Work

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Peter Waterman writes:


The International Union Merger of November 2006:
Top-Down, Eurocentric and…Invisible?
Peter Waterman


At a conference in Vienna, early November, 2006, there will take place the unification of most of the major international and of certain national trade unions in a new organisation. Unlike previous such launchings, however, this is occurring without any general global upsurge of union protest or expressions of labour self-confidence, and without public knowledge. Although the parties involved talk about the creation of a new union international, the word ‘merger’ seems rather more appropriate. This for two reasons.

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Wobbly Union Gets Support - City Council sides with Industrial Workers of the World in dispute with Starbucks

Virginia Fisher and Nicholas Tabor

From The Harvard Crimson


You may soon be able to get a shot of
“anarcho-syndicalism” with your mocha Frappuccino, if
the Cambridge City Council has its way.

In its meeting last night, the council passed a
resolution supporting the right of Starbucks employees
to organize under the aegis of the Industrial Workers
of the World (IWW), or "Wobblies," a union made famous
in the early 20th century for a brand of radical
socialism known as “anarcho-syndicalism.” The IWW
advocates “aboliton of the wage system” on its
website.

“Starbucks is an international corporation with many
assets, and millions and millions of dollars, [and]
they should refrain from interfering with the workers
right to organize,” the resolution reads.

Labor organizing efforts began in 2004 with the
founding of the Starbucks Workers Union (SWU) in New
York City. The group sought a living wage and
consistent work hours for Starbucks employees. They
also claimed that Starbucks facilities violated local
health codes.

Organizers claim that they have experienced systematic
intimidation from Starbucks management over the past
four years. However, the organizers also take credit
for the wage increases that baristas across the U.S.
and Canada received this September.

Kim Müller writes

Proletarian Management:
Informal Workplace Organization
Kim Müller

The emancipation of the working class can not only be conquered by the working class themselves but the emancipating practices of the working class are of its own making too. So the question about workers autonomy isn’t primarily a political question but a question about organization, and this article deals with concrete and actual workers autonomy and how it exist in Sweden today in the 21st century.

Our main thesis is that the workplace struggles are not first and foremost happening through the mediation of the unions, but through the informal organization that often tend to take place among fellow workers. However, this organization is not something that creates itself; it has to be produced, and can therefore be developed and extended. Our basic assumption has always been that the potentiality of radical anti-capitalist workers’ struggle exist where it is actually taking place. Today this struggle is not carried out under the regime of the unions, but through informal workplace organization, and it is the independent, informal, and immediate character of this struggle that makes it truly radical and anti-capitalist.

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Union for Starbucks Workers Expands to Chicago

First Group of Baristas Outside of
New York City Joins the IWW Starbucks Workers
Union


Chicago, IL- Baristas at Chicago's Logan
Square Starbucks store announced last night
their membership in the IWW Starbucks Workers
Union
, becoming the
first U.S. workers outside of New York City to
declare union membership at the world's largest
coffee chain.

Workers served Starbucks management at the cafe,
located on 2759 W Logan Blvd., with a
declaration of union membership and a set of
demands including a living wage, guaranteed work
hours, reinstatement of IWW baristas fired for
organizing activity, and respect for an
independent voice on the job through union
membership.

New York City IWW Internship Description

Position: Union Organizer

What is The New York City IWW?

The New York City IWW is one of many rejuvenated
branches of the Industrial Workers of the World. The IWW is a grassroots union that places
emphasis on union democracy and direct action. In
NYC we are currently organizing in sectors of the
economy where few unions are daring to go.

The IWW is forging new ground among retail workers.
Under the principles of solidarity unionism we are
organizing workers at Starbucks. Through direct
action we have been able to raise wages, get
consistent schedules, receive guaranteed hours and
address individual grievances. As Starbucks attempts
to silence workers by firing organizers our union
continues to grow.

In Brooklyn the IWW in conjunction with Make the Road
by Walking is currently organizing among undocumented
warehouse workers. Workers who have been receiving
less than the minimum wage are standing up for better
conditions. Although employers have put fierce
opposition towards the union we have made several
gains and are currently in negotiations.

Wendy Babcock writes:


"Sex Work vs Construction Work"

Wendy Babcock

If you ask most sex workers why they do what (who?) they do, most would tell you it's because a blow job is better ithan no job. I disagree. After trying out other types of work I have to say that a blowjob ISN'T better than no job, a blowjob is better than MOST jobs.

Take construction for example. After 9 years of sex work I decided to try my handjob at... OOPS! I mean, hand at construction. I figured it wouldn't be too different than sex work, as both involved getting physical with a bunch of men, neither required a formal education and, most importantly, they both worked on erections. And since I already had a lot of experience banging, cocking, and screwing nuts that it'd be an easy transition.


I remember my first day doing construction. It was also a lot like my first time doing sex work as I had just spent almost the entire shift getting dirty on my hands and knee's while banging studs. Plus, just like after my first time doing sex work I had trouble walking the next day.
Those weren't the only similarities either. With construction, just like with sex work, the client has to pay up front for his job. As well, it's often difficult for us to estimate just how long each job will take. You've also got to have a lot of skill handling large tools, as well as knowledge on the multiple functions of industrial lubricant. As well, not wearing protection could be hazardous to your health. Another thing I noticed was that johns are quite a lot like floor tiles, if you lay them right you can walk all over them.


Of course, sex work and construction work have their differences, like how only one of these professions left me feeling tired, degraded and exploited.
Plus, the hardhat really messed with my hair.

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Starbucks Infamy: IWW Organizier Daniel Gross Terminiated

Starbucks Union


The Starbucks "investigation" of IWW member Daniel
Gross concluded today with his termination after more
than three years of organizing at the company.
Daniel's expression of solidarity at a union picket
line with co-worker and fellow union member, Evan
Winterscheidt, was deemed threatening by Starbucks
despite multiple eyewitnesses who confirm that Daniel
merely asserted to District Manager Allison Marx that
Evan should not be fired. With the termination of IWW
members Daniel Gross, Evan Winterscheidt, Joe Agins
Jr., and Charles Fostrom in less than a year,
Starbucks has demonstrated conclusively its intense
hostility to the right of workers to join a union.

To provide additional cover for the unlawful
termination, Starbucks issued Daniel a blatantly
discriminatory performance review today with negative
ratings for things like, "not communicating partner
morale issues to the Store Manager." The manager
confirmed that morale issues included complaints about
wages and working conditions. Last we checked, an
employer may not mandate an employee to engage in
surveillance of co-worker's protected activities.

Far from breaking our campaign, Starbucks has done the
opposite. The current and former Starbucks workers who
proudly carry the red Industrial Workers of the World
membership card vow to redouble our efforts to achieve
an independent voice on the job. The right to free
association at work is fundamental and not subject to
compromise. But to vindicate our right to union
membership, we need support from you, the working
class; the class that built this society with our
sweat and indeed with our blood.

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IWW Starbucks Union Co-Founder Daniel Gross Facing Termination Pending "Investigation"

We need your solidarity now. Daniel Gross, an
organizer in the IWW Starbucks Workers Union, is being
"investigated" by the company over a protest he and
his co-workers participated in to support another IWW
barista, Evan Winterscheidt. Evan was suspended and
faced termination because of his union activity and
his fellow union members went to protest outside his
store to demand that he not be fired. Pending the
outcome of Starbucks' "investigation" into Daniel's
participation in this act of mutual aid, Starbucks
will decide whether or not to fire him. The decision
could take place any day so please take action now.

Over two years ago, Daniel Gross and a group of
co-workers formed the first union of Starbucks
baristas in the United States. Since then, the
campaign has grown to include union members publicly
fighting for a living wage and respect on the job at
six Starbucks locations. Baristas interested in
joining the IWW Starbucks Workers Union are currently
employed at locations around the country. Despite a
vicious anti-union campaign waged by Starbucks and its
Chairman Howard Schultz, the Wobbly baristas have won
three wage increases, more consistent scheduling, and
have remedied many individual grievances with the
company.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"EuroMayDay's Social Contradictions"
Helsinki Network

The evening before Mayday Helsinki saw EuroMayDay event as a part of Europe-wide day of action.


The event was a breakthrough in Finland. It didn't only successfully attack the proposals to weaken social and labour rights — presented by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) — but it also took initiative to introduce our demand for basic income. Now our demands are discussed from editorials to cafeterias.

First of all our demand for basic income is about less control on people's lives and a more just distribution of income. Basic income would be a remuneration for production outside wage labour and at the same time it would enhance the bargaining position of flexworkers.
One of the conflicts of current economy is that time spent working gets longer while share of GDP spent on wages is getting smaller.

U.S. Conference Of Democratic Workplaces

The next national worker cooperative conference will take place October
13-15, 2006 in New York City. We are delighted to be able to hold the
conference at the Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at
the City University of New York

New York City! Won't that be expensive?

It doesn't have to be. The conference planners are making every effort
to keep the cost of the conference down so that it is accessible to
anyone who wants to come. We have booked a large block of affordable
rooms at the Vanderbilt YMCA and West Side YMCA. We will also offer free
housing at local homes to anyone who wants it. All conference meals will
be provided at an affordable price (we are currently researching
catering options - if you know of a good one, contact the USFWC office).
New York City offers exciting opportunities to connect with new worker
cooperatives, organized labor, community economic development groups,
international movements and presenters. We'll do everything we can to
make it easy to get to and from the city and the conference site. Look
for housing and ride boards online this summer.

What's this conference about?

We're still planning it, of course, but we can tell you a few things for
sure. The conference will offer a mix of workshops on everything from
how to start a worker co-op to personnel policies to franchising and
growth to the state of the economy and how it affects worker
cooperatives. We're also planning a special track of workshops focused
on Building Community Wealth, which will explore how we can strengthen
worker co-ops, as a community-based model of ownership, to address
social and economic inequities. This conference will also be the first
official meeting of the members of the U.S. Federation, at which the
Federation will hold elections, form working groups, and determine our
next steps.

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