DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

Workplace blogging

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kim Müller
Offline
Joined: 13-12-07
Apr 14 2009 13:23
Workplace blogging

There is a few Swedish bloggers that write about the place the work in, and the experiences they do there. And also try to analyze the struggle against the bosses and management and against wage slavery in general. Since one of these blogs, Postverket (more or less "the postal service") wrote an excellent post about it, I will publish their post and hopefully that could inspire people and also give me some links to similar blogs in English. That would be appreciated.

A few words about the Postal Service

We work together. We take care of the machines, collect the mail, sort the letters. We work hard and obey. But we think and we talk with each other, discuss, laugh and grieve. We slow down the pace of work, we refuse operations of work and we increase crew. We do that directly without asking. Sometimes we have talked about it for several days and sometimes we just do it. “Nah, shit. Let's take it easy. No more of this fucking stress!”. Sometimes you think that there must be something more than this? What can we do? What is possible? Together we create experiences and goals.

The postal service is one way in which to take discussion and experiences from the sorting compartments and the lunch room out of the Post Office. And then back to the Post Office. We want to circulate our and our comrades' experiences from working and not working. We extend our hands to other hands, take part of others' problems and experiences.

At the Postal Service we analyse work, we describe our problems as we see them, we talk about what decides the pace of work, the length of breaks or whether sick days are our or the Post office's problem.
---

I have circulated the blog a bit. Mainly just talking about it around the coffee table at work. To the people I hang out with at work.

Several small inspired, more or less obvious, effects have come as a result of the blog. Work mates that I have made aware of the blog tell and discuss it with others. Some work mates that I used to educate in discussions about “how things work” have since read the same things as I and become significantly more active, and have “read” and “know” things that I used to retell. They participate in discussion with more self-esteem. Some of them very inspired: “we could that as well”, and discussions about how things will happen on both a small and large scale. The blog has opened up for more or less direct discussions about our situation. The funny thing is also that I used to be the one to start these discussions, but now it is work mates that start them. Sometimes by referring to the blog.

A work mate who used to be scared of not doing what the bosses say (for example, returned early from breaks and did not dare to report in sick – two rather remarkable things at the terminal) reads the blog thoroughly and have sometimes held small speeches and accompanying actions over breaks and work pace. He has really changed the last few months, and I suspect that the blog has been a small contribution to this change.

So. No revolution, but small inspired steps. Just thought I should convey this.
---

We laugh, grieve, read, think and discuss. We are forced to work with each other, but we learn to know each other, we support each other. Our confidence increases, backs straighten. Isolated people meet, groups meet each other. Bosses do not dare to manage, we have fun at the expense of work, we live a little at work. We develop our strengths, we know our power.

The blog is an almost insignificant detail. An attempt to sharpen our knives. What is most important is our community. We work hard together, we have fun together, we struggle together. Long live life! To hell with the Post Office!

Link to the blog (who only have material in Swedish):
http://postverk.blogspot.com

Some english material at Polkagrisar:
http://www.polkagris.nu/?page_id=33

Also: Thanks to Khawaga for translating.

There is a few workplace reports in English at the Kämpa tillsammans! site:
http://kampatillsammans.wordpress.com/

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Apr 14 2009 18:51

This is a good idea. The question is how to do this and get a wide readership/contributors at your workplace, while remaining anonymous enough that you don't get in trouble for it from management.

I'm reading this at work, hahaha.

Our group has recently been contacted by some postal workers who are in a fairly difficult situation (UPS) - one has been vicitimised and is in danger of being fired for being a good shop steward, while the union is very complacent. There is a lot of discontent at the depot but most of the workers are casual youths who will only stay there a few months and have no interest in fighting back.

The question is what kind of small actions can be encouraged - slowdowns, circulation of leaflets informing workers of their legal rights (which are often abused) - while remaining untraceable/anonymous due to the precarious employment situation of the most militant workers (at lesat to begin with) - what actions would be useful in building resistance and a network of workers able to defend against firings, vicitimisation and work speed up by the management?

omar
Offline
Joined: 23-10-06
Apr 15 2009 03:02

i think workplace blogging is really cool and very important.

we just recently used twitter to cover an industrial dispute at a call centre. twitter.com/uniteunion

quint's picture
quint
Offline
Joined: 20-12-05
Apr 15 2009 16:19

I love these post workplace blogs. I think they're a good way of trying to build up a culture of resistance in a workplace. They are a strategy that is really aimed toward large workplaces. If I'm not mistaken, the Swedish Post Office has a tens of thousands of employees. The workplace doesn't need to have that many to keep you anonymous, but it's got to be a decent size. Groups like SeaSol (which I also love) are basically the opposite. It is a strategy that works best for smaller workplaces. A huge company isn't really going to care if 30 people protest it. A small business or small landlord will. Anyway... I think the two strategies go well together, and I'd love to see them more linked.

quint's picture
quint
Offline
Joined: 20-12-05
Apr 15 2009 16:23

And about getting a wide readership. These folks have simple stickers that have the Post Office's logo on it and it says "Another shitty day at the post office." with a link to the blog, and they put them up around town, especially on post office boxes.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Apr 15 2009 20:37

I like the idea of these. And for some workplaces they could be great. Something like the Post Office where you have tens of thousands of people all doing the same job.

However, for somewhere like where I work, a council, there are so many hundreds of different types of job, from street cleaners to social workers to dinner ladies to lawyers that I'm not really sure how it could work. Unless in quite a general kind of way, like the way a local union blog might work...

Kim Müller
Offline
Joined: 13-12-07
Apr 16 2009 14:22

First some thing that needs to be clarified - among the "workplace bloggers" the post-gang stands out for their continuity and collectiveness, I also recon that is because the nature of the company makes it a bit easier to keep a blog going and at the same time being anonymous and also spreading the word about the blog. (and yes, Posten have 30 000 employees).

Me and some other also blog about our workplaces but we are not open about what company we work for and my fellow workmates don´t know about it. The lesson about being careful have been learned by people losing their jobs and I am not planing on losing mine right now, so this kind of blogging is more in general "a cook somewhere in Sweden, blogging about the general shit that happens on a lot of hotels and restaurants". Its a bit about just spreading opinions and sharing experience about struggles that goes on, but in a way its also a form of "continuing militant investigation", I think its a good way to get a grip on management strategy and see in what direction a certain industry is going. For example, I try to analyze a newish management strategy called "corporate storytelling" and others give examples from their own workplaces and we can together see what could be seen as a general turn and what perhaps is the whim of a certain boss. This helps a bit to paint a bigger picture then what is visible for me as an individual worker.

The Direct action case groups seems also very interesting, and in some way they are similar to how SAC (the anarcho-syndicalist union) work and also seem to run into the same kind of trouble, for example that it is hard to support and ongoing struggle and not just someone who is about to quit. I am a bit tempted to, for example, write a leaflet directed to my workmates which stuff I can´t really say openly at work, and get some comrades to hand them out.

There is some rather interesting examples of "not-political" work place blogs that have turned more political also, for example there have recently started a blog called "the customer is not always right" that challenges the work ethics at service jobs with examples of shitty and stupid customers.

888 - Damn, there is a very good workplace report in Swedish by a Kämpa Tillsammans! member about a successful fight at a UnderPaid Slavery terminal, but it isn´t translated yet. Anyway - I would say that anything that can build community and solidarity within the workforce is very good. Take the small fights first, win them and the group will grow stronger.

When it comes to internet and class struggle, I found this article interesting:

My Job Sucks: Counter-Institutional Websites as Locations for Organizational Member Voice, Dissent, and Resistance
http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/1/3/8/1/pages13813/p13813-1.php

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Apr 16 2009 23:03
Quote:
888 - Damn, there is a very good workplace report in Swedish by a Kämpa Tillsammans! member about a successful fight at a UnderPaid Slavery terminal, but it isn´t translated yet.

Is this J. Forsberg's (?) article (Arbetsorganisering och arbetarautonomi i terminal söndag). It's still a translation project of mine, albeit one that I seem to be low on my list of priorities. It's really an excellent article.

Kim Müller
Offline
Joined: 13-12-07
Apr 17 2009 16:33

Yeah, it is that article. Its bloody long so it is not so odd that it takes time. Since it is divided in six chapthers, one possibility might be to publish a chapther a time.