Statement from autonomous union-busting firm in the Twin Cities

Statement from autonomous union-busting firm in the Twin Cities

A public statement on a labour conflict by a group of anarchists and radicals in Minneapolis. The statement resembles typical union-busting strategies, combined with the language of anti-capitalism. We do not agree with this article, but reproduce for reference, and have written a critical introduction.

Recently, in the Twin Cities, canvassers with Sisters Camelot, a nonprofit food shelf, affiliated with the IWW because of grievances at work. On March 1st, after the managing collective that runs the organisation refused to negotiate with the union, the canvassers went on strike. The following Monday, at SC's weekly meeting, the managing collective gave a couple of concessions that dealt with the requirements of becoming a collective member with decision making power, and then promptly read a statement announcing the firing of one of the union canvassers. Justifying the firing on allegations many years old, the canvassers rightly viewed this as a retaliatory firing for his role in the union drive, and subsequently walked out of the meeting. They refuse to negotiate until he is reinstated, which the managing collective refuses to do, and as of now, the strike continues.

Surprisingly to some, a number of well known self-described anarchists and radicals in the Twin Cities put it upon themselves to become what some have called an 'autonomous union busting firm', authoring a public statement, intervening on behalf of the managing collective in meetings and attending open canvasser events to seemingly report back to the managing collective.

The public statement, disingenuously titled 'A Letter of Support for all the Workers at Sisters’ Camelot' is a bizarre merging of professed radical anti-capitalism and typical union busting tactics. These typical union-busting tactics include

-We're all in this together/We're a family

-The structure that regretfully led us to this point was flawed, but we fixed it now.

-Managers/bosses work hard, too.

-As a smaller organisation/company, we're different.

-The portrayal of a union as "aggressive" or "harassing".

-Justifying the firing of a union member based on past allegations that most would be reluctant to defend.

-Suggests the union has "different interests"/third partying the union

Whether intentional or coincidence, these elements are part of the strategies employed by the anti-union industry. They are so common and expected, that many unions have created role plays and scenarios in which workers in organising drives are subjected to these themes, so that when the employer and anti-union law firm do utilize them, they'll have less of an effect.

Combined with these themes is the language of anticapitalism, which the authors subscribe to as a personal identifier. The irony of using the language of radical politics against striking workers seems to have been lost on the authors. Other embarrassing notions in this statement include the claim that the managing collective, who have the power to hire and fire, are not bosses because this power is subject to a consensus decision making process. Regardless of the "democratic" decision making process used (or not) by a group of people who hire and fire, merely having that power over subordinate workers in the same organisation makes them a boss. This is a basic fact in the history of working class struggle. No amount of leftist rhetoric, good vibes or subjective intentions changes this.

'A Letter of Support for all the Workers at Sisters’ Camelot' is primarily a union-busting document authored by and signed onto by a number of self-described anarchists, anti-authoritarians and radicals. It is a shameful smack in the face to striking workers who are risking quite a bit by their decision.The authors and signers of the statement should reevaluate their role as union busters, and instead take on the role that their political affiliations have a proud tradition of: supporting striking workers.

Note: The fired worker's name has been taken out of the statement, having not consented to his name being publicly published. The names of the authors and signers have been left, as they agreed to being publicly associated with it.

-libcom.org group

'A Letter of Support for all the Workers at Sisters’ Camelot'

We are writing this statement as Twin Cities community members who are connected to but not formally affiliated with Sisters’ Camelot and the IWW, both politically and personally. We come from a variety of life experiences and perspectives but are united in our commitment to anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist values and practice. As anti-statists, we believe in the necessity of militancy and confrontation in struggle, but also value cooperation and community responsibility in conflict resolution. This is why it’s important for us to speak to this current issue of labor strife—as people who are neither members of the Camelot collective nor canvassers, but who have a community stake in the well-being of Sisters’ Camelot as an organization and the well-being of all Camelot workers.

Summary to Date

On February 25, members of the Sisters’ Camelot canvass came to the Sisters’ Camelot collective meeting and announced that they had formed a union with the IWW and that they would present demands at a negotiation session the following Friday. On March 1, the entire Sisters’ Camelot collective attended a facilitated conversation in which the organized canvassers presented a list of 18 demands. The collective stated that they were unable to negotiate on the demands at that time, but asked canvassers to use the existing collective process to address the demands and attend their regular collective meeting on March 4th. In response, the canvassers went on strike and walked out of the meeting.

On March 4th, both groups attended the collective meeting to resume negotiations. They were joined by a number of community supporters with a range of views on the issue (including several of the authors of this statement).

Canvassers read a statement at the beginning of the meeting reiterating their desire for the collective to negotiate with them on their demands. Next, the collective read a statement saying that they were open to negotiating, and that as a good-faith measure they had already taken a significant step to make the collective more accessible to canvassers by altering their membership policy such that canvassers could work 12 paid shifts/month rather than perform the 8 hours/month of volunteer work required of all other members; they also offered one immediate collective member position to a person of the canvassers’ choosing, as an exception to the standard 3-month waiting period. The collective then read a second statement, saying that they could not continue with negotiations as long as [name removed] (a member of the canvasser’s union) was involved in the organization, and that they had already terminated his contract. Before the conclusion of this statement, the striking workers and their supporters voiced their opposition and left the meeting. They returned shortly after to state that they would refuse to negotiate until [name removed] was reinstated. The Sisters’ Camelot collective was unwilling to bend on this issue. At this point, official negotiations ceased. The majority of the IWW supporters walked out. Some members of the canvass union, as well as an unaffiliated canvass worker and a small number of IWW members, stayed behind to continue the discussion with Sisters’ Camelot and the other community members.

As outside but invested observers and community members, we wish to share certain observations and views about this conflict: the value of collectivity as a means of worker control; the importance of approaching disagreements in the movement as comrades rather than enemies; the complex dynamics and mistakes of Sisters’ Camelot, in particular regarding the involvement of [name removed]; and the implications of this conflict for continued radical anti-authoritarian struggle in the Twin Cities into the future.

Collectivity and Worker Control

We believe in individuals having direct control over their lives, which includes workers having control over their work environment. Worker control of the means of production is both a stated goal of the IWW and the reality for many workers in collectives around the world. One of the critical issues that we would like to highlight is the role and value of collective structure in this dispute as well as the value of consensus as one legitimate decision-making process.

Given that worker collectives are an ideal of many IWW members and other radicals (in fact, IWW affiliated worker collectives exist in some cities), and that such collectives necessarily must hold hiring and firing power to survive, we urge all involved to respect the value of collectivity and the worker control that Sisters’ Camelot has long been striving for. In Sisters’ Camelot, collective membership is not mandatory for all workers. This creates a situation in which some workers–who have chosen to join the collective by attending weekly meetings and volunteering 8 hours per month–have hiring and firing power, while others do not. Any one of the workers or volunteers can enter a process to become a collective member, but the current collective members hold the right to approve or disapprove new members at the end of their trial period. In the past, canvassers for Camelot have been part of the managing collective and recent changes by the collective are designed to make that more accessible. Some workers in their collective cite worker control as the very reason for their dedication to the organization.

The contention around the current endeavor is, at the crux of it, about the legitimacy of the Camelot collective as a democratic worker organizing structure. The collective may have issues, but for years it has been the preferred tool of Camelot workers. While change and growth can be a positive force and while it would be wrong for collective members to try to hold power over fellow workers, it is equally wrong to disregard the rights of the non-canvass workers to have power over their environment free from bullying and to play an active role in determining a structure that supports all workers’ needs.

We agree with critiques leveled by some IWW members regarding “alternative businesses” and “democratic workplaces” that “red-wash” their structure to hide power disparities. But we see in these instances a misuse of the tool rather than a fatal flaw in the tool itself, and we take them as a reminder that we must always be wary of co-optation and appropriation. In the same way, the IWW as an organization levels similar critiques at trade unions and business unions, while not abandoning the concept of unionism. There are many ways to engage in anti-capitalist struggle that deserve respect and support, and no one group has a monopoly on the identities and sites of struggle that comprise our movements.

We also greatly value consensus, but are not dogmatically opposed to anti-authoritarian organizing models that utilize other decision-making structures. Consensus and majority vote are two of many valid decision-making tools worth utilizing to make organizations more egalitarian, and those most affected should be the ones choosing the methods to use. Decision-making processes should be developed not by defaulting to sloppy consensus-by-habit, which has become the practice for many groups in our movement, nor by the anti-consensus campaign pursued by some members of the IWW. Instead, the workers at Sisters’ Camelot should think long and hard about what model will best serve what they are trying to achieve, taking into account the needs and desires of all affected parties.

Comrades, Not Adversaries

We see potential through both confrontational and cooperative organizing to achieve worker control. But while canvassers themselves consistently praise many aspects of Sisters’ Camelot, the strategy of the IWW in this situation has inaccurately framed the collective of volunteers and workers as “bosses” and as enemies of the canvassers. We do not hold collectives beyond reproach and believe that conflict can be necessary and productive, but the adversarial style appropriate in a campaign against a big business or a top-heavy NGO runs counter to the values of collectivity and consensus crucial to organizing amongst peers in an anti-authoritarian setting. The need for a “boss” or “manager” in the rigid workplace organizing equation employed by the IWW has led to a flattening of the complex power dynamics and worker relations within the Camelot workplace, unfairly negating the position of collective members as affected workers, and pitting worker against fellow worker while providing no practical avenue for a just resolution.

When the issue moves away from heated, impersonal debate and into the actual lives of both collective members and workers, we see the extent to which all put their heart and soul into their organization. They all deserve better than the amped up arguments being thrown around to intimidate and harass, or the mudslinging currently raging on the internet. They deserve the space to resolve the issues at hand without poorly applied rhetoric and false characterizations muddying the waters; honesty, a recognition of common interest, and a genuine valuing of mutual aid are essential to this process.

What’s more, we’ve seen in this adversarial approach that political positions are oversimplified and loudly debated in a manner that hides nuance and silences thoughtful and respectful engagement, at the expense of mutual aid, strong relationships, and political growth. This environment bolsters existing privileges and power dynamics, reproducing many of the very oppressions we fight against: namely, such behavior tends to reproduce the oppression of women, people of color, queer and trans folks, and other marginalized groups. This behavior has often rendered anti-authoritarian projects unwelcoming for community members who are essential to our struggles for a better world, which holds back all movement towards collective liberation.

A Shaky Foundation

Also behind the accusations and heated debates sits a long history of difficult interpersonal and collective dynamics within Sisters Camelot, and particularly concerning [name removed] . We believe the Camelot collective’s termination of his contract on March 4 was a difficult but necessary move in the right direction, knowing that real cause for his firing has long existed. [name removed] has perpetrated many acts of abuse and manipulation over the years, and has consistently refused to show any genuine interest in being accountable for or correcting these behaviors. Many of us know people who in all legitimacy feel that they cannot afford to have him around, or have ourselves had experiences with him that lead us to that conclusion; while it is not within the purview of this statement to detail each and every one of these transgressions, these community issues inform our position that [name removed] presence is a barrier to healthy and constructive radical work. Of direct relevance to the Camelot labor conflict is the fact that [name removed] contract with Sisters’ Camelot was ended in 2009, due to a major breach of trust and confidence. The action was taken both because it was discovered that while acting as Canvass Director he had stolen pay from fellow canvassers at least twice, and because the canvassers themselves asked the collective to remove him due to the hostile, unhealthy and unworkable environment he created. He ended up back at the canvass a couple years later through an unfortunate combination of poor communication and dysfunctional collective practice. The collective has acknowledged their major mistake in allowing this to transpire. While we see how terrible the timing looks outwardly, we respect their need to correct their error now, when it is apparent that it will not be possible to work out the issues brought by canvassers to anyone’s satisfaction as long as [name removed] retains power in the organization.

We cannot express too strongly our belief that all people have the right of free association, and the right to work and live free of abuse, manipulation, and coercion. The circumstances of [name removed] termination are not a matter of petty personal disagreements nor of union-busting, but one of collective and community well-being. His absence from the negotiations will be beneficial for everyone involved (Sisters’ Camelot workers, the organization as a whole, and the community at large), and we urge canvassers to negotiate with their fellow Camelot workers and the collective, without [name removed] present.

Additionally and aside from this one individual, we recognize that Sisters’ Camelot is not beyond reproach. As the canvassers don’t feel their needs are being met within the current structure, we support them working to reshape their workplace to better fit their needs and to bring in other community members to mediate as needed. There are clearly issues with Sisters’ that have gone unaddressed too long, and we celebrate the initiative and will to build a better workplace that canvassers are demonstrating right now. It should have been recognized long ago that the collective structure (as it stood before recent changes) didn’t adequately make space for involvement of the canvassers. This is a symptom of a movement-wide problem of ignoring the need for collective care and space to cultivate shared values, in exchange for expediency. While the collective meetings have been officially open, many canvassers have legitimately found the collective difficult and unwelcoming to approach. Further, the failure to deal with serious conflict adequately and effectively has eroded the foundation of trust that collectives need to thrive – and now, we see the messy and disappointing results. We offer these constructive criticisms in the spirit of growth, knowing from our own experiences that healthy radical processes, if never perfect, are only refined through constant and intentional maintenance.

Moving Forward

We want to clearly emphasize the validity of many issues raised by the canvassers, and to express our wholehearted support of their right to organize for better conditions and more power in their workplace. Likewise, we value the right of Camelot’s non-canvass workers to self-organize, and stand with them in this process as well. The work of Sisters’ Camelot is important to us, as is the well-being of everyone who makes it possible.

The authors of this statement also feel the need to relay that we have spoken with multiple community members who don’t feel comfortable expressing their actual opinions on this situation publicly, due to the behavior not only of [name removed] , but of some IWW organizers who do not work at Sisters’ Camelot. These IWW members’ hostility towards collective process and willingness to engage in individual harassment and aggression has created a fear-based environment and a fundamental lack of trust, and we feel that their framing of the Sisters’ Camelot collective as an adversary does not further radical struggle outside of their own interests. We urge them to approach this conflict as respectful comrades, not as adversaries, and to recognize that any short-term “win” that by design hurts workers amongst us who are committed to anti-authoritarian struggle, and that deeply damages the community capacity for mutual confidence and trust through exploiting existing tensions and vulnerabilities, is a long-term loss.

Given this, lastly, we look to the future in the hope of repairing these relationships. Long after this disagreement is resolved – or not – we will still be a part of intertwined networks in the same city, struggling for many of the same shared values. The outcome we wish to see moving forward includes more workers being included in the Camelot collective, and not in an adversarial relationship but in one of mutual solidarity. It also includes community members with different tendencies and affinities continuing the tradition of setting aside our political differences to cultivate shared struggle and affinity. To this end, we encourage all Camelot workers to work towards resolution of the issues at hand, and encourage everyone to nurture and care for each other as a means of fomenting rebellion against Capitalism, the State, and injustice everywhere, and in the interest of building the world we want to live in.

We’ll see you on the streets! (And at the dinner tables!)

Signers:
Carrie Feldman (co-author)
Garrett Fitzgerald (co-author)
Jaime Hokanson (co-author)
Luce Guillén-Givins (co-author)
Rob Czernik (co-author)
Ryan Nelson (co-author)
Andrew Fahlstrom Crow
Claire Sigford
Cody Oesterreich
Eryn Trimmer
Isaac Martín
Laura Goetsch
liška halvlys
Monica Bicking
Thaddeus Hinnenkamp
Tim Phillips
Ian Mayes
Andrew Gramm
Zach Tauer
Gus Ganley
Kit Newton
Hannah Hazel
Alicia Dvorak
Emily May Taylor
Olli
Anna Lohse
Sen Holiday
Evan Izaksonas-Smith
Boris Smelov
Ryan Billig
Aaron Zellhoefer
Micah Thompson
Linda Wells
Jay Silas
Holly Taylor
Leslie Davis
Jason Tanzman
Rita Hardie
Sarah Lazarewicz
Brad Stiffler
Andrew Sapp
Amy Van Blaricum
Irene Greene
Nils C Collins
Bruce J. Wuollet
Willow Cordes-Eklund
Karen Eisert
Ed Engelmann (former Board member)
Nate Stevens
magical marty (volunteer)

Posted By

libcom
Mar 14 2013 22:53

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Comments

Steven.
Mar 14 2013 23:30

As Clay Davis would say, this is some shameful shit.

Chilli Sauce
Mar 15 2013 11:25

Well deserves it's place in the best of the worst.

organdva
Mar 15 2013 17:27

In every larger workplace you have horizontal discipline at any time! Horizontal discipline operate parallel and is interwoven with hierarchical or any alternative worker discipline.

Workers are in shifts before and after you, and production goes before and after you.
If someone in line before you does sloppy job you suffer, and you don't want to make it harder for workers after you.

Some workers have good excuses for bad work, some don't. For example. After I consulted with colleague worker about how one worker is passing me shift they advise me to talk to him. I said "Oh, it is really hard to work here, I can't manage all the work". He said "It is no problem to me I can sit for an hour drinking coffee"(This happens in the night shifts, we all tolerate it to some extend). So explained what bothers me an the person did better. But what when this horizontal work discipline fails? Most workers then demand authority (this could be work collective, but now is the boss).

Other example. One worker on the organisational position decided to leave workplace. He had to much work on him, bosses didn't show understanding and he left. The new worker was hired to his position and he didn't manage well. So the part of responsibility for organizing workplace fall regular workers. Organisational work is done before every other work and because the new person didn't manage workers started to put pressure (even dough, organisational work is up in the hierarchy).

Something I wanted to share for some time. Thanks for understanding, despite my bad English.

syndicalist
Mar 15 2013 18:41

Got this from the IWW UNion on my FB page:

Quote:
IWW SISTERS CAMELOT CANVASS UNION

A STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR STRIKING CANVASS WORKERS
A STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR STRIKING CANVASS WORKERS

We the undersigned, members of the Twin Cities community, write to state our support for the striking canvass workers at Sisters’ Camelot, and in order to hold the organization’s decision-making collective accountable to the community, we urge them to do what is right and negotiate with the union. We recognize that the canvassers have Sisters’ Camelot’s best interest in mind and support their decision to unionize; Workers everywhere have the right to organize their workplace. Doing so is not an attack on the collective, the organization or it’s mission. As a community, we are aware that the canvassers of Sisters’ Camelot must be recognized as an organized union. We feel this recognition is vital to progressive change for Sisters’ Camelot.

We support and encourage an open negotiation in good faith between the collective and the Canvassers Union. We insist that all personal matters be put aside; as a community of onlookers, we are aware of the personal issues involved and can see that is it having a negative impact on the organization’s mission. By refusing to negotiate with the canvass union and then firing a union worker, it has become clear that the collective management of Sisters’ Camelot are not allowing the organization to move forward. We recognize that canvassers are the medium which Sisters’ Camelot uses to communicate with the wider world and cannot see a future for Sisters’ Camelot without them.

We recognize that Sisters’ Camelot’s programming represents a spirit of unconditional compassion and acceptance to the community in which it serves; it represents community outreach and support; it represents forward-thinking activism that decreases waste and hunger. An organization like this is scarce, and we are aware it cannot be created or destroyed overnight. As a community, we stand behind the Sisters’ Camelot Canvass Union and feel that the demands and actions of the canvassers are in the spirit of Sisters’ Camelot’s mission and values. We wish to stand together, and ask that Sisters’ Camelot continues living up to these values by negotiating, compromising, re-hiring and re-evaluating what a community truly means.

As a community, we urge the following action:

1) Re-hiring the fired union worker: these actions have no place in the resolution of a labor dispute.

2) Negotiate in good faith with the canvassers of Sisters’ Camelot: so that they can end the strike and continue supporting its mission of “feeding the hungry and inspiring the world.”

We sign this document, as a community, to re-iterate that we too stand by Sisters’ Camelot and it’s mission statement and hope to see it thrive for years to come.

To add your name to the list of supporters, email SistersCamelotCanvassUnion@gmail.com with the name you would like to be listed as.

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 15 2013 20:43

South London Solfed had a run in with another self-styled 'revolutionary' 'cooperative' type business which ended up with mass firing & union busting to the applause/complicity of most of the local left last year: http://solfed.org.uk/?q=south-london/ray-woolford-putting-profit-before-people

Fortunately, the local anarcho movt - & the SWP - was smart enough to back the workers.

Nate
Mar 16 2013 02:32

Thanks for that Caiman. Did anyone ever do a longer article on it? There was a somewhat similar situation in Portland several years ago, sounds pretty similar to what y'all dealt with, I liked this article about it - http://www.iww.org/en/node/878

organdva
Mar 18 2013 07:59

I begin to think most libcom readers have little work experience or haven't work at all.

Anarchists that would shoot fascists but not fire them? Is that true?

Some of my more hippie-pedagogic friends (with who I agree with) would ask them: "Is this really job for you? Can't you see the trouble you are making for others?" And he would (in my evil mind) reply:" I'm just testing your principles before I put you in to the death camp". It seems that I only need to use this extremes with people who don't have work experience. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about any particular case, just principles. If you are on the bottom of hierarchy, an "innocent", maybe even "virgin saint worker", you will always appear victim to naive leftists.

jonthom
Mar 18 2013 08:30
organdva wrote:
I begin to think most libcom readers have little work experience or haven't work at all.

Anarchists that would shoot fascists but not fire them? Is that true?

Some of my more hippie-pedagogic friends (with who I agree with) would ask them: "Is this really job for you? Can't you see the trouble you are making for others?" And he would (in my evil mind) reply:" I'm just testing your principles before I put you in to the death camp". It seems that I only need to use this extremes with people who don't have work experience. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about any particular case, just principles. If you are on the bottom of hierarchy, an "innocent", maybe even "virgin saint worker", you will always appear victim to naive leftists.

The IWW: it's basically Treblinka if you think about it.

piss off.

forbiddenbooks
Mar 19 2013 11:39

My litmus test is this (still under development): Does the entrance of the IWW on the scene get us closer, or further, from the abolition of work as such?

On the one hand, it could indeed help those workers change Sister Camelot's culture, lobby for wages, etc. Which as we all know gives workers a sense of empowerment and control, etc.... right?

On the other hand, it could make the collective format, which is supposedly progressive, feel more like a "traditional" job....

Thoughts?

Nate
Mar 19 2013 15:04

The IWW's not the important bit here. The canvassers were organizing and came to the IWW for a bit of advice and support. They're the ones calling the shots. I don't know that any outcome of their struggle moves us close or further from 'the abolition of work as such' but the degree to which their job is a job like any other in terms of workplace power dynamics is why they're organizing.

Chilli Sauce
Mar 19 2013 20:18
Quote:
On the other hand, it could make the collective format, which is supposedly progressive, feel more like a "traditional" job....

Sorry if it appears terse, but it should feel like work. Even the best worker co-op (which Sisters Camelot surely is not) doesn't escape the social relations of capitalism.

redsdisease
Mar 20 2013 00:15
forbiddenbooks wrote:
On the other hand, it could make the collective format, which is supposedly progressive, feel more like a "traditional" job....

Thoughts?

Have you looked at their demands? They seem to be overwhelmingly about having more control over their work, only one of them is about pay and it seems pretty modest to me. Seems like if their demands were satisfied it would make it less like a traditional job not more. The "collective" that you refer to is comprised of the management and has none of canvassers in it.

As to whether it gets us closer to the abolition of work: it seems that, since work can only be abolished by the mass, autonomous struggle of the working class against the interests of capital, a group of workers, even if it's a small group in a relatively non-influential industry, struggling for their own interests, certainly can't hurt the process.

Juan Conatz
Mar 21 2013 01:33

Anyone else ever seen anything like this before?

persepolis94
Mar 21 2013 18:08

i think whoever wrote the content of "Statement from autonomous union-busting firm in the Twin Cities" is missing some of the key points in 'A Letter of Support for all the Workers at Sisters’ Camelot'

Uncreative
Mar 21 2013 18:36
persepolis94 wrote:
i think whoever wrote the content of "Statement from autonomous union-busting firm in the Twin Cities" is missing some of the key points in 'A Letter of Support for all the Workers at Sisters’ Camelot'

Which key points? Care to make an argument at all?

Chilli Sauce
Mar 21 2013 20:39
persepolis94 wrote:
i think whoever wrote the content of "Statement from autonomous union-busting firm in the Twin Cities" is missing some of the key points in 'A Letter of Support for all the Workers at Sisters’ Camelot'

i think whoever wrote the content of "A Letter of Support for all the Workers at Sisters’ Camelot" is missing some of the key points in what defines a worker.

Rob Ray
Apr 21 2013 13:15

So as it turns out that even though most US labour rights legislation is flaming wreckage these days, Sisters Camelot still managed to act illegally in firing Shuge Mississippi:

http://tcorganizer.com/2013/04/20/national-labor-relations-board-finds-firing-at-sisters-camelot-illegal-offers-settlement/

Seriously you know you're a fucking embarrassment to the co-operative movement when even the NLRB's saying "bit harsh guys."

Rob Ray
Apr 21 2013 13:28

They've put up a reply on their Facebook, which frankly is just pathetic:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sisters-Camelot/138745306176952?fref=ts

Chilli Sauce
Apr 21 2013 16:21

"Oh, but they're independent contractors..." What a load of f*cking bollocks. It's same argument that FedEx has been using to stop their driver from unionizing for decades. Everyone who signed that statement in support of Sister Camelot ought to be ashamed to ever show their face at anarchist event ever.

Rob Ray
Apr 23 2013 12:30

Jesus so come Tuesday they came out with an announcement, they're going to be contesting the NLRB decision and they found themselves a free lawyer, this dude:

http://www.fordharrison.com/JohnHauge

Who appears to be one of the most prolific union-busting lawyers in Minnesota. Apparently literally no depths to which they won't sink. When this is all over it'll need a proper library entry of lessons learned...

klas batalo
Apr 25 2013 08:20

Anarchists actually using a real union busting lawyer. I knew they got a pro-bono jerk, but this fucking level!

MAKE TOTAL DESTROY

Juan Conatz
Apr 26 2013 02:01

Just to be clear, the managing collective and the group of anarchists who wrote the 'community statement' are 2 different groups of people. They are allies, but I have no idea the politics of people in the managing collective. I suppose most think of themselves as radicals, but have no idea if they consider themselves anarchists.

Also

Chilli Sauce
Jul 10 2013 07:14

Article coming out of the Twin Cities IWW:

Deva Ju: The Parallels Between the Sisters’ Camelot & Jimmy John’s Anti-Union Campaigns


Travis & Robbie are members of the Jimmy John’s Workers Union and the Twin Cities General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). In this article they discuss the similarities between the struggles at Jimmy John’s and Sisters’ Camelot. In Part 2, they will debunk the community statement (A Letter of Support for all the Workers at Sisters’ Camelot) written and signed onto by several members of the south Minneapolis radical community...

http://tcorganizer.com/2013/07/09/deja-vu/

Juan Conatz
May 6 2014 15:19

So...this weekend at the Mayday parade in Minneapolis an IWW picket was attacked by some of these "anarchists".

fingers malone
May 6 2014 19:16

sad is everybody alright?

Ed
May 7 2014 10:36

Video of some scuffles here which don't seem to heavy (as in, it's not baseball bat wielding nutters doing it) but I saw another picture (which I can't find now) which shows someone having been quite badly hurt.. will look for the other pic now..

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Twin Cities IWW statement

Quote:
PICKET VIOLENTLY ATTACKED -- CALL FOR FULL BOYCOTT OF SISTERS’ CAMELOT

On May 4th 2014, members of the Twin Cities IWW and supporters withstood a violent and deliberate attack on a picket of Sisters’ Camelot, whose canvass workers went on strike in March of 2013 and have endured vicious union-busting efforts from the organization ever since. After some twenty minutes of peaceful picketing, Sisters’ Camelot supporters organized an escalating series of attacks and attempts to break the picket line, eventually tackling an IWW member to the ground and beating him until other Wobblies pulled them away.

Earlier in 2014, a committee organizing the 80th anniversary of the 1934 Minneapolis Trucker’s Strike was asked to participate in the official Heart of the Beast Theatre May Day Parade. Many members of the committee, which includes many IWW members, were concerned about whether or not HOBT was working with a known union-busting firm. In April, a member of the Remember 1934 committee made a discreet inquiry to the artistic director of HOBT, and an assurance was made that by mutual agreement between HOBT and Sisters’ Camelot, Sisters’ would not be at the festival.

However, on Sunday, as marchers with the Remember 1934 committee arrived at the park, a union member and striking canvasser alerted us that the Sisters Camelot bus was parked on 35th St near 13th Ave, directly facing Powderhorn Park, where the festival was occurring. Acting in solidarity with the striking canvassers, a group of Wobblies and community allies began a peaceful picket on the sidewalk in front of the bus’s serving window.

Members of Sisters’ Camelot managed only disorganized attempts to disrupt the peaceful picket for the first twenty minutes, including trying to drown the picketers out, and screaming that the workers were greedy for trying to improve their working conditions. When that failed, they called in support--many of the same cadre who had been a part of drafting anti-union “community statements,” and acted as advisers to Sisters Camelot in their union-busting efforts--in order to, as one of these individuals later explicitly stated online, “Run [the IWW] out.”

In their efforts to achieve their stated goal of breaking a peaceful picket line, Sisters’ Camelot steadily escalated their violence against IWW members. First they physically blocked workers and their supporters--at one point a Sisters’ Camelot supporter physically pushed her small child into the picket line. IWW members responded by peacefully moving around individuals trying to block their way. Following this failure, attackers began shoving and physically attacking picketers. Each time, IWW members did their best to defend themselves and continue the picket line. Meanwhile Sisters’ Camelot supporters did nothing to intervene or remove those individuals, evidently happy to have them act as their goons and enforcers. Eventually, several members of this cadre organized a group of people to encircle the picket, take picket signs and personal material and destroy them, and forcefully prevent the picket from continuing. At this point, an IWW member was tackled to the ground, where he was scratched and beaten by a member of Sisters Camelot as well as several supporters. Once more, it was up to the IWW picketers and supporters to remove these individuals, while those who had mobilized the attack looked on approvingly.

Beyond the physical attack, there was a constant stream of classist, sexist, homophobic, and otherwise problematic language from the assailants. Following the final assault, a member of Sisters’ Camelot mocked and belittled the beaten IWW member and another openly queer IWW member with homophobic and sexist slurs, in full view and earshot of many of the self-described anti-oppression activists who said and did nothing. Others mocked IWW members for having to work for a living, while still others were given the same tired anti-union line of “If you don’t like your job, get a new one.” Meanwhile, two IWW members overheard an individual walk up saying, “I’m looking forward to bashing in some IWW skulls.”

None of this is particularly surprising: while Sisters Camelot and their allies claim to be anti-oppression, they have repeatedly shown throughout the last 15 months that they are more than willing to ally themselves with openly anti-worker, anti-woman, and anti-queer individuals and institutions in order to get their way. When Sisters’ Camelot was brought to court over the illegal firing of a canvasser for union activities, they employed the services of John C. Hauge, a lawyer who boasts of defending corporations against sexual assault cases, OSHA claims, wrongful death lawsuits, and aiding companies in “union avoidance” efforts, among other contemptible practices. Laughably, they have repeatedly decried “aggression” from their striking workers and the IWW.

While their self-created image of rebellious attitude and anti-oppressive culture is well groomed, what lies beneath the surface is a condescending disregard for the wellbeing of anyone beyond their social circle. At one point, picketers overheard a SC Collective member state “I’m proud to be a scab!” while other key supporters laughed about the IWW member who was bleeding from his head, saying, “well, maybe he just sucks at fighting.”

To be perfectly clear, anyone who mobilizes their friends to assault a peaceful picket of workers and their supporters, who associates themselves with homophobes and sexists and then disclaims any responsibility for their actions, or who supports this type of activity, has no right to consider themselves a part of any progressive or radical community. To even consider otherwise is a slap in the face to everyone who fights for a better world.

We don’t take organized assaults on our members and friends lightly. After the assault on our picket line, we feel it is necessary to take further action against Sisters Camelot. The Twin Cities IWW calls for a complete economic, organizational, and charitable boycott of Sisters Camelot. If a scab canvasser comes to your door, turn them away empty handed. If they approach you about hosting a food share, tell them they are not welcome. Any individuals or organizations who continue to support Sisters Camelot will be associated with their shameful actions. There is no space within our communities for any organization that operates in this way.

We Never Sleep. We Never Forget.

Juan Conatz
May 7 2014 16:45

Everyone's alright, one IWWer got some scrapes and scratches from getting knocked down and punched when they tries to break the picket, but he's alright

bozemananarchy
May 7 2014 17:48

Dolphin balloon at .20 in the video. Which side is it on?

But seriously, fucked up shit. SC is just the worst. Solidarity with the canvassers, all the best!

edit: Just got word on FB that dolphin balloon is in hippy-scab cadre, I coulda guessed that I suppose. Also, hippy scabs are not just "still scabs", they are the worst, absolute worst scabs sad

Juan Conatz
May 8 2014 01:55

Here's the Twin Cities IWW statement in the form of not-Facebook: http://tcorganizer.com/2014/05/07/picket-violently-attacked-call-for-full-boycott-of-sisters-camelot/