National Labour Relations Board Rules in Favour of Voodoo Doughnuts Workers

IWW-NARA

On October 6, 2021 NLRB found merit in and are reaching a settlement to bring back Voodoo Doughnut staff who were fired during a strike in June of 2021

Portland, OR — On October 6th, 2021, Doughnut Workers United-IWW (DWU) received word from the National Labor Relations Board that 7 of the 9 striking workers who were terminated will have their jobs reinstated with back pay upon the conclusion of our most recent Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Voodoo Doughnut. DWU was informed that two ULPs have settled in the union’s favour. These ULPs include charges concerning topics of managerial surveillance, the posting of union information in communal work spaces, workers entering the building off the clock, as well as the recall of seven of the nine terminated workers who were fired for going on a health and safety strike around the growing concerns of temperatures inside the restaurant, knowingly in direct violation of the national labor law.

In June of 2021, twelve workers went on strike due to

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Ben Fletcher, Wobbly Organiser

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

In the early twentieth century, the majority of US unions excluded Black and Asian workers. The IWW welcomed Black and Asian workers warmly with an emphasis on class solidarity with their motto “An injury to one is an injury to all”. Ben Fletcher is of one of the greatest working class heroes in American history.

Local 8 dock workers

Ben was an amazing organiser who was well loved by his comrades. Fletcher helped found and lead Local 8 of the IWW Marines Transport Workers Industrial Union. The Local 8 organised the city’s longshoremen in Philadelphia and was the largest and most powerful IWW branch in the mid-Atlantic. This branch was without doubt the most powerful interracial union of its era: members took a stand against all forms of xenophobia and exclusion.

"Notice! Seamen and longshoremen" poster

Ben played a pivotal role in the decade long campaign in Philadelphia’s waterfront. The majority of his writing and speeches came in this period. He was an important figure within the union as he was a part of a racially diverse leadership. Ben was a wobbly through and through – he was unapologetic and a radical who envisioned a postcapitalist revolutionary society. However his vision did not stop him from engaging in the reform struggle. The wobblies’ antiracist component of their radical vision was central to the day to day union that Fletcher advanced.

“I have been identified with the Labor Movement—twenty years, and I am at a safe distance from forty yet. Nineteen of those years have been spent in the ranks of the IWW and this long ago I have come to know that, the Industrial Unionism as proposed and practiced  by the IWW is all sufficient for the teeming millions who must labor for others in order to stay on this planet, and more, it is the economic vehicle that will enable the Negro Workers to burst every bond of Racial Prejudice, Industrial and political inequalities  and social ostracism.” –Ben Fletcher

This article is part of a series of posts on Black History Month.

 

The Factories, The Fields, and the Firearms to Defend Them.

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

“The working class is able, once it so desires, to take control of industry and thus establish a much more efficient and satisfactory society .”

(from the pamphlet: “One Big Union,“ by The Industrial Workers of the World)

You, me and our entire class of society’s underprivileged who produces everything with very little or nothing at all to show for it have – once effectively organized – the potential within us to free ourselves from the stresses that come with the struggle for survival of material needs.

While the study below is based on research conducted in 2020, the final analysis will be found to resonate up to the hour the bell of the social revolution is sounded. It’s of the deepest importance for the masses – the have-nots who’ve been no strangers to struggling since we were born – to firmly grasp the magnificence of our Worth, and our potential and power. Our potential for freeing ourselves from being taken advantage of by the government system is overwhelmingly greater than that of the government system taking advantage of us all!

This has been a very fortunate truth for the less-fortunate of the world ever since societies have allowed governments to exist, and our social contract with the State has proven to be nothing less than a taxing, hostile machine worth defying and reducing to irreparable ashes.

The more the righteous seeds of becoming free from social & economic oppression be planted richly in the minds of the poor and oppressed who are governed, the greater the potential becomes to overthrowing the government with overwhelming resistance; especially when the rational alternative of governing ourselves (exercising autonomy) is given the necessary attention it deserves deep in the roots of our ethical nature.

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people, and the few, who make up the employing class have all the good things in life.”

– From the Preamble to The IWW Constitution.

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E-mail gal-dem: Stop using kickstarter.

The kickstarter US internet funding company is notorious for its anti-union attitude and open hostility to Working Class self-organisation, so we are dismayed to find that the gal-dem media outlet has gone into partnership with it.

With its magazine format, gal-dem combines popular culture and other ephemera with some incisive political, social and historical content.

The Kickstarter United union was initially formed not just to haggle over wages but to hold the company to account over its politics, in particular failure to support an anti-Nazi publication and poor handling of sexual harassment.

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/kickstarter-votes-to-form-union-will-other-tech-employees-follow-suit

The management’s response has been patronising and arrogant, they call themselves “the leadership” and claim to know better than their Workers! They fired union organisers Taylor Moore and Clarissa Redwine and tried to bribe them into signing non-disclosure agreements – which they refused, other sackings followed.

www.currentaffairs.org/2019/09/we-stand-with-the-kickstarter-union

In a leaked memo they bleat:

“The effort to unionize Kickstarter hasn’t felt transparent or fair.” and: “Furthermore, we feel we’re owed more detail from the union organizers as to what their specific demands are and how a union will address them.”

Bosses are not leaders, they are a class who purchase our time and a pretence of deference, as cheaply as possible and use it to increase their capital, an abstract quantity that represents their power over us and their ability to restrict our access to the things we produce. They trade our needs and abilities on the market and reward us with a fraction of the social product they expropriated from us and our Fellow Workers the day before. This isn’t “transparent or fair” and the Working Class owes them nothing.

It’s been the experience of the IWW that some charitable and ‘third sector’ enterprises make the worst employers. They are often extremely hierarchical, run by unaccountable self-important cliques who expect their employees to work for love. In fact every Worker needs a union and has an absolute right to organise on the job, this is not negotiable.

Most radical and progressive causes have disengaged with kickstarter and will boycott their clients. This is from the facebook page of the musician and activist Robb Johnson:

“I have just cancelled – I hope – the current Kickstarter. In response to questions about union membership Kickstarter support responded:

Currently no employees at Kickstarter are unionized. We’re not in a position to speak to this at length, but we can tell you that Aziz Hasan, Kickstarter’s CEO, spoke with the staff earlier this year and shared the leadership team’s position, which is that the company is better set up to achieve its mission without the framework of a union. He also said that leadership would not voluntarily recognize the union if asked.

I don’t want to work with or make money for a “leadership” that is anti-union.

– Robb Johnson.

If like us, you have enjoyed gal-dem in the past, please e-mail them at info@gal-dem.com and urge them to make up their minds which side they’re on in the Class War. Or comment on their Facebook page

May Day: Building on Our Radical Past

Quote

IWW Scotland

Our May Day History

May Day has been a festive holiday for centuries. As a workers’ holiday, May Day arises from events that took place in Chicago in 1886 when a bomb exploded as police charged a rally. Four of the organizers were unjustly executed although they were not responsible for the bomb. In July 1889, the Socialist International called for rallies on May 1st, 1890, out of respect for those executed and for the solidarity of the international working class.

On the first Sunday of May in 1891 the first May Day event in Glasgow took place on the Glasgow Green.

More …

Four Imprisoned Rhode Islanders Punished With Solitary Confinement at the ACI for Possession of Legally-Protected Union Literature

iwoc-logo_0Providence, RI March 5th, 2019 – The RI DOC (Department of Corrections) has held four men for over ten days in solitary confinement at the ACI (Adult Correctional Institution) for allegedly possessing union literature, according to a statement provided to the press. The four men — Joseph Shepard, Ryan Callahan, Anthony Meo, and a fourth whose name is unknown — were transferred from the general population of the ACI’s John J. Moran Medium 1 Facility into solitary confinement between February 21-22, in an apparent attempt by the DOC to prevent legitimate and legal efforts towards addressing the inhumane conditions at the ACI.  As of Friday March 1st, at least two of the four men have yet to even be booked for the alleged violations on which they are being held.

While under solitary confinement — or “disciplinary confinement”, as it’s referred to by the DOC —  all four are being denied access to legal documents, rehabilitative and therapeutic programs, adequate medical care, and contact with their families and supporters is limited to a single ten-minute phone call each day. A lawyer with knowledge of the case said,

“A filing deadline in one of the men’s cases against the Department of Corrections has already been missed for lack of access to legal documents, and the restrictions will almost certainly interfere with the individual’s ability to show up in court. “

In a preliminary statement about the situation, Callahan comments:

“I was [brought] down here without any answers, without any [of my] property. I’ve been down here for over a week now and have not been booked. […] I have not been able to speak with the psychiatrist whom I have an appointment with and missed. That appointment has not been rescheduled. The orthotic insole to my shoe has not been provided to me. As far as medicine, I have been receiving just the medicine that I’m prescribed. I have basically been kicked out of all the programs I was attending (Providence Center, 9 Yards, CCRI, College Unbound, and parenting).”

Prior to this current solitary confinement, two of the people being held – Joseph Shepard and Ryan Callahan – had filed separate federal lawsuits against the RIDOC. In one of those lawsuits, among other grievances, Shepard cites prison conditions and disciplinary practices that he argues amount to “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of rights that are supposed to be protected by the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Shepard also recently sent an extensive 150 page letter to various RIDOC officials with detailed grievances about conditions at the ACI as well as problems with DOC policies such as the official grievance process itself and arbitrary requirements which severely restrict access to core rehabilitative programs that many inmates need for parole – programs which Shepard and the other three people are at risk of losing access to due to their placement in solitary confinement. That 150 page letter also included clear requests and proposals for how to address the problems outlined in the grievances.

When Joseph Shepard asked the  the Warden about the letter of grievances, “he said that I wouldn’t be getting a response then he smiled and continued to walk off when I further asked him about the progress of the investigation.“ This has led Sheard to view his being placed in solitary as retaliatory in nature “because I continue, in a positive way, to directly address the harsh confinement of prison conditions not only on behalf of myself, but on behalf of the prison population.”

In 2011, The United Nations UN Special Rapporteur on Torture “called on all countries to ban the solitary confinement of prisoners except in very exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible … saying the practice could amount to torture.” The Rhode Island DOC plans to hold the men for up to 90 days while investigating them, where the same UN report recommended an “absolute prohibition” of “solitary confinement in excess of 15 days”, citing scientific evidence for lasting mental damage beyond a few days of social isolation. The 90-day detention policy also flies in the face of RI’s own 2017 legislative commission report recommending that “only those who commit the most serious predatory offenses will be subject to segregation for more than 31 days [..] Non-predatory Class 1 offenses would be limited to 30 days and Class 2 offenses would be capped at 20.”

The four individuals stand accused of attempting to ‘organize a demonstration’ because of their alleged possession of literature produced by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an NLRB-certified labor union with a significant membership in prisons across the country. Additionally, they are also being accused of ‘signing into an illegal contract’ for filling out union membership forms. Others at the facility report having been threatened with the same “disciplinary confinement” if they are found in possession of IWW or IWOC literature, or caught talking about the union, indicating that the union’s literature is being treated as contraband by the RIDOC.

Shepard expressed further thoughts in his statement to the press:

“I use my words on paper to articulate these harsh conditions of confinement and here I sit in segregation, wasting away. My programs have been taken away from me, my CCRI classes, my phone calls, my rec, my visits. I’m on 23 hour lockdown. I deal with PTSD and anxiety and I feel as the days go by that it’s just getting worse. I’m trying to change things for the better but they are specifically trying to deter me and other inmates from filing grievances and from being outspoken about the conditions of confinement.”

About Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee:  The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is a prisoner-led section of the Industrial Workers of the World working to end prison abuse and exploitation.

Contact:

Servio (401) 401-484-7288 or Liam (401) 649-0579

PO Box 27913 Providence, RI 02907
providence@incarceratedworkers.org

Notes to editors

[1] Ryan Callahan – Statement for the press (3-1-2019): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cdakPOcLRwBDM73mSg4apOIi897Zvam1

[2] Joseph Shepard – Statement for the press (3-1-2019): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lzzwRvNTbp0eajeAFMObs-GgoDhB7QyF

[3] UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, 2011 report  https://news.un.org/en/story/2011/10/392012-solitary-confinement-should-be-banned-most-cases-un-expert-says#.UdsQoT5gaBg

[4] Packet of Grievances About RIDOC and ACI Medium 1 by Joseph W Shepard: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Ey4qDfsiQizQxCI3aTD6uNOEyQyshN7W

[5] Rhode Island legislative committee report on solitary confinement: http://www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease/_layouts/RIL.PressRelease.ListStructure/Form/DisplayForm.aspx?List=c8baae31%2D3c10%2D431c%2D8dcd%2D9dbbe21ce3e9&ID=13084&Web=2bab1515%2D0dcc%2D4176%2Da2f8%2D8d4beebdf488

[6] The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is part of the Industrial Workers of the World, a grassroots union for all workers. More information about IWOC is available on the website, https://incarceratedworkers.org

[7] On Monday February 24th, the Deputy Warden of ACI Medium confirmed that at least one of the men was in “disciplinary confinement as part of an ongoing investigation” during a phone call with a union volunteer.

Trans/intersex Solidarity Gathering in Bournemouth.

On Sunday 28th October four Dorset branch members attended a rally in Bournemouth square to show solidarity with trans/intersex comrades in the USA, who are now threatened with highly repressive legislation, that if passed would set them back half a century at least. The category of gender would be replaced by a legal definition of ‘sex’ to be determined by a physical examination of external genitalia at the moment of birth, disputes to be settled by ‘genetic testing’.

This is not only bad politics it’s crank science, promoted by ignorant fundamentalists who don’t even believe in evolution or climate change. Nevertheless it’s already drawn approval from the far-right and TERFs on this side of the Atlantic. It’s got to be worth a fight, hasn’t it?

The event was hastily arranged on face book. We were glad to be part of a good-natured gathering of Working Class trans-,cis-, non-binary and gender-nonconforming individuals. We recognised none of the stereotypes being pushed by the reactionary journalists and pundits, nor did we see any evidence of suspicious funding sources or middle-class entitlement. The only aggression displayed was a heckle from a self-parodying religious fanatic. We are content to let them pursue their mediaeval dogma unmolested; some of the demonstrators expressed religious beliefs and affiliations of their own.

The IWW is One Big Union for All Workers – join us!


Trans/intersex Solidarity Gathering Bournemouth 28th October.

Fellow Workers! Stand by our trans and intersex comrades in the U.S.A. An injury to one is an injury to all. 13:00 hrs Bournemouth Square (remember to put your clock back).

Donald Trump really doesn’t want you to do this, he’s counting on you not giving a shit.

From the organisers: “This is a gathering in solidarity with our trans and intersex family in the States dealing with the potential disgusting changes to the US definition of gender and sex.

The Trump administration wants to remove the word ‘gender’ from two key laws and replace it with ‘sex’, specifically they want to ‘define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with’, which goes against scientific and medical evidence from the AMA and APA.

This would remove protection from discrimination in the workplace, in schools, housing and healthcare to name a few.

Combine this with the recent changes to passport gender markers (to ‘sex marker’) and the resulting difficulty trans people have faced in accessing a passport, and you can form your own conclusions.

We gather in solidarity with our trans family, and our intersex family, to show that we #WontBeErased and #weseeyou