travel costs in order to attend the General Assembly”. The union is proud to continue with this tradition of promoting gender diversity throughout our major decision making and strategy building gatherings. This is accomplished by materially aiding fellow workers with their travel costs (including air/train/bus fare, as well as fuel costs) incurred in order to participate in these events. (More here.)

Solidarity Committee’s First Wage Theft Case A Success!

Workers often find themselves in tight spots. Sometimes they don’t receive their full pay, they are fired without severance, and bosses can make life difficult for  former employees. We believe that by standing in solidarity with one another, we can take a stand against bad bosses, and against the exploitation of workers.

On Wednesday February 19th, the Solidarity Committee of the Toronto IWW took on its inaugural case. Mohammed, a general labourer, along with members of the committee and supporters confronted his former boss, the owner of a temp agency. The group delivered a demands letter detailing the specific jobs Mohammed had worked and the total sum of $230.00 in unpaid wages. Following a series of phone zaps and escalating actions at the office itself (including nearly getting the temp agency evicted from its premises), the issue was finally settled on  March 29th.

The boss was forced to concede and produced a money order cheque for the amount owing. But in his inability to face Mohammed and the Committee following repeated lies and evasion, the boss decided it was easier to phone a local police station and drop the cheque off there.

The exploitation of workers by bosses was overcome through our collective effort in the fight and the Solidarity Committee of the IWW is committed to helping workers win real gains in the instance of wage theft.

If you are interested in learning more about the Wage Theft Campaign please contact us at toronto@iww.org

 

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Red November, Black November

November 11th is celebrated as a day to remember the veterans of state-sanctioned war here in Canada. In the IWW we remember casualties of Class War, who have often died in November. Here is a poem by Ralph Chaplin, who also wrote Solidarity Forever, which expresses some of how we feel about Remembering in November.

Red November, Black November

Red November, black November,
Bleak November, black and red.
Hallowed month of labor’s martyrs,
Labor’s heroes, labor’s dead.

Labor’s wrath and hope and sorrow,
Red the promise, black the threat,
Who are we not to remember?
Who are we to dare forget?

Black and red the colors blended,
Black and red the pledge we made,
Red until the fight is ended,
Black until the debt is paid.

Nov. 5, 1916, over 200 Industrial Workers of the World members were headed to the docks of Everett, Washington, on the ship Vernoa to participate in a Free Speech Fight in support of the rights of union members to speak on the street corners. While they attempted to dock, a group of over 500 deputy sheriffs opened fire on the peaceful unarmed crowd, killing 11 and wounding 27. This is known as the Everett Massacre.

Nov. 11, 1887, four of the anarchist leaders of the Chicago eight-hour movement were executed because they advocated ideas of workplace justice. Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engle, and Adolph Fischer are now forever known as the Haymarket Martyrs. In June of 1893 Illinois Governor John Peter Atgeld issued posthumous pardons to these men, proclaiming them victims of a biased judge and a packed jury.

Nov. 11, 1919, a group of Legionaries marching to celebrate Armistice Day attacked an IWW union hall in Centralia, Washington. The IWW members fought back, killing four of their attackers before being captured and taken to jail. That night Wesley Everest was taken from his cell. He was castrated, then taken to a bridge and hung. While hanging over a river he was shot full of holes. Then his body was taken back to the jail and laid out in view of the other prisoners for several days. This is known as the Centralia Massacre.

Nov. 13, 1974, union activist Karen Silkwood was killed when her car was mysteriously run off the road. There was enough evidence to suggest foul play.

Nov. 19, 1916, IWW organizer, songwriter, and troubadour Joe Hill was executed by the State of Utah after being convicted of murder on flimsy circumstantial evidence. A worldwide movement to free Joe Hill included the Swedish Government and a plea from President Wilson for a “thorough reconsideration of the case,” to no avail.

Nov. 22, 1886, in Thibodaux, Louisiana, by some accounts between 30 to 100 striking black sugar workers were massacred. A newspaper of that time recorded, “Lame men and blind women shot. Children and hoary-headed grandsires ruthlessly swept down! The Negros offered no resistance, they could not as the killing was unexpected…”

Nov. 29, 1919, in the town of Bogalusa, Louisiana, once stood the world largest lumber mill, owned by the Goodyear Corporation. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters attempted to organize the mill, with wide support from the mill hands. After a lengthy campaign of intimidation, terror, and beatings the company goons attacked the union hall, killing four Brotherhood organizers. Lem Williams, Stanley O’Rourke, J.P.Bouchillon, and Thomas Gains were cold-bloodedly gunned down as they sat in the office of the Bogalusa’s Central Trades and Labor Council.

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