Around the union: Mobile Rail workers win, Wobblies organize worldwide

Updates on various IWW activity.

“Around The Union” is a new IW feature showcasing the tremendous organizing work of Wobblies throughout the world. Send your updates to iw-reports@ iww.org.

Twin Cities

Canvassers from Sisters Camelot are still on strike. They are mostly concentrating on their food-sharing collective, called the North Country Food Alliance, while maintaining a scab watch. The Chicago Lake Liquors campaign ended in July 2013, with the fired workers taking a monetary settlement, a significant portion of which was given to the Twin Cities General Membership Branch (GMB). There are a couple of non-public campaigns getting off the ground currently. Recently these fellow workers had a branch summit, which revolved around reflections about 2013 campaigns. There are ongoing dual-card efforts in the education, warehousing, and communications industries. Twin Cities IWW members are trying to assist Wobs in Duluth in getting a branch started. Several members are involved in the planning of a 1934 Teamsters strike commemoration event that will take place this summer.

Portland

The local Food and Retail Workers United organizing committee is still very busy, meeting multiple times a month, some in the mornings for night workers and evenings for morning workers. The group has more than 30 active members, as the IWW is active in multiple shops. The GMB’s Industrial Union (IU) 650 workers are still active in multiple shops as well. Two new campaigns have been ongoing: in domestic work and another for $5 minimum wage increases.

Dual-card and solidarity work are being carried out for an expected Portland public school teachers’ strike, as well as a bus workers’ strike. Members are also quite active in the “Defend Wyatt, Defeat Right to Work” campaign. Wyatt McMinn is a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, who was arrested in a protest at a right-to-work political meeting in Vancouver, Wash. More information can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/ defendwyattdefeatrighttowork.

Mobile Rail Workers Union

One more IWW victory, folks! On Feb. 10, Mobile Rail Solutions—a small railroad servicing company based in Illinois— decided to settle out of court for $159,791. As part of the settlement Mobile Rail admitted that the IWW members were unfair labor practice strikers and not economic strikers. The workers went public with the IWW on July 8, 2013.

Los Angeles

Wobblies from Los Angeles, Portland and Salt Lake City held a roundtable public meeting on Feb. 10 for workers in the food and retail industries. Over 20 people attended and great discussion was held.

Kentucky

The Kentucky IWW will file its request for a branch charter soon. At press time, fellow workers in Kentucky said that after about a year of gathering at-large members and signing up new ones, the group will vote on the bylaws and submit paper work to IWW General Headquarters (GHQ) for acceptance at its February meeting. The Kentucky Wobblies have been actively working to become a voice in the community and has been working with Kentucky Jobs with Justice and meeting at the Anne and Carl Braden Center. These fellow workers say they look forward to finally creating an active branch in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky: “We hope to teach the state about that common part. OBU,” they said.

Miami

In the South Florida GMB, members are agitating, mapping, and taking initial steps at their jobs in banking, healthcare, retail and printing. The branch is holding regular meetings to discuss their experiences in organizing and educate ourselves about ideas and action. Every month the branch holds barbeques in the park with soccer matches. IWW posters, cards, flyers and pamphlets are distributed in neighborhoods and working-class districts of South Florida in order to get the word out about our efforts and make contacts with workers ready to work around issues at their jobs, their buildings and neighborhoods.