"Leave it to the professionals": on paid union organisers

The Professionals (a quite rubbish UK TV show from the late 1970s)

A response to a blog criticising the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union for not making enough use of paid organisers and officials. With animated gifs.

In terms of my perspective, I'm not a member of the IWW, nor am I particularly an advocate for its theory or practice: usually on here I am a critic of the IWW for various reasons.

However, I think a lot of the criticisms in the article were invalid. I initially responded in a comment below the article, but I ended up writing so much I thought I would turn it into a blog post. Which I also hope will encourage the original author to respond.

I will address a few key points in the article, which I think get to the heart of the disagreement I have with it.

Firstly in the background I believe the author unfortunately has quite a basic misunderstanding of workplace and labour relations, which is evidenced by this statement:

Unfortunately, since the quality of a union’s leadership decides the difference between a worker getting fired and blacklisted, and the same worker getting a hefty raise, unions are not the sort of thing you should shop for by price.

Especially in terms of what happens with an individual worker, the union leadership is completely irrelevant.

What makes the difference between individual worker losing their job or not depends largely on:

  1. the particular situation in which they find themselves - i.e. did they commit misconduct, or are they just in trouble for being a worker organiser
  2. the strategy and circumstances of the employer - e.g. are they an aggressive employer who tries to stamp out dissent, or do they try to co-opt it, are they profitable and growing or are they going into administration?
  3. the policies and procedures of the employer (in the US setting I guess this would include whatever union contract there were)
  4. the legal/political framework of the country
  5. the level of worker organisation at the employer
  6. the general background of the industry in terms of availability of labour and balance of class forces

In the UK, if an employer is determined to sack someone, they can pretty much do it, if at worst they are prepared to make a bit of a payout for unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal, or to get a compromise agreement (a legal settlement where the employee signs away their right to take legal action in return for a payment). In the US this is even easier as most places have "no-fault dismissal".

The main thing which could make this less likely, other than specific personal things like the employer needing the skills of that individual, is having your co-workers prepared to take action to defend you.

Having a radical/left-wing or highly knowledgeable union leader will make absolutely zero difference one way or another.

In terms of getting "hefty raises", in terms of things we can have an influence on, again the politics or abilities of union staff have no impact on this either, the only thing which can is the self-organisation of the workers.

In terms of evidencing this, I could point to hundreds of examples of disputes over pay and job losses, where the organisation and militancy of the workers has been the deciding factor (all other factors being relatively constant). I could also point to lots of examples where different groups of workers within the same union get wildly different results in disputes, depending on their level of organisation. If the author wants to dispute this, I would suggest they provide some examples to evidence their statement.

And this of course is forgetting about all those disputes which happen without or even against the unions, like the garment workers' strikes in Bangladesh, or the recent strike waves in China or Vietnam, or going back a bit the UK strikes in the 60s (95% of which were unofficial) and the World War II US auto workers' strikes.

Now, moving onto the thrust of the original article, marxvx essentially poses this question:

My question in this article is as follows: Can the IWW function without staffers – and if it can, why don’t other unions do the same?

To me, I don't think this is a useful question to ask. At least, it is not a fundamental question. The question to ask first is "What is your ultimate goal?"

If your ultimate goal is to bring workers to membership of unions like AFL-CIO unions, then you should just get involved in an AFL-CIO union. If your ultimate goal (like mine) is for workers to increase their power on the job, in society, and ultimately run society for themselves, then your question should be "does using staffers help or hinder the achievement of this goal?"

Now, in terms of useful political activity, I don't think anyone yet have said anything better than Solidarity (which I have taken the liberty of rewording slightly in more modern language):

Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self-activity of the working class and whatever assists in our demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the working class, our apathy, our cynicism, our differentiation through hierarchy, our alienation, our reliance on others to do things for us and the degree to which we can therefore be manipulated by others - even by those allegedly acting on our behalf.

Now, in terms of my question, and that Solidarity test, then the use of paid officials is clearly counter to those objectives. As use of paid officials does the exact opposite of encourage workers to organise ourselves, but instead encourages us to rely on "professionals" and "experts", which is the exact opposite of what we need to happen for workers to start winning again.

Furthermore, the authors whole argument is very US-centric.

Outside of the US (and maybe Canada, I don't really know anything about Canada. And I guess who cares about Canada?), American-style professional union "organisers" aren't very common. In recent years a couple of unions in the UK and Europe have tried using a small number of paid organisers, but they are largely irrelevant.

Unions here are run pretty much entirely by lay reps: workers volunteering in their spare time, and then getting facilities time (paid time off for lay reps) agreed by employers once they get organised and get a recognition agreement.

Especially considering that the working class in the US is just about the worst-organised working class in the developed world, it's probably not the best idea to copy the standard practice of the established US labour movement as the best model to emulate.

This advocacy of paid officials is also not only more right wing than what I've seen from any anarchist, including the likes of the shit ones like Liberty & Solidarity, but way more right wing than any trots or even right wing social democrats like Labour supporters.

I will now move on to the points which the author uses to argue why she believes paid officials are necessary or beneficial, as I do not think they do adequately support her argument:

In the first place, union organizing demands time. Especially in the food and retail industries which the modern IWW has sought to organize, union organizers need flexible schedules. Everyone who has worked a food service or retail job knows the unpredictable schedules they bring. It is nearly impossible for any four workers in the same workplace to find a time when they are all off of work. If a union organizer has their own work schedule to work around, this presents a fatal barrier to organizing

Yes, this is a problem, however having a paid outside organiser doesn't solve this problem, as the workers will still work shifts, so it is still hard for them to meet one another.

On this next bit, I think the author really shows their naïveté:

Paid positions command this dedication from staffers. For the staffer, the union is their career. They are able to devote 40 hours (and frequently more than that) per week to union activities. By offering a paid position, the union attracts those who have studied and perfected their knowledge.

Now I am sorry, but this is just wrong. I am a worker activist (who FYI is a rep for a traditional union in the UK, Unison. I have very big criticisms of the rep role, but I do it essentially for personal rather than political reasons. I.e. I enjoy it and I get to help people, but I don't delude myself into thinking it helps "the revolution" or even the self organisation of the working class is unfortunately the better a rep I am, the more it encourages members to trust me and "the union" to do things for them, although I do what I can to discourage this). My branch, as are almost all the others, are run entirely by worker activists: volunteers.

We are mostly pretty dedicated, and basically we have to be as it is our own pay, terms and conditions we are dealing with.

Our regional officers, the full-time, paid officials above us are essentially a waste of space and money. This is not the view of me being a crazy ultralefty: this is the view of pretty much all shop stewards, or members who are unfortunate enough to end up having to deal with them.

To see how great these "professionals" "who have studied and perfected their knowledge" actually are in a workplace, you can have a look at the Unison branches which have been taken into supervision by the national union, like Greenwich, which have basically fallen apart completely and lost most of their members.

The thing which makes you a good workplace organiser is not knowledge from books, but is about your understanding of a particular workplace, your relationships with those around you, your ability to encourage discussion, listen to your colleagues and get people to come together around their common concerns.

Thinking that paying people means you get the best out of them is just the worst type of capitalist thinking. You get the best out of people who care what they are doing and believe in it. When you pay people to do something it becomes a job, which they generally give less and less of a shit about the more time goes on.

This can be applied equally to other types of union staffers. Unions need dedicated business agents who are knowledgeable enough in labor law to face off against Human Resources lawyers in grievance hearings. If a grievance is escalated to the point where a union representative must sit down with a Human Resources lawyer (who quite literally has a degree in union-busting), the worker deserves a union representative knowledgeable enough in labor law to defend the worker.

Again, this is based on a misunderstanding of how disputes actually happen in the workplace.

Outside of the US, it is almost entirely lay reps who represent individual members in grievances/disciplinaries etc. And we are pretty much always in a better position to defend members than outside professionals as we know the workplace inside out. What matters in cases is rarely the law - as all the law does is set down an absolute minimum standard of treatment, and most workplaces have policies and procedures which are above the minimum legal standard.

So what matters is knowledge of the internal policies and procedures, and importantly how they are normally applied. Which isn't knowledge outsiders would have.

Finally, these types of grievances are generally pointless anyway. Grievance procedures are frameworks which are set up by management, on management's terms. If workers are to win things, we have to do things ourselves, we can't use management processes. That would be like trying to fight with both hands tied behind our backs. Workers believing that their grievances can be addressed by these management (and sometimes, union-) sanctioned procedures is a barrier we need to overcome before we can start to win.

Why do AFL-CIO unions expend millions of dollars to employ campaign researchers, translators, graphic designers, illustrators, public relations experts, writers, and web designers? It could be because they have so much money that they don’t know what to do with it, and that they want to go out of their way to hire as many people as possible. It could also be because they acknowledge that the work done by, say, a professional graphic designer is more reliable than Xeroxed newspaper cartoons from 1914.

On this bit, I'm not really sure what the point is. Firstly, AFL-CIO unions spend lots of money doing lots of things - like spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get Obama elected. Does that mean the IWW should try to get Obama elected?

The IWW and the AFL-CIO have completely different goals. The former aims at abolition of the wage system, the latter aims in theory to defend/advance the interests of its members but in practice is largely a self-perpetuating bureaucracy to sustain its membership base to pay the salaries and pensions of their own workforce.

Therefore the AFL-CIO doing something is not an argument for the IWW to do likewise.

Even if it were, I'm not really sure what the argument is here as the IWW in practice is a small radical group and can't afford to pay loads of people wages. The only way could potentially do this would be by massively increasing its membership dues, but then this would cause almost all of its members to leave, which would put you back where you started.

Unfortunately, people with this level of knowledge and negotiation skill do not volunteer their time and energy – they look for careers.

This isn't really right either. Of course lots of people who are paid to do things can be quite good at them, but lots can be crap as well. My union branch paid professionals to build their website. However it was so shit that in the end I had to do it myself for free. And the one I did was a hell of a lot better than the one by the "professionals".

Libcom.org is run entirely by volunteers, and our site is a lot better than a lot of union's websites1 which are built by professionals, as is the IWW's (which isn't great but is functional and easy-to-use).

As for "negotiation skill", this is largely a myth. Workers win things when they are well-organised and have leverage: i.e. the ability to disrupt profits (or "business as usual"). Workers with no organisation and no leverage won't get improvements, no matter how "skilled" a negotiator is.

I say this from personal experience as well, as I represent a bargaining unit of about 3000 workers. And you can bluff a little bit, but really to get anything you need organisation: in the well-organised sections we can achieve a lot, in the sections with no organisation management get away with just about whatever they want (within the law). My "negotiation skill" doesn't come into it.

Though I hesitate to use the word, professional organizers and professional staffers are a requirement for any serious union

Apart from anything else, I think this is putting the cart before the horse. I've already said why I am opposed to the use of paid organisers. In terms of staff, I can see the need for this potentially, as if any organisation gets big enough it needs routine administrative work done (like maintenance of the membership database), and I have no objection in principle to people being paid to do this sort of thing, as long as it is on a fixed term basis and people aren't paid more than the average wage of the membership or a living wage, whichever is higher.

But this doesn't mean there is any inherent benefit to having paid staff as such, and certainly if there is not an actual use of resourcing for them then it would be counter-productive.

If paid staff were inherently beneficial, then you could evidence this by pointing to more successful unions (i.e. ones where their members successfully improve or defend their conditions) having more paid employees than less successful ones. However I bet you can't do this.

Especially if you look at historically the most successful unions: the Spanish CNT being the best example as a hugely successful union which was also an anarchist organisation, which had hardly any paid officials (something like one rotating secretary per member union, and paid print staff on the newspapers), and no paid organisers.

Now onto your criticisms of particular IWW organising campaigns:

To use a contemporary example: Starbucks will never be unionized by the IWW. As Starbucks has locations scattered throughout the country (and world), to organize it would require a nationwide union.

The reasons you specify for why the IWW could never organise it, you could also pretty much use to say why no AFL-CIO union could either.

Also, you don't seem to consider how or why it is the IWW, despite all of its difficulties, has done better organising at Starbucks than any of the major unions with their thousands of paid employees and hundreds of millions of dollars.

The reason for this is basically that they have no interest in it. AFL-CIO unions are not interested in the level of self-organisation of the working class. They are capitalist organisations which need to maintain themselves in a capitalist world, so they need to get a return on any investment they make. And low paid, transient service sector workers in small shops are very unlikely to get a decent return on investment.

So a union could send one organiser to an auto plant or hospital to try to recruit 1000 workers on relatively decent salaries, whose dues would be significant. But would it be worth sending an organiser to a coffee shop with 12 staff, all part-time, earning low wages, with a high turnover? Not really. This also means that it would be difficult for using paid organisers to organise at Starbucks for the IWW as well.

In any case, despite its small size, the Starbucks Workers Union did manage to win some real improvements for workers, particularly in New York City where its organising got a dollar an hour raise. And there were some good incidents of on-the-job action getting results, such as this health and safety win in Chicago.

Personally, while I think that the IWW have done a good job at Starbucks, ultimately my view is that it would be futile for them to try to "organise" the chain because they could only do it successfully if the majority of workers at the chain wanted revolution and the abolition of the wage system, which (unfortunately) is not on the cards for the for the foreseeable future.

So I think as revolutionaries we should focus on organising wherever we are, outside or inside and sometimes even against the unions.

But this is very different to the view of marxvx, which is basically that the IWW should become more like AFL-CIO unions. But then if this really is their view, then why do they not just get involved with an AFL-CIO union? (Although if they did I would not be surprised if they quickly became disillusioned, like these union staffers in the US or Germany.)

I understand marxvx’s frustration: it is hard to see us, as workers (let alone as communists) losing pretty consistently. However unfortunately there are no easy answers or quick fixes. Any attempt to bypass what is really necessary - the conscious self-organisation and direct action of the working class ourselves - at best merely repeats the dead-end and failed bureaucratic strategies of the past.

One final thought for marxvx: was Marx's famous quote "the emancipation of the working class must be the work of dedicated business agents who are knowledgeable enough in labor law to face off against Human Resources lawyers in grievance hearings"?2

Posted By

Steven.
Sep 23 2014 11:47

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  • Especially considering that the working class in the US is just about the worst-organised working class in the developed world, it's probably not the best idea to copy the standard practice of the established US labour movement as the best model to emulate.

    Steven Johns

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Comments

Chilli Sauce
Sep 23 2014 15:43

This was great - and that's not even taking into account the judicious use of gifs.

syndicalist
Sep 23 2014 18:17

Still waiting to hear from the author of the original blog.

boozemonarchy
Sep 23 2014 20:53

I wouldn't wait up syndicalist. I'm pretty sure they basically announced it was a drive-by shit-stir anyway, an awkward personal attempt at distancing themselves from the IWW.

That said, Steven's effort certainly wasn't wasted. Those blog pieces and this response have certainly helped me wrap my mind around this question of staff.

syndicalist
Sep 24 2014 04:56

Oh, I can turn the lights off now? Night.

kevin s.
Sep 24 2014 23:38

Hey Steven, very interesting article, definitely far and above what it's responding to. Still piecing thoughts together, agree with probly the majority of your comments, disagree with only like one or two. I dunno how I feel on certain things because some I'm not sure anymore how much I care about IWW politics. I will try and sit down and type out some more detail response but I appreciate you writing this piece. (I was interested in marxvx's series when I spotted it, but found much of it very naive and more on the polemical than analytical side, which got kinda grating after awhile.)

Mr. Huxley
Sep 25 2014 19:16

While I recognize that this article wasn't direct at me, I wanted to read through and respond [to some degree] since I was partially in agreement w. marxvx, esp. wrt organizers.

The only thing I can think to say is something of a repetition of what I said in the comments sections previously. I can't really disagree with your assertions towards marxvx. I agree with your counter-examples -- as I did with nearly everyone before in the comments section.

I think there's an issue wrt framing going on, then. There's something wrong w. this particular frame that makes it difficult to communicate. The issue which y'all are speaking to must just be different than what I was initially interpreting. Hopefully I didn't come across as too flamey or anything. I can get soapboxy at times.

boozemonarchy
Sep 25 2014 22:10

Well, for what its worth. . . I tried my best to be clear my issue was that staff-driven organizing, general reliance on staff for getting stuff done on the shop-floor and that growth for the sake of growth in that sort of union environment isn't really helpful if the aim is overthrow capitalism.

What was it you were interpreting?

Mr. Huxley
Sep 26 2014 00:21

I'm not entirely sure. I'll try to restate stuff. See if that gets things anywhere.

It's the whole frame that's off kilter -- the whole anti/pro-standard-labor thing. It always rubs me wrong, and that's what resonated with me. To me, it's just self-defeating to build a bogeyman out of mainstream labor, same as it's self-defeating to do that towards the IWW. There's really good stuff in both styles, and practitioners of both styles can learn something from one another. Plus, there's all kinds of folk that dedicate their time and energy -- working class folk -- to unions. Mainstream, regular unions. And they get victories out of them. So the radical critique of mainstream labor, while spot on *in parts*, is taken just a wee bit too seriously by my lights on account that, well, working class people are coming together to make victories in them.

The notion that we should rely on staff, for instance. That's contrary to even basic, good ol' fashioned trade unionism. Even if you have paid organizers, that's not going to help you win. The union is the workers organized on the shop floor for the purpose of advancing the self-interests of the working class using the means of concerted, collective activity -- end of story. Not the staff, not the union hall, not even the contract or formal recognition.

If your staff exist to simply funnel cash into a bank account for their pensions then you should fire your staff. They aren't helping you out, or doing their job correctly. While the radical critique would have you believe that this is endemic to the system of mainstream labor, I would just say that that's a poorly run trade union with a membership that needs a little education.

And with respect to organizing, I think that an external organizer is invaluable to any campaign. The shop floor militant is also invaluable -- if you don't have a leader like that on a shop floor, it's hard to make gains which are worthwhile. Those relationships are necessary for really pushing boundaries -- you need someone whose willing to do the work of a lieutenant. But you're dealing with structures that are larger than you. Having both internal and external pressure is important. Having a person with workplace organizing experience is important in the external organizer position. The roles are entirely different from one another, granted. But I think that, even though this is so -- and if you mistake one for the other you're going to hurt your union efforts -- the external organizer is still a great resource for a successful union drive.

Especially when you're just dealing with any possible workplace where you're talking to people that just need a job, and that's what they're there for. Having the external organizer in those circumstances gives the union militant something of a spring board to bounce ideas off of without having to try them, per se.

In the end, I think that the decision making power should be at the rank-and-file level. That's where I differ from mainstream unions [bc they use representative systems, which I disagree with -- tho, hey, that's still better than simple authoritarian boss systems]. Not on the use of paid staff. It's the way they are organized that's not quite right, IMO, which is why I'm a wob. But they have some fair points to them, too -- like turning shop floor militants into staff after they have enough experience, and utilizing that experience across multiple workplaces to build more militants.

It's not an easy transition to make for a militant -- because the role is fundamentally different. But, in the end, I think it helps build the movement. It's an important part. Organizing is very hard work, it takes lots of time and dedication -- and we need lots of folk to do it. I mean, shoot, even the communist party has paid organizers. Other political affiliations have paid organizers, on a regular basis. At the most basic, you're just a guy with a list and a phone endlessly talking to people trying to make the political stuff happen -- whatever that entails. And one such end goal could be revolutionary unionism. Organizing, as a skill, is value-neutral in the sense that you can organize for many different kinds of organizations. It's just the skill that builds up organizations, builds up power, so you can win.

And that's the thing that I also resonated with in the piece.

But, I can see that perhaps that wasn't the best place to do it. It was confusing, given the generally negative "feel" that the series had.

boozemonarchy
Sep 26 2014 13:31
Quote:
It's the whole frame that's off kilter -- the whole anti/pro-standard-labor thing. It always rubs me wrong, and that's what resonated with me. To me, it's just self-defeating to build a bogeyman out of mainstream labor, same as it's self-defeating to do that towards the IWW. There's really good stuff in both styles, and practitioners of both styles can learn something from one another. Plus, there's all kinds of folk that dedicate their time and energy -- working class folk -- to unions. Mainstream, regular unions. And they get victories out of them. So the radical critique of mainstream labor, while spot on *in parts*, is taken just a wee bit too seriously by my lights on account that, well, working class people are coming together to make victories in them.

I'm afraid the anti/pro-standard labor thing as you frame it here mostly exists in your head Mr. Huxley.

Its a rare revolutionary unionist duck that doesn't get excited when they see militant workers within mainstream labor flexing their muscles at work just because their banner says "SEIU" or whatever. We just recognize that this is often happening in spite of the unions self-serving bureaucracy who, if the actions are too militant and threatening or out of its control, are often spending their resources pulling on the reins of the rank and file rather than doing whatever they could to support them through a victorious end. When this type of action is not happening in spite of the bureaucracy, which I don't mind admitting happens now and again, we are still critical that a union organization has the ability to pressure rank and filers back to work. Even if it doesn't immediately use it the threat is always there and it has an automatic cooling effect with or without its actual use. Have I built a boogeyman? No, this is what happens in the US. The boogeyman is fake, this is real. Does this situation make it less likely for me to come out in support of workers in struggle who are mainstream union members, no, not at all.

Mr. Huxley
Sep 26 2014 14:12
bozemananarchy wrote:
I'm afraid the anti/pro-standard labor thing as you frame it here mostly exists in your head Mr. Huxley.

What do you say to this page, then?

http://www.iww.org/about/how-iww-differs-business-unions

In my opinion, I think it's definitely part of the whole culture. Not that every radical unionist is this way -- but that there's a trend.

Quote:
Its a rare revolutionary unionist duck that doesn't get excited when they see militant workers within mainstream labor flexing their muscles at work just because their banner says "SEIU" or whatever. We just recognize that this is often happening in spite of the unions self-serving bureaucracy who, if the actions are too militant and threatening or out of its control, are often spending their resources pulling on the reins of the rank and file rather than doing whatever they could to support them through a victorious end. When this type of action is not happening in spite of the bureaucracy, which I don't mind admitting happens now and again, we are still critical that a union organization has the ability to pressure rank and filers back to work. Even if it doesn't immediately use it the threat is always there and it has an automatic cooling effect with or without its actual use. Have I built a boogeyman? No, this is what happens in the US. The boogeyman is fake, this is real. Does this situation make it less likely for me to come out in support of workers in struggle who are mainstream union members, no, not at all.

Well, that's good to hear by me.

I get the sense that there's some differences by nationality that are playing into this, as well -- there's also a difference between my region and what you'd call "mainstream labor" in the United States. Namely, "Right to Work" laws [which have been in place here since early 1950's] makes the super-union something which is difficult to realistically build. So our regular, mainstream local is, by simple necessity, worker run.

Which is good.

But it also has staff. I don't see that as bad. In fact -- it's what the workers want here. I tell people, on a very regular basis, that they should fire me if they don't like what I'm doing. And I don't make any promises with respect to me being some kind of savior or whatever. It's just the basics of trade unionism -- power in numbers, working together to solve problems on the shop floor, the contract and direct action -- and there ain't no one else that's really willing to go into it all.

Plus, members hate signing up other members. So, you sign people up, and teach folk that it's not that hard or bad, and that in fact, if they want the union to work right, they have to be the ones signing folk up.

I look at it as a similar role of teaching -- except you're just teaching people about power. And aren't teachers paid?

Mr. Huxley
Sep 26 2014 15:06

On the reverse, you could just throw them to the wolves and let them figure it out.

But I've been there and seen that, too. It's how I got my start. And, more often than not, you lose -- and even if you win something, that win goes away. Which just teaches workers what they suspect anyways: that you can't do anything.

boozemonarchy
Sep 27 2014 12:57
Mr. Huxley wrote:
bozemananarchy wrote:
I'm afraid the anti/pro-standard labor thing as you frame it here mostly exists in your head Mr. Huxley.

What do you say to this page, then?

http://www.iww.org/about/how-iww-differs-business-unions

In my opinion, I think it's definitely part of the whole culture. Not that every radical unionist is this way -- but that there's a trend.

That way? Unabashedly critical of union bureaucracies sabotaging rank and filers? Look, it actually happens, its a thing, it needs talked about.

I was just saying that most radical unions as I know them don't ignore rank and file struggles in mainstream unions and see them as just as class struggley as whatever their own organizing is.

Mr. Huxley
Sep 27 2014 14:35
bozemananarchy wrote:
Mr. Huxley wrote:
bozemananarchy wrote:
I'm afraid the anti/pro-standard labor thing as you frame it here mostly exists in your head Mr. Huxley.

What do you say to this page, then?

http://www.iww.org/about/how-iww-differs-business-unions

In my opinion, I think it's definitely part of the whole culture. Not that every radical unionist is this way -- but that there's a trend.

That way? Unabashedly critical of union bureaucracies sabotaging rank and filers? Look, it actually happens, its a thing, it needs talked about.

Sure.

But look at the conclusions drawn. That's what I'm saying are incorrect.

There's a difference between rejecting a choice, and saying a choice was poorly done. It's the latter that I'm saying is happening.

And the reason I'm saying that is because I'd rather organizations dedicated to worker empowerment and emancipation ran the show than one's dedicated to *just* bread-and-butter gains -- which are important, but there should be more [since they are inter-related goals].

Steven.
Sep 27 2014 16:36

Yeah, Mr Huxley your characterisation of the "radical critique" of mainstream unions is a completely bogus strawman.

For anyone interested in a radical critique of unionism I would recommend our introduction to the unions, for which hopefully it is clear that Huxley's criticisms are baseless:
http://libcom.org/library/unions-introduction

Mr. Huxley
Sep 28 2014 12:49
Steven. wrote:
Yeah, Mr Huxley your characterisation of the "radical critique" of mainstream unions is a completely bogus strawman.

For anyone interested in a radical critique of unionism I would recommend our introduction to the unions, for which hopefully it is clear that Huxley's criticisms are baseless:
http://libcom.org/library/unions-introduction

Which criticisms are baseless?

I've read that article before, and I've now read it again to make sure, and this seems to be indicating that you're speaking for the benefit of anyone who might be listening.

I'd like to be proven incorrect, if I am incorrect. [Why would I bother coming back and posting in bad faith? What could I possibly gain by that?]

The lesson drawn from the radical critique is "No paid staff" -- in particular, no paid organizers. This is the point that I find incorrect. Rather than reject everything that a standard trade union does, I'd say there are things that a trade union can do well or not-well, and that some of those activities can be mimicked by non-standard labor organizations for the purpose of making them more powerful and influential.

Now, at the very least, I believe the conversation here is enough to point out that "No paid organizers" is a lesson folks draw from the radical critique of business unions. Yes? Or is that, too, made up in my head? [because that's one of the main points I've been driving at]

Mr. Huxley
Sep 28 2014 13:47

In case this is what's causing the confusion:

Quote:
It's the whole frame that's off kilter -- the whole anti/pro-standard-labor thing. It always rubs me wrong, and that's what resonated with me. To me, it's just self-defeating to build a bogeyman out of mainstream labor, same as it's self-defeating to do that towards the IWW

I would count pointing out that we ought not run reform slates, that we ought to leave the union, as being anti-mainstream labor. That's the exact wrong answer.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union did some great stuff to show what workers can do to change their unions.

Do labor officials in the upper echelon lay on labor to help themselves out? Undoubtedly. There is no reason obfuscate here.

But the lesson to draw from this isn't to leave the union. The union is the organized workers on the shop floor -- not even the representatives, or the legal entity, or the contract, etc. are the union. This never changes. This is where the power comes from.

Members that just pay dues -- and do nothing else -- still contribute to the cause.
Organizers build the organization up, and help to coordinate efforts over a larger territory of workers. They are a benefit to the movement.

Both of these assertions have received resistance on this board -- the latter moreso than the former. That's certainly the case. And I'd say that both of these assertions are things I've learned in mainstream labor -- things which would help radical organizations become more powerful in order that they may instantiate their values, rather than things which would corrupt radical organizations into become bureaucratic nightmares for official's paychecks.

But the fear -- an understandable fear, even, given history and where folk have been and what they have seen -- is that these structural systems will mislead radical folk into not fulfilling their mission.

In my head or not?

noclass
Oct 3 2014 12:36

I think author is correct. I like to add that marxvx ignores the fact that most of the students are future workers.

If workers keep "professionals" away (also Leninist types) and learn to manage their own affair collectively, their organisations can grow to become a way of life rather than a union like AFL-CIO. A true working class organisation should be more than a union, it should be a non-statist organsation for "abolition of the wage system."

From the article:

Quote:
If your ultimate goal is to bring workers to membership of unions like AFL-CIO unions, then you should just get involved in an AFL-CIO union. If your ultimate goal (like mine) is for workers to increase their power on the job, in society, and ultimately run society for themselves, then your question should be "does using staffers help or hinder the achievement of this goal?"
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The IWW and the AFL-CIO have completely different goals. The former aims at abolition of the wage system, the latter aims in theory to defend/advance the interests of its members but in practice is largely a self-perpetuating bureaucracy to sustain its membership base to pay the salaries and pensions of their own workforce.
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AFL-CIO unions are not interested in the level of self-organisation of the working class. They are capitalist organisations which need to maintain themselves in a capitalist world, so they need to get a return on any investment they make. And low paid, transient service sector workers in small shops are very unlikely to get a decent return on investment.
kevin s.
Oct 4 2014 16:32

I had a longer typed up response but it was too long so i'll try and keep it on point.

while i agree with a lot this piece as far as harmful interferences fro "professional" union heirarchy, and the desirability of self-organized and worker-controlled organizations, i think it over-simplifies professional incompetence and the assumption that workers on the floor always inherently know best. If that were case then a staff-heavy union like SEIU wouldn't stand a chance out-organizing a non-staff union like IWW. Yet SEIU can quickly organize hundreds of fast food workers in multiple chains in multiple cities across the US while IWWs whove been working in fast for years building shopfloor committees, have made almost no progress. The flip side is that the most successful fast food campaign (before it was broken) was the IWW jimmy johns campaign which had not one single paid organizer. All of the organizers were either salts or volunteer outside organizers, and the outsiders had no control over the campaign at all. (The organizing cmte had it's own money and was controlled only by jimmy johns workers.)

At jimmy johns though ironically, it was primarily outside organizers (and a minority of salts, who were late-comers to the campaign and were long time IWW members) who pushed against the NLRB election, and later pushed for a more militant direct action campaign against the mass firing of union members. The majority of shopfloor workers in the organizing cmte consistently supported a more legal based approach and eventually supported a lawyer's advice over that of veteran IWWs, to avoid risky actions that could jeapordize the legal strategy. The most hardcore opponents of mainstream unionism ironically were sidelined by the shopfloor workers and some actually complained of being excluded from helping the campaign or that their veteran advice from experience was ignored by less experienced younger jimmy johns workers. Additionally many (including me) felt that while the internal democracy and autonomy of the campaign was awesome, inside workers were and are frequently careless as to how their decisions negatively effect the larger union organization. Avoiding a militant action might be wise for protecting your job aavoiding legal problems, but undermine the union's long-term strength.

what i'm driving at is three points.

1. Shopfloor workers don't always "know best" especially given shopfloor don't all agree and their views are just influenced by outside baggage (like, belief in the legal system, liberal politics) or even workplace-related baggage such friendships with managers

2. Anti-reformist, anarcho-syndicalist type politically motivated poditions can be just as dogmatic, obstructive and out of touch with shopfloor workers knowledge

3. "Professional" or unprofessional outside organizers aren't all identical. There are plenty of examples of paid organizers who've been more militant than the shopfloor workers (recently saw thid first hand in a union drive at my mom's workplace, in the majority voted down a union for basically collaborationist, mgmt-friendly reasons), and frankly professional organizers have included everything from left wing college graduates to ex-shopfloor workers (both militants and brainless pie cards) to mob associates and gangsters (some militant against employers, some completely in bed with them) to you name it.

The current environment of mainstream labor is dominated by white collar, social democratic legally trained college educated people. That's reflective of the same social environment in which many workers are equally legalistic and averse to confrontation with management.

noclass
Oct 7 2014 15:02

This is all I can say to leave this blog:

We do not go with what workers actually think, they think the way class society and capitalism has brought them up. The way they think works for capitalist system to maintain itself.

I think we need to learn how to organize in a collective self-managing style, need to learn doing social work without professionalism, need to learn why statism is bad for humanity, need to know that wage system is wage-slavery and finally need to learn humanism. By humanism, I mean considering the fact that we are all (capitalists/workers) humans and the difference is ultimately in the way we are brought up. We do not want to have power by forming army, we want to have power to raise human children as libertarian communists. They want us to have arrogant, superstitious, obedient, socially passive children, a mass of only smart in their job if needed. We want to raise our children as smart lovers without hiding what we are and what our history has been. This is our difference. We are humanist, they are are not. They like us to compete with each other, to manipulate and dominate each other, we don't.

This make sense:

"... goal (like mine) is for workers to increase their power on the job, in society, and ultimately run society for themselves..."

Goal is not to beg for simply "10%" raise.

akai
Oct 7 2014 17:58

I think Kevin's points are interesting and surely it happens that some group of workers can be less radical than the radicals in that union. We have seen it in practice here.

But then it leaves a real question and that is, should we be just affiliating people and then watching to see if they can work according to some ideas, or should we first sort of encourage them to try out the ideas and then see if they should join our union.

We ask this question quite often, because in fact, we don't really need a lot of replicas of mainstream unions in our organization, but something different.

Juan Conatz
Oct 7 2014 21:12
kevin s. wrote:
Yet SEIU can quickly organize hundreds of fast food workers in multiple chains in multiple cities across the US while IWWs whove been working in fast for years building shopfloor committees, have made almost no progress.

What fast food workers have SEIU organized? I'm not aware of any. I know they've pulled a very small minority of a few fast food workers out to show up to press conferences and "actions" with politicians, but the only actual organizing committees I've heard of have been started by ideological lefties who are trying to capitalize on the moment.

I actually think the IWW and its meager advances over the years had more progress to them than anything SEIU has done. People buy into the latter because it's the 'newest thing', but it ends up drowning out more impressive stuff the IWW has done. Which is expected, SEIU has millions of dollars, political connections, and speaks in a language that is more inline with the American political mood currently than the IWW.

Quote:
At jimmy johns though ironically, it was primarily outside organizers (and a minority of salts, who were late-comers to the campaign and were long time IWW members) who pushed against the NLRB election, and later pushed for a more militant direct action campaign against the mass firing of union members. The majority of shopfloor workers in the organizing cmte consistently supported a more legal based approach and eventually supported a lawyer's advice over that of veteran IWWs, to avoid risky actions that could jeapordize the legal strategy. The most hardcore opponents of mainstream unionism ironically were sidelined by the shopfloor workers and some actually complained of being excluded from helping the campaign or that their veteran advice from experience was ignored by less experienced younger jimmy johns workers. Additionally many (including me) felt that while the internal democracy and autonomy of the campaign was awesome, inside workers were and are frequently careless as to how their decisions negatively effect the larger union organization. Avoiding a militant action might be wise for protecting your job avoiding legal problems, but undermine the union's long-term strength.

So there's a couple of things here. I think that the anti-NLRB people lost because they didn't have a positive program to outline what they wanted to do. They also, from what I heard, didn't organize internally as effective as the the pro-NLRB people did, and some of the key social leaders were for an election.

I'm not sure about the lawyer thing being an example of anything. I've heard so many different accounts of what happened in that situation that I'm personally suspicious of them all. If we listened to your account or the anti-NLRB organizers, it makes it sound like there was all this organization being done around a militant blockade, and then at the 23rd Hour, a lawyer came in, recommended against it, and everyone backed out. The other common account is that the lawyer advice backed up those who were against it because it didn't make sense doing at the time. Both accounts have been said by people I generally respect, so in the end, I'd rather not make conclusions from it. In any case, declining to do a militant action because of the consequences I don't think means that there's some sort of disconnect between the "real" shopfloor workers and the "fake" salts or outside organizers. I think every campaign has to come to terms with the legality of what we do. And I don't think it's inherently reflective of the supposed conservativeness of the shopfloor or anything like that.

Quote:
3. "Professional" or unprofessional outside organizers aren't all identical. There are plenty of examples of paid organizers who've been more militant than the shopfloor workers (recently saw thid first hand in a union drive at my mom's workplace, in the majority voted down a union for basically collaborationist, mgmt-friendly reasons), and frankly professional organizers have included everything from left wing college graduates to ex-shopfloor workers (both militants and brainless pie cards) to mob associates and gangsters (some militant against employers, some completely in bed with them) to you name it.

Of course the shopfloor can be more colloborationist or conservative than the professional union organizer. But this article, as well as the series it is replying to, is talking on a spectrum from revolutionary to business union, not revolutionary to reactionary. It's not even the same subject.

kevin s.
Oct 10 2014 03:51

Gotta make this super quick..

Juan-

Quote:
If we listened to your account or the anti-NLRB organizers, it makes it sound like there was all this organization being done around a militant blockade, and then at the 23rd Hour, a lawyer came in, recommended against it, and everyone backed out. The other common account is that the lawyer advice backed up those who were against it because it didn't make sense doing at the time. Both accounts have been said by people I generally respect, so in the end, I'd rather not make conclusions from it.

Yeah no to be clear, what I was saying wasn't that the lawyer changed everyones minds. A bunch of workers had been immediately either opposed or reluctant about doing ANY aggressive actions from the get-go after the firings. The most common expressed reason I hear (but I didn't do a survey, this is purely from memory of what folks said) was typically some of aggressive actions being alienating and organizing is our best weapon. A minority of workers, and a larger number of branch members ("outsiders") wanted an aggressive response and sort of temporarily successfully pushed a plan after the firing. There were a couple low-scale actions and then the car action was canceled, and the direct actions stopped. The car was canceled because the majority of workers on the organizing cmte were already uneasy about aggressive actions in the first place because.

Quote:
In any case, declining to do a militant action because of the consequences I don't think means that there's some sort of disconnect between the "real" shopfloor workers and the "fake" salts or outside organizers. I think every campaign has to come to terms with the legality of what we do. And I don't think it's inherently reflective of the supposed conservativeness of the shopfloor or anything like that.

I didn't say anything about "real" or "fake." I don't know what that's supposed to mean. I said the majority of JJs workers in the campaign consistently supported a more business union-like approach and some clashed with "outsiders" over that. And I was pointing how this doesn't fit with the more stereotype parts of the original piece or of hardcore syndicalist anti-business union stuff you see around these days.

Quote:
Of course the shopfloor can be more colloborationist or conservative than the professional union organizer. But this article, as well as the series it is replying to, is talking on a spectrum from revolutionary to business union

Yeh my point was that spectrum doesn't fit with my experiences or a lot of other people's, yet a lot of syndicalist politics is based on that spectrum. I think that's bad political theory.

kevin s.
Oct 12 2014 22:32

Oh also re:

Quote:
What fast food workers have SEIU organized? I'm not aware of any. I know they've pulled a very small minority of a few fast food workers out to show up to press conferences and "actions" with politicians, but the only actual organizing committees I've heard of have been started by ideological lefties who are trying to capitalize on the moment.

Maybe a better word would've been "mobilized" as "organized" is a debatable term. That said the numbers I've always read of workers in the fast food strikes have been in the hundreds (for example a quick google search found this http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/04/fast-food-restaurants-strike-mcdonalds-wendys-burger-king-taco-bell/15058943/ which despite the title, claims an actual number "more than 430"). That's definitely, I agree, a small minority of the industry. And yes a lot of it is based around PR and SEIU is clearly in bed with Democrat politicians etc. That's not really my point though. My point was the reason unions hire paid is because they make it easier to build more contacts faster. As for the quality of organizing, that varies quite a lot. SEIU is known for hiring shitloads of staff and zipping them all over the place, sometimes staff will rotate even within a single workplace committee in a relatively short period.

Also side point, just because politicians go to a protest, doesn't make the workers not "organized." Politicians are PR opportunists, hell we've had annoying local politicians try to bandwagon on JJs and even Chi-Lake events. SEIU throws a lot of money at the electoral politics and showing up at press-chasing events is an easy way for politicians to pretend to return the favor. Similarly press conference are mostly lame in my opinion but doesn't mean the workers who show up aren't organized, it's just a lame use of organizing.

Quote:
I actually think the IWW and its meager advances over the years had more progress to them than anything SEIU has done. People buy into the latter because it's the 'newest thing', but it ends up drowning out more impressive stuff the IWW has done.

Time will have to tell, however, like I said I JJWU was, in my opinion, the best American fast food union campaign I'm aware of, frankly the coolest union campaign I've ever had direct experience with. And it at least influenced the more recent decisions of mainstream unions to throw so much money at fast food organizing. At the same time, by these standards you gave...

Quote:
they've pulled a very small minority of a few fast food workers out to show up to press conferences and "actions" with politicians, but the only actual organizing committees I've heard of have been started by ideological lefties who are trying to capitalize on the moment

.. similar could be said of JJs. A small minority were active in the organizing committees. A larger minority went to actions. About half voted for the union, and the other half vote no. After going public the biggest pickets included many outside parties including SEIU staffers- if I remember right I think Keith Ellison even attended a JJs event (it might've been a multiple event though not just for JJs, I should double check on that).

The leftist thing I'm not sure what your point is but definitely influenced the JJs campaign. The divisions over strategy and tactics were partially (though not entirely) between hardened ideological lefties vs less hard, less ideological, less lefties. The hardest core union people were lefties for sure. Mainstream labor is heavily populated with lefties too, if not mostly as hardcore as IWW. None of that's surprising in JJWU or fight for 15 stuff, lefties are more driven by idealistic motives to organize, even if ideology sometimes leads them to bad organizing practices.

Juan Conatz
Oct 13 2014 01:01
Quote:
Maybe a better word would've been "mobilized" as "organized" is a debatable term. That said the numbers I've always read of workers in the fast food strikes have been in the hundreds (for example a quick google search found this http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/04/fast-food-restaurants-strike-mcdonalds-wendys-burger-king-taco-bell/15058943/ which despite the title, claims an actual number "more than 430"). That's definitely, I agree, a small minority of the industry. And yes a lot of it is based around PR and SEIU is clearly in bed with Democrat politicians etc. That's not really my point though. My point was the reason unions hire paid is because they make it easier to build more contacts faster. As for the quality of organizing, that varies quite a lot. SEIU is known for hiring shitloads of staff and zipping them all over the place, sometimes staff will rotate even within a single workplace committee in a relatively short period.

You said, "Yet SEIU can quickly organize hundreds of fast food workers in multiple chains in multiple cities across the US while IWWs whov'e been working in fast for years building shopfloor committees, have made almost no progress." The sentence before that also contrasts SEIU and IWW organizing. If you meant something different, then you should say something different, otherwise I'm going to get lost talking to you haha. What the two are doing is fundamentally different. You said that SEIU can and is out organizing the IWW in fast food. I don't think they are doing organizing. I think what they are doing is more similar to Occupy May 1st than IWW fast food organizing. Yet no one would describe Occupy May 1st as workplace organizing, or the people that showed up as 'strikers'. SEIU added that to this model of meme-esque protesting.

Quote:
Also side point, just because politicians go to a protest, doesn't make the workers not "organized." Politicians are PR opportunists, hell we've had annoying local politicians try to bandwagon on JJs and even Chi-Lake events. SEIU throws a lot of money at the electoral politics and showing up at press-chasing events is an easy way for politicians to pretend to return the favor. Similarly press conference are mostly lame in my opinion but doesn't mean the workers who show up aren't organized, it's just a lame use of organizing.

You really think the politicians that have shown up to Fight For Fifteen events are just appearing out of nowhere, in order to jump on the bandwagon? I don't believe this. Their presence and involvement is a key part of the strategy, which is to seek out and utilize 'progressive' politicians in order to enact or put pressure on Democrats for a higher minimum wage. You can't compare Ty Moore, a socialist city council candidate who has had informal ties to people in the IWW because of involvement in the radical left, showing up to a picket and then writing something favorable to us, with Democratic politicians being at the very first Fight For Fifteen events, such as here in Minneapolis. They are not merely opportunists here, they are active parts of the strategy. And while yes, you're correct, that the mere presence of politicians doesn't indicate one way or another whether workers are organized, I think with this it does. It is the most important part of the campaign, what politicians do.

Quote:
.. similar could be said of JJs. A small minority were active in the organizing committees. A larger minority went to actions. About half voted for the union, and the other half vote no. After going public the biggest pickets included many outside parties including SEIU staffers- if I remember right I think Keith Ellison even attended a JJs event (it might've been a multiple event though not just for JJs, I should double check on that).

No, nothing similar could be said about the Jimmy Johns campaign in the Twin Cities. I'm saying that the only actual organizing committees that I've heard of with this Fight For Fifteen campaign, committees that plan to address on the job issues, have been initiated in spite of SEIU, not because of SEIU. That is a very big difference from the JJ campaign, which addressed shopfloor issues and was initiated, supported, developed and fought for on an organizational level by the IWW.

kevin s.
Oct 14 2014 00:13

Apologies in advance for sloppiness, don't have time to edit.

Juan Conatz wrote:
You said, "Yet SEIU can quickly organize hundreds of fast food workers in multiple chains in multiple cities across the US while IWWs whov'e been working in fast for years building shopfloor committees, have made almost no progress." The sentence before that also contrasts SEIU and IWW organizing. If you meant something different, then you should say something different, otherwise I'm going to get lost talking to you haha. What the two are doing is fundamentally different. You said that SEIU can and is out organizing the IWW in fast food. I don't think they are doing organizing. I think what they are doing is more similar to Occupy May 1st than IWW fast food organizing. Yet no one would describe Occupy May 1st as workplace organizing, or the people that showed up as 'strikers'. SEIU added that to this model of meme-esque protesting.

Yeah like i said "organized" is a debateably term. The fast food actions have been one day strikes with limited turnout, comparable to some of the less successful attempts at "general strike" during occupy. The one day strike has become a popular tactic all across the labor-left spectrum. As for organized or not, there's a big gray area. Wobs tend to have a higher standard of what is "organized" (actively attending meetings, trainings etc), conventional labor standards officially define organized as whether you have union representation which hardcore wobs don't give a shit about, and the "social movement style" lefties view organized more in terms of if you can be mobilized for actions. All the above have their merits and flaws terminologically, given none of the above are mutually dependent on the others.

About the out-organizing comment, yeah personally i think SEIU is establishing an industry base that the IWW has to compete with, and unless the IWW can start building industry-wide organizing cmtes than SEIU is ahead in that game. The base that was built fromjimmy johns is mostly disintegrated.

My read of SEIU is they are trying to trying to build a base in the industry, maybe not as successfully as they'd like but that's the goal. As is so often pointed out about business unionism and why mainstream labor has up to now avoided fast food, unions need a dues base and don't typically dump millions of dollars into an organizing campaign just for legislative goals without seeking a return on their investment. I mean they explicitly have called for "$15 and a union." Anyway that so-called "movement-style" approach is closely in line, if slower and more long-term, with their more successful organizing in education for example. Likewise with the legislative stuff they tend to see that stuff as a step to further union organizing, much like with the failed EFCA legislative drive.

i do agree they've adopted alot of meme/social media mobilzations techniques from occupy and i'm not super into that stuff, then again radicals including IWWs have done similar stuff as well especially around occupy. I think that's more a question of methodology more so than goals.

Quote:
You really think the politicians that have shown up to Fight For Fifteen events are just appearing out of nowhere, in order to jump on the bandwagon? I don't believe this. Their presence and involvement is a key part of the strategy, which is to seek out and utilize 'progressive' politicians in order to enact or put pressure on Democrats for a higher minimum wage. You can't compare Ty Moore, a socialist city council candidate who has had informal ties to people in the IWW because of involvement in the radical left, showing up to a picket and then writing something favorable to us, with Democratic politicians being at the very first Fight For Fifteen events, such as here in Minneapolis. They are not merely opportunists here, they are active parts of the strategy. And while yes, you're correct, that the mere presence of politicians doesn't indicate one way or another whether workers are organized, I think with this it does. It is the most important part of the campaign, what politicians do.

i'd say it's half their strategy. Agreed SEIU actively solicits, finances and lobbies and cuts deals with them unlike IWW, point was like conceded politician involvement doesn't mean the workers involved aren't organized, it just means their organization is involved with politicians. Take the AFSCME clerical workers for example - they have a minority but active and loyal membership base (despite representing a mostly inactive, less loyal membership) who go to meetings and/actions, but they spend a lot of money and hours on lobbying and most of their actions are weak PR stunts where they seek out politicians and local celebrities to speak out for them That doesn't make their base not organized, it's just a lame use of thst organization.

Quote:
No, nothing similar could be said about the Jimmy Johns campaign in the Twin Cities. I'm saying that the only actual organizing committees that I've heard of with this Fight For Fifteen campaign, committees that plan to address on the job issues, have been initiated in spite of SEIU, not because of SEIU. That is a very big difference from the JJ campaign, which addressed shopfloor issues and was initiated, supported, developed and fought for on an organizational level by the IWW.

i dunno you might be informed on this detail, but my impression from reports i read was they did setup organizing cmtes that were run rather top-down and there was actually some friction and schisms that happened in the more active cmtes over workers and staffers having conflicts.

sidenote, how are wages not a shopfloor issue? Apart from that basically i agree SEIU's fast food organizing is geared around press and politics and top-down goals, that's one of the functions of their staff structure is too keep organizing on the set agenda. I suspect that's one reason behind their zipping around and rotating of campaign staff.