Day 1 and 2 – Campaign membership: 2 Number of organizers: 2
You and your fellow branch members attend an IWW basic organizer training, some of us like to call it the “Build the Committee” training, others call it the “101″ training.
Day 5 – You hold a small group meeting to pick a target. You do some preparation before the meeting, put your thoughts in writing and bring them to the meeting. If you can’t geta group together, you write up a plan on your own and you call someone in the branch and outside the branch to talk it over. (If the plan is to organize your own workplace you can skip to day 15, though you should still have the discussions with the branch. Also, you should always have a partner to organize with if at all possible. Flying solo as an organizer is a bad idea.) You make a plan to track the necessary information – contact sheets, spreadsheets/database, file cabinet, binder, whatever works for you.
Day 7 – You email the to IWW email list, write a post on the members only web forums, call your GEB contact, and call your ODB contact to find out who else in the IWW works in or is organizing in this industry/company
Day 14 – You hold an open meeting with anyone from branch who wants to attend. You present your plan and target. All of you have a discussion about needed roles and assign tasks. People aren’t as enthusiastic as you had hoped, but you still feel pretty fired up.
Day 15 through 45 – You do research about your target online. You ask the people listed under Day 7 to help you with this. You also gathering contacts and social mapping as we talked about in the Organizer Training. You also focus on relationship building at work. You take good notes.
Day 46 – You have a complete or almost complete contact list. You’ve talked to people outside your branch and people in your branch. You begin one on one meetings with your coworkers. You’re a serious organizer, so you aim to do at least 3 conversations per week. You’re a realist, so you expect to succeed in 1/3 of these. You decide to do these for the next 10 weeks or until you have a group of at least 10 people who are willing to attend an organizer training. You think to yourself, if people are unwilling to attend a 2 day training then you should not trust them with your and your co-workers’ jobs.
Day 67 – Campaign membership: 5 Number of organizers: 2
You hold a group new member orientation to the IWW for the people in the campaign who have joined up. You invite people from the branch to attend as well. Only some of them do. This annoys you. A few co-workers don’t show up, this hurts your feelings. Those of you who are there have an awesome conversation about work and IWW vision. This excited you. Some new members can’t attend the orientation as a group so you make a plan to get them oriented individually. You contact your GEB rep, ODB rep, and someone from the OTC to help you with orientation materials and curriculum, because your branch doesn’t already have this stuff.
Day 98 – Campaign membership: 8 Number of organizers: 2
You hold another new member orientation. You invite people who have already been to one to attend and help facilitate discussion. Some new members can’t attend the orientation as a group so you make a plan to get them oriented individually.
Day 116 and 117 - Sympathetic but inactive supporters: 20 Campaign membership: 12
Number of organizers: 2 Number of delegates: 1 Officers: Treasurer
You host another organizer training. Some people have scheduling difficulties such as childcare needs, so your branch pays for childcare for them so they can attend. Some people have scheduling difficulties that you can’t get around, like medical appointments, so you make a plan to catch them up on the content as best as you can. You decide to hold a 4 hour session later that focuses on A-E-I-O-U like the first part of the training. You ask the Organizer Training Committee and the Organizing Department Board to help you with this. They do. The training ends with a session where you create your plan to win, including immediate next steps and a timeline for the next piece of your campaign’s plan. Your plan is awesome. You aim to have a committee equal to 15% of the total workforce at your target, and supporters equal to 65%. You don’t get to cover all the details of how to get there so you set a date for a follow up meeting in two week’s time. At this meeting you do social mapping, among other things, and push people to use the training. You emphasize talking to key workplace leaders and build a list of them by name/identifying information (“the one on nights who wears the Sox hat”). You know that workplace leaders are harder to move. You expect to succeed 1/5 of the time. Talk to all the identified leaders first before repeating a conversation with a leader who says no or isn’t sure.
You identify one member of the organizing committee who is very organized personally, this person becomes your first delegate. You convince that person to start thinking about money. You start to get other members of the organizing committee to turn in receipts to the delegate. You have the delegate turn the receipts into the branch treasurer. You make sure they report at every meeting on the financial state of the organizing drive – giving a report on the bank balance, and an account of how much dues was taken in and expenses.
*From this point on you will begin to act like the experienced lead organizer who supports and pushes your coworker organizers. You also set a goal of making each of your campaign’s key wobbly organizers train two or three more people to be committed and capable wobbly organizers just like yourselves. You use the checklists that accompany this timeline, and you give out copies of this pamphlet. You set up follow conversations with people to see what they thought of the pamphlet.
Day 118 – You begin to debrief individually with everyone who attended the training. You begin one on ones with workplace leaders. Everyone at the training begins to have 3 conversations per week. With leaders, you expect 1/5 of these conversations to succeed. Since there are other areas of the workplace where you don’t have leaders identified, you begin outreach to other workers in these areas, in order to identify leaders. You push everyone to do these conversations. You really expect only half of the people to do so, but it still bothers you that not everyone does this. You begin to have short role plays at your committee meetings as part of reportbacks on how the one on ones are going.
*You make your own personal plan on how you will individually train the workplace leaders on organizing and how you will help them build relationships to other IWW members. You make this a central piece of your own work.
Day 138 - Sympathetic but inactive supporters: 30 Campaign membership: 22
Number of organizers: 5 Leaders involved: 2 Number of Delegates: 2 Officers: Treasurer, Secretary
The core organizers in the campaign are beginning to get tired. You hold a committee meeting to discuss how the individual conversations are going. You layout a plan to win including a campaign timeline. A few people come to the meeting who are not doing the individual conversations. Aa few people who are doing at least some individual conversations don’t come. This bothers you, but you’re fired up to see so many people working on the campaign. At this meeting you discuss difficulties people are having in their conversations with co-workers and brainstorm solutions. You set goals for continuing conversations.
You start spreading paperwork around in order to take administrative workload off of organizers. Your group elects another delegate to collect dues. The group decides to turn the previous delegate into the campaign treasurer. The group gets its own bank account and gives both delegates signing authority on the account. The new delegate becomes a campaign secretary, the secretary will take care of reporting to the branch on the progress of the campaign and fielding any questions from people not directly in the campaign. Both officers agree to report every month, with the campaign secretary reporting on membership and communications from people and groups outside the campaign and the treasurer continuing financial reports.
Day 152 - Sympathetic but inactive supporters: 35 Campaign membership: 30
Number of organizers: 4 Leaders involved: 4 Number of Delegates: 2
Officers: Treasurer, Secretary
Your original core co-organizers burns out and quietly leaves campaign. If your branch is functioning well and reaches out to them, they stay around. If the branch is not functioning well, they drop out and possibly quit the union. Your campaign is at a big point now! After about five months, you’re having a meeting to plan your first action. You talked to people around the union and did a lot of thought ahead of time so you arrive with a plan. You wanted to make sure, in case the group didn’t have any ideas or any good ideas but you sill engage everyone in a group brainstorm and discussion to plan together. The plan that the group comes up with is awesome. Your doing a march on the boss. The group lays out roles and people take assignments. You all check in to see who is doing their one on one conversations. You help anyone who is struggling, by having a role play and brainstorming.
Day 154 – You check in that everyone did their part for the action
Day 155 – Action. You march on the boss. You scare the hell out of the boss. It’s awesome.
Day 157 – You hold a meeting to respond to management’s response to the action, if
Day 166 - Sympathetic but inactive supporters: 50 Campaign membership: 35
Number of organizers: 5 Leaders involved: 5 Number of Delegates: 3 Officers: Treasurer, Secretary
Your new organizers begin to get tired. One campaign member (preferably a workplace leader) that you have been working with begins to act like an organizer. The group elects one more delegate. You make a motion at the branch meeting to make sure the branch is training new delegates in how to report.
You have a big group meeting with everyone who is involved in the campaign. You hype your victories, discuss work issues to agitate people, assess campaign and lay out social map so far, lay out the plan to win, set goals, give assignments, and set deadlines. You check in to see who is doing their one on one conversations. You help anyone who is struggling, by having a role play and brainstorming. All of you continue conversations with co-workers.
Day 168 – You hold a new member orientation to the IWW for the people in the campaign who have joined up. You get the branch to do this, not the organizer(s). The organizers handle turnout, not running the orientation or getting a space etc. You set a date or set the wheels in motion to set a date. You start working on turnout as soon as date and time and place are figured out.
Day 180 - Sympathetic but inactive supporters: 55 Campaign membership: 40
Number of organizers: 3 Leaders involved: 7 Number of Delegates: 3
Officers: Treasurer, Secretary
Two of the new organizers burn out and quietly leave campaign. If the branch is functioning well, they have had an IWW orientation and people in the branch reach out to them, they stay around. If the branch is not functioning well, they drop out and possibly quit the union.
You hold a committee meeting. The committee plans a shorter organizer training focusing on key skills, to increase the number of organizers involved. (Either one 4 hour session or two 2 hour sessions.) You also have each organizer pick two coworkers to target to teach how to organize on an individual basis by involving them in small group conversation, debriefing, and covering the basics. You prioritize turning workplace leaders into organizers. The group also elects two of the campaign’s experienced organizers to attend the upcoming union-wide Training for Trainers, so the campaign can do better at trainings. You’re one of the people elected. Then the meeting shifts gears. You discuss how the individual conversations are going and how to do turn out for the shorter organizer training. A few people are at the meeting who are not doing the individual conversation. A few people who are doing at least some individual conversations don’t come to the meeting
Day 194 – Shorter training
*From this point on the organizers who have been around will begin to act like the experienced lead organizer who supports and pushes their coworker organizers. You will need to help them with this role and push them to really do it.
Day 195 - Sympathetic but inactive supporters: 60 Campaign membership: 45
Number of organizers: 8 Leaders involved: 10 Number of Delegates: 4
Officers: Treasurer, Secretary
You begin to debrief with everyone who was at the training. You celebrate victories, agitate on issues, push the plan to win. Everyone continues to talk with coworkers. The group elects one more delegate, preferably from your pool of good organizers. You submit the bylaws you have been working on with a membership list put together by the secretary and the delegates to General Headquarters and petition for an Industrial Union Branch charter. Once you have this charter you need to hold a meeting and brainstorm what is going to be handled by the GMB and what is going to be handled by the Industrial Union Branch. Ideally the GMB handles solidarity work with other unions and allied causes, new member orientation, and organizer training. The IUB handles building the campaign, keeping members caught up on their dues and social and educational events for workers in the industry.
You talk to the Organizer Training Committee schedule a version of the OTC’s Committee In Action advanced training, also known as the “Organizing 102″ training. You schedule an IUB strategy and planning retreat for two weeks after that training.
From a letter I wrote to a
From a letter I wrote to a Fellow Worker in Australia:
In the IWW, the tradition has been to organise the worker, not the job. So, the focus would be on getting your co-workers to understand that they have class interests in common with each other and opposed to Queensland Rail. It's not that difficult to do as you have the capitalist propaganda machine on your side what with all the talk about how we live in a 'market economy' and how important the 'markets' are and so on and on about 'markets'. To have markets, you have to have buyers and sellers and in the labour market, workers are sellers of their skills and time. As sellers, we want to get the highest price possible for our skills and time and our employers want to buy our skills and time for the lowest price they can. This price is our wages. Our working conditions can also add to the price which the employer buys our time for. So, like hagglers in the marketplace, we argue over prices/wages and have conflicting class interests as all buyers and sellers have conflicting interests.
The key here is that because of the capitalist propaganda machine, most workers don't understand these basic facts of the market when it comes to their own sale. Instead, we are taught to think in terms of 'my company', as if we our interests were the same as the boss. The same mind trick applies to nationalism, were we are told we are all part of one big nation. In other words, we are taught that we have interests in common with the employing class when they tell us to go to war for them or not to be greedy when asking for higher wages. Instead, we are expected to do our part for our companies and our nation by humbly asking for a 'fair day's wage for a fair day's work'.
The RTBU's leaders will undoubtedly be full of workers who are tied to this ideology that workers and employers have interests in common and that the conflict between them is merely a question of 'fairness'. In fact, that's precisely what ideologically loaded terms like 'Fair Work Australia' and 'Work Choices' are supposed to stir in the minds of all patriotic Australian workers. The RTBU as an employer itself, will be interested in maintaining their business relationship with the political State and Queensland Rail. That business relationship is based on the RTBU behaving in a 'responsible manner', which means following all the rules the business class has set down through the State or face the dreaded 'de-certification'
If you can get your fellow workers to grasp these fundamental points, you can begin to organise a class conscious union, a union of workers who know their class interests. If these workers are in the the business union, they'll be a stronger voice, if they're aware of the social relationships they have with their employers' businesses. From there, it's a matter of democratically deciding amongst yourselves what to do on the job to promote your class interests.
I've attached our IWW organising leaflet. You might distribute it to co-workers who seem sympathetic to what you're saying to them, to kick start further conversations. My opinion is that only you can decide whether other workers are ready to take steps for themselves or whether they're still mired in merely taking the shit they're being given to eat.
I've also got a stock of $2 pamphlets which you might find useful. One is titled "Cutting through the Crap" and the other is full of Aussie Wobs' poetry and song from throughout the decades. "Cutting through the Crap" (aka 'Value, Price and Profit') was read and mutually studied by Wobs even back to the beginnings of our union in order to get a grasp of how and why it is that labour is entitled to all it creates. If at some time you think either pamphlets would be useful, let me know.