Wednesday, January 24, 2007

[olympiaworkers] Support IWW Workers Fired and Locked Out in New York

Fellow Workers and Friends,

We write to you in need of solidarity of the financial kind. Please make a
donation to support illegally locked out workers. Your donation will help
workers fight for better lives for themselves and their
families, against a viciously anti-union and anti-worker boss.

Over the last year and half, food distribution warehouse workers in New
York City have organized a union with the IWW. The campaign has met with
resounding success: workers have organized in five different warehouses,
several of which have been certified in National Labor Relations Board
(NLRB) elections, they have forced their bosses towards full compliance
with wage and hour laws, and they have won several major wage and hour
violation cases while still other complaints totaling more than $100,000
have been filed with the Department of Labor. Before they organized with
the IWW workers were systematically denied minimum wage, threatened, and
kept in deplorable conditions.

Lester Wen, owner of the restaurant wholesaler EZ-Supply, refused to
bargain in good faith after workers won an NLRB union election almost a
year ago. In response, the union has put pressure on EZ-Supply by
targeting its customers' restaurants­ and convincing them to switch to
other companies. At the end of November, the union and Mr. Wen's lawyer
reached a tentative agreement on a landmark contract, with workers winning
wage increases, a grievance procedure, paid time off, and much more.

On December 26, 2006, in a shockingly crass maneuver, EZ Supply management
reneged on the agreement reached in negotiations and illegally threatened
workers regarding their immigration status. In response, workers went on
strike, and returned to work with the understanding that legal action
would be taken.

As a result of their successes, workers have met escalating employer
opposition. This week owners from four different warehouses illegally
threatened to call immigration or terminate union workers due to their
immigration status in clear retaliation for the workers' union activities.

While this week's coordinated threats by warehouse owners regarding
workers' immigration status may be their trump card, it represents only
the latest in a series of unsavory maneuvers designed to hamper the union

There are fifty workers presently who have been fired and are out
leafletting because of this management assualt. They desperately need our
solidarity to sustain the organizing, win their jobs back, and maintain
the standards they've brought to the industry. We're asking you to make a
contribution to our lockout fund, and help these workers continue their
struggle for justice.

Thank you for your support.

Checks are to be made out to: IWW IU 460

Send checks to:
PO Box 7430, JAF Station,
New York, NY 10116

More information on the workers:

[olympiaworkers] Labor Meeting

There will be an Olympia labor strategy session Thursday February 8 at 7pm
at Media Island (816 Adams Street - near the public library).

It's open to all labor activists and organizers and the purpose of it is
to come up with a concrete plan of action for labor education, outreach,
organizing and unionizing efforts.

Spread the word.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

[olympiaworkers] IWW training and concert this weekend (reminder)

Just a reminder. A location HAS been confirmed for the training.


at Evergreen State College – Sem2 E1107

Sat. Jan 20th – 10am – 5pm
Sun. Jan 21st – 10am – 3pm

(Meet both days at 9am for breakfast.)

* how to organize your workplace
* solidarity unionism
* workplace democracy
* labor law
* industrial workers of the world (IWW)

A training free and open to all workers.
Materials and food will be provided.

for more info. contact
or call (360) 943-5344


(A benefit show for the "Flag 3" arrested in Seattle. Flag 3 = SDSers,
labor, anti-war and media activists Ryan Tompkins, Jake Erwin and Brendan
Maslauskas Dunn.)

Sat. Jan 20th
Doors open at 8:00pm. Show is 9pm-12 midnight.

at The Eagle's Hall
4th Ave E. & Plum


One Lady Band
music by Brendan Phillips
Sugar in the Gourd
The Hail Seizures
and more!

$5 - $10 Admission (sliding scale)

~~brought to you by the Industrial Workers of the World ~~

contact for more info.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

[olympiaworkers] Union Workers Under Attack in Foodstuffs Industry!

11 January 2007 more info at

Dear Friend of Labor:

Bosses in the foodstuffs industry in New York City are staging a concerted
attack against organized workers in an attempt to crush union organizing.
In the past two weeks, two shops have fired all of their union workers,
and others are likely to do the same in a very short time. This is war,
Dear Friend, and we need every man and woman who cares about justice and
democracy in the workplace to help in the defense of labor.

Since late 2005, the I. W. W. has been organizing workers in small
foodstuffs warehouses that serve the New York restaurant industry. Before
they organized, these workers, mostly immigrants from Latin America and
East Asia, were paid poverty wages, usually well below the legal minimum,
and worked fifty to seventy hours a week without overtime pay. Because
many do not have legal status, it was an act of tremendous courage for
these workers to stand up for themselves and their fellow workers. By
organizing with a militant, worker-run labor organization, and with the
help of the wider labor community, the foodstuffs workers have been able
to force their bosses to obey wage-and-hour laws; they have won
wage-raises above the legal minimum; they have won vacations, sick-leave,
and paid holidays, which most of them never had before. Most important,
they have won dignity and respect on the job.

Bosses don't like having to treat workers like human beings, so they're
fighting back. They have money and organization behind them, so we need
money and organization to win this struggle. We're appealing to you to

Here are some things you can do to help us:
. Send money. We need to protect more than twenty workers and their
families from hunger and eviction. You can send checks, made out to "IWW
NYC GMB" to P. O. Box 7430, J. A. F. Station, New York, NY 10116; or you
can give on-line through PayPal by making a payment to iww-nyc [at] at You can also sign up on PayPal for a monthly, automatic
payment in any amount that's manageable for you.
. Get your union to support us. Call me to find out where our pickets are
and how union workers can help.
. Write letters. Our web site at has a list of people
to contact.
. Call the bosses. Our web site tells you how.
. Talk to management at the restaurants that trade with these bosses.
Again, please see the web site.

If you don't have access to the internet, please call me at the number
below to learn more. If you have other ideas for helping, please call or
email me.

The I. W. W.'s treasury is "in the members' pockets". We depend on our
membership and the labor community, rather than big reserves of money, to
support workers in need. Please do all you can to help. Thank you very

Yours for Industrial Freedom,

J. D. Crutchfield

Industrial Workers of the World · New York City General Membership Branch
J. D. Crutchfield, Treasurer
646-373-1166 * P.O

Thursday, January 04, 2007

[olympiaworkers] IWW - training and concert!!

Two announcements regarding the IWW:

1. Workplace Organizing Training:

There will be a workplace organizing training held at The Evergreen State
College in Olympia, WA Sat Jan 20th and Sun Jan 21st. This training is
being set up through the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The
training starts both days at 10am, but people can meet as early as 9am at
Red Square for free breakfast both days. Signs will be posted in Red
Square to further direct people where the training will actually take
place. The training lasts until 5pm on the 20th and until 3pm on the 21st.
Free lunch and materials will be provided. Two seasoned labor organizers
from Portland and San Francisco will be giving the training.

some topics that will be covered:

* how to organize your workplace
* solidarity unionism
* workplace democracy
* labor law
* industrial workers of the world (IWW)

2. Wobbly Fest 2007:

An injury to one is an injury to all!
(A benefit show for the "Flag 3" arrested in Seattle.)

Sat. Jan 20th, 2007
Doors open at 8:00pm. Show is 9pm-12 midnight.

at The Eagle's Hall


One Lady Band
music by Brendan Phillips
Sugar in the Gourd
The Hail Seizures
and more!

$5 - $10 Admission (sliding scale)

for more info. or people needing a place to crash, directions, etc.

(Please contact if you plan on attending)

[olympiaworkers] SEIU and Immigration

SEIU Members Push Their Union to Change Its Position on Immigration
No Worker is Illegal

Members of the Service Employees (SEIU) in Northern California are
demanding just immigration reform. That's not too surprising. For the past
two decades, SEIU has been one of organized labor's strongest advocates
for immigrant rights.

This campaign, however, pits SEIU members not against anti-immigrant
employers or politicians, but against their union's top officials. Dubbing
their campaign, "No Worker is Illegal," members of SEIU throughout
California are demanding that their union's leaders retract their support
of immigration reform legislation like the recent Hegel-Martinez and
McCain-Kennedy bills.

McCain-Kennedy, which will likely be the model for any immigration reform
bill proposed by the incoming, Democratically-controlled Congress, would
have established a federal "guest worker" program, under which employers
could hire immigrant workers on a temporary basis without providing them a
guaranteed path to citizenship.
McCain-Kennedy would have also further militarized the U.S.-Mexico border
and leveled sanctions against employers who hire undocumented immigrants.


Renee Saucedo, a member of SEIU Local 790 in San Francisco and a leader of
the "No Worker is Illegal" campaign, says that these provisions could have
disastrous consequences for immigrant workers and SEIU. She asks, "How are
we supposed to organize workplaces with these kind of laws?

"[Guest worker] programs make immigrants more vulnerable and less likely
to take the risks that go along with joining a unionEmployer sanctions can
lead to discrimination, since some employers will try to avoid hiring
immigrants altogether-or anyone who looks or talks like them."

Frustrated with their international's position, members of Local 790 began
reaching out to members of other SEIU locals in California earlier this
According to Local 790 member Brian Cruz, members of Locals 87, 535, 949,
and United Healthcare

Workers-West (a statewide health care workers local) became interested in
building a campaign.

On October 12, SEIU members and staff from these locals got together and
decided they would push the SEIU International Executive Board to address
immigration reform at its January 2007 meeting. Their first task was to
get the international's attention.


Luckily, SEIU International President Andy Stern was in the San Francisco
area promoting his new book, A Country that Works. Saucedo and a few
allies attended one of Stern's readings and persuaded him to meet with

Saucedo remembers, "We explained to him that this was not just San
Francisco, that [opposition to McCain-Kennedy] was a widespread sentiment.
He gave us different responses, ranging from 'Kennedy-McCain was the only
viable bill' to 'the SEIU membership is still pretty conservative on this

"We told him that as a union, we should never be supporting anything that
hurts workers-like guest worker, employer sanctions."

According to Saucedo, Stern next sent out SEIU's head immigration policy
person, Cuc Vu, to meet with the "No Worker is Illegal" folks. Says
Saucedo, "We had a five hour meeting with her. She came with the
Washington, D.C. lobbying perspectivemade a lot of the same arguments as

SEIU's international office did not respond to multiple calls for comment.
Saucedo doesn't find Stern and Vu's arguments convincing. She notes that
SEIU took a strong position against the war in Iraq even though there are
certainly "sections of the union that were for the war. We want the same
thing on immigration."

More than a fear of backlash, Local 790 member Brian Cruz thinks the
primary reason the SEIU international is supporting guest worker is that
"SEIU sees building partnerships with employers as the way to build the

"It's the way Andy Stern spells it out in his book. He calls it 'Team
U.S.A., workers and corporations working hand in hand against competitors
around the world.'"

Cruz notes that as recently as 1999, "SEIU was a big part of the push to
support amnesty for all immigrant workers. When guest worker started
coming out, [SEIU Vice President] Eliseo Medina came out against it.

"Now," Cruz continues, "Medina's calling guest worker 'a step in the right
direction.'" Cruz believes that beneath the partnership strategy, "There's
a lot of skepticism about the immigrant movement. The feeling is, they
don't believe we can build a strong movement, so we'd better take the best
the politicians have to offer."


For now, No Worker is Illegal plans to pressure the executive board during
the lead-up to its January meeting. Whatever happens, Cruz says that SEIU
members will continue to push for a general amnesty for immigrants.

As long as there are undocumented workers, says Cruz, "employers will use
them as a wedge to thwart any organizing. Trying to build a fair
compromise around guest worker is pie-in-the-sky."

William Johnson is co-editor of Labor Notes.

For more information about the No Worker is Illegal Campaign, email or go to