workplace activity

How I got fired and won my job back

An article from an IWW organizer about his organizing that led to his being fired and returned to work.

The Termination

Being a woman organizer isn’t easy

Wob women at a picket in Brooklyn, 2007.

An article by Luz Sierra about the gendered expectations she has faced within her family and culture.

This past year I became politically active. I went from being completely unaware of the existence of radical politics to doing organizing work in Miami with an anarchist perspective. It has been both a rewarding and difficult journey, yet gender seems to haunt me wherever I go.

Just say no

A short of account of a low-level direct action - a collective refusal to undertake a certain aspect of work - that occurred at a small language school.

Like every child of the Reagan era, my teachers taught me how to steer clear of drugs: “Just Say No”.

Having spent all my working life in an economy largely defined by Reagan's neoliberal restructuring, I've come to appreciate the power of “Just Say No” - although perhaps not in the way old Ronnie intended.

Lunch lady land: reflections on a unionization drive from a radical food service worker

An account of organising in a US college cafeteria.

It was sometime in late February, 2011 when we let the cat out of the bag. I was working the swing shift in the college’s main cafeteria – “The Den” as it was known. It was starting to get dark, and I had just clocked out for my lunch break and stepped outside onto the smoking dock.

An account of winning reinstatement for a suspended worker

A short account from a friend of ours of how he and his colleagues managed to get a member of staff who had been suspended on disciplinary grounds reinstated.

A couple of years ago I was working in a local council in a children's social services of 60 people. The team was overwhelmingly female and ethnically very diverse. Half of the workers were Unison members, and I was one of two shop stewards.

Lessons from small shop organizing

A significant amount of organizing experience in the IWW comes from working in relatively small workplaces such as stand-alone single shops or franchises of multiple smaller shops. These places present their own set of difficulties and opportunities. Lou Rinaldi talks about what happened at a former job of his in this piece.

An account of the universities strike, 31 October 2013

An account by Demogorgon, a left communist clerical worker and member of the International Communist Current, of the run-up to an day of the joint union strike action in UK universities, including a leaflet she/he distributed beforehand. We do not necessarily agree with all of bit but reproduce it for reference and discussion.

I work in Higher Education in a low-grade administrative function. My workforce is ‘represented’ by three unions: Unite, Unison and UCU. On the 31st October, and for the first time ever, all three unions called a sector-wider strike over the issue of pay.

Meet my mates, the bastards

Fancy a challenge? Try keeping your politics intact whilst working with ordinary, apolitical workmates to build an unofficial union. Apolitical workplace organisers have it easy! If, like me, you hold dear a set of political beliefs that can only be fully realised once state and capital are no more, organising with your workmates may prove the most frustrating way of spending your precious time.

I've been here often before; working outside and around established unions, without unions and in the face of unions. I'm an anarcho-syndicalist, though this can all go out the window sometimes when faced with occasional bouts of nearly overwhelming mean spiritedness from my workmates.

Worker sabotage in a financial services call centre

Trolling the bosses

An inspiring first person account of employee sabotage in a pensions call centre, where workers helped customers recoup forgotten pension benefits at the cost of the company in response to bullying management.

Some years ago I worked in a call centre/contact centre as a pension/assurance call handler, with complaints handling as my main work. There were maybe 200 workmates/25 bosses on my floor.

Has PCS been outflanked to the left by a bosses’ union?

A look at two of many attacks faced by workers in HM Revenue & Customs. The contrasting responses from clerical grade union PCS and senior grade union ARC are worth noting, but not for the reason you might guess.

Listing all of the ongoing issues and disputes within HMRC at present would be an essay in itself. Suffice to say, there are a lot. In this post I want to talk about two in particular; the imposition of detrimental new terms and conditions for staff and the quotas in the new performance management system which are aimed at making it easier to sack the “bottom 10%” of staff from the job.