RWU Statement on Amtrak 188

Here are some excellent thoughts from Railroad Workers United concerning the derailment of Amtrak 188.

If we are serious about preventing future catastrophes of this nature, we must equip railroad workers with the necessary tools to enable them to perform the job safely. Pointing fingers at this or that employee (at any level in the company, union or management) might make some folks feel better, but it does little or nothing to prevent future accidents. Railroad Workers United believes it is time we learn from these terrible tragedies and get serious about implementing the necessary measures to ensure safe railroad operations.

Read More: Railroad Workers United: The Wreck of #AMTRAK188 Talking Points From RWU

Solidarity Forever Centennial

On a windblown, gray Chicago day 100 years ago, January 17, 1915, Ralph Chaplin left his home on the South Side for a raucous, poor person’s rally at the city’s famous women’s center, Hull House. He asked a visiting friend he’d met organizing coal miners with Mother Jones to listen to the lyrics of a new tune he had been working on. Here’s the story behind one of the most beloved Labor Hymns.

Read the article: ‘Solidarity Forever’ Written 100 Years Ago, Today | Labor Notes.

Remembering the Martyrs: A Social and Picnic

Date: May 4, 2014

Time: 10:30am-3:45pm

Location: Forest Home Cemetery, Haymarket Martyr’s Monument

Join the IWW and many other radical, anti-capitalist, and labor organizations at Forest Home Cemetery to eat, drink, talk, and make new friends and connections. This will be a pot-luck style event so please bring food to share. This event is open to all who are interested and is family friendly.

Learn More: May Day Events 2014

The Few Own The Many

“The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all. The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.”

– Helen Keller

Industrial Worker September 2012

The September 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

American Labor History Timeline

The American Prospect magazine’s Website has posted an interactive timeline depicting a brief history of the Labor Movement in the U.S. adapted from If Labor Dies, Whats Next? – a Harold Meyerson piece that appears in the September/October issue.

The timeline includes such notable moments as the founding of the Knights of Labor, the Pullman Strike of 1894 (shown above), the Triangle Fire, the founding of the IWW and more. It’s basic information that every American ought to know, but relatively few do.

See the interactive timeline: A Brief History of American Labor.

Industrial Worker July and August 2012

The July/August 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

Industrial Worker June 2012

The June 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

Industrial Worker May 2012

The May 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

Headlines:

  • General Strike, Mass Protests Engulf Europe
  • Picket Against Unpaid Labor In Glasgow
  • Polish Ironworkers Walk Out In Wildcat Strike

Features:

  • Some Objections To Occupy May 1st
  • Review: Who Bombed Judi Bari?
  • Sex Workers: “We Ask For Solidarity, Not Salvation”

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

What is May Day?

On May Day 2012, I’ll be joining in solidarity with workers around the world for “A Day Without the 99%.” My plans are simple: to spend the day in reflection, and perhaps share some appropriate music and movies with my children. I hope that next year I’ll be able to be in the company of Fellow Workers in Chicago for the day, but that’s simply not possible this year.

If, like me, you grew up without knowing the significance of May 1st to the working class, you might find some of these articles of interest as we prepare to celebrate International Workers’ Day 2012.

What is May Day and why is it called International Workers’ Day? [IWW.org] – May 1st, International Worker’s Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in every country except the United States and Canada. This is despite the fact that the holiday began in the 1880’s in the United States, with the fight for an eight-hour work day led by immigrant workers.

Building on May Day traditions today. [SocialistWorker.org] – On May 1, workers across the globe will demonstrate, attend meetings and go on strike in celebration of International Workers Day, a working-class holiday with origins in the U.S. more than a century ago. With class inequality reaching new heights and shaping politics in the U.S. and internationally, a new generation is discovering the importance of May Day and embracing its message of militant working-class struggle and international solidarity.

A Short History of International Workers’ Day. [Holt Labor Library] – May 1, 1886, became historic. On that day thousands of workers in the larger industrial cities poured into the streets, demanding eight hours. About 340,000 took part in demonstrations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other places. Of these nearly 200,000 actually went out on strike.

The Haymarket Affair. [Illinois Labor History Society] – No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair.

The McCormick Strike and the Haymarket Tragedy. [The Autobiography of Mother Jones | IWW.org] – “The police without warning charged down upon the workers, shooting into their midst, clubbing right and left. Many were trampled under horses’ feet. Numbers were shot dead. Skulls were broken. Young men and young girls were clubbed to death.”

Addressing Objections to Occupy May 1st. [IWW.org] – There have been a number of objections or concerns raised about the May 1st, 2012 general strike. Juan Conantz attempts to briefly address some of the most common ones.

Industrial Worker April 2012

The April 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

Headlines:

  • Industrial Bakery Workers Fight For Dignity In NYC
  • Living Wage Victory For IWW Cleaners In London
  • IWW Launches In Uganda

Features:

  • Direct Unionism And Beyond
  • Special: Lessons From Workplace Organizing
  • IW Book Review: The Fiction Issue

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

Bread and Roses

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Bread and Roses Strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts – a formative moment in American Labor history, and an inspiration to workers and lovers of liberty to this day.

Solidarity!

Bread and Roses a Hundred Years On. [Industrial Worker] – Though 100 years have passed, the Lawrence strike resonates as one of the most important in the history of the United States. Like many labor conflicts of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the strike was marked by obscene disparities in wealth and power, open collusion between the state and business owners, large scale violence against unarmed strikers, and great ingenuity and solidarity on the part of workers. In important ways, though, the strike was also unique. It was the first large-scale industrial strike, the overwhelming majority of the strikers were immigrants, most were women and children, and the strike was guided in large part by the revolutionary strategy and vision of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

100 years later, Bread and Roses strike still resonates. [The Boston Globe] – The Bread and Roses Strike, not only called attention to horrific conditions in the mills, but also to the concentration of wealth and power in the United States,an issue that 100 years later would spur protesters to Occupy Wall Street, Boston, and other cities across the country.

100 Years After Lawrence Strike, the Cry for ‘Bread & Roses’ Still Resonates. [In These Times] – The strike that started on January 12, 1912, created political tremors far beyond the Merrimack Valley. The shutdown of mills in Lawrence forced a national debate about factory conditions, child labor, the exploitation of immigrants and the free exercise of First Amendment rights during labor disputes.

Bread and Roses: The 1912 Lawrence textile Strike. [Joyce Kornbluh, The Lucy Parsons Project] – Early in January 1912 I.W.W. activities focused on a dramatic ten-week strike of 25,000 textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It became the most widely publicized I.W.W. conflict, acquainting the nation with the plight of the unskilled, foreign-born worker as well as with the organization’s philosophy of radical unionism. “Lawrence was not an ordinary strike,” wrote Brissenden in 1919, “It was a social revolution in parvo.”

100 Year Anniversary of Bread and Roses Strike. [Uprising Radio] – Given today’s economic climate and the rising opposition to wealth inequality in the US, the history of the Bread and Roses strike of 1912 is particularly relevant.

Remembering the Fight and Spirit of “Bread and Roses.” [Common Dreams] – The strike lasted for two months. The workers marched daily, singing union anthems, and later listening to organizers. They faced clubs, bayonets, and frequent arrests.  Many were hauled off to jail, children in tow.  One, Annie LoPizzo, was shot and killed by the police.

Documentary Shows Strike “From The Workers’ Point of View.” [Merrimack Valley Eagle Tribune] – Making movies and local history are close to Tom Gradzewicz’s heart. He has combined his two passions to create “The Strike Heard ‘Round the World: Bread & Roses 1912,” which will be broadcast on community access television stations throughout Greater Lawrence.

A Century of Writing on the IWW. [IWW.ORG] – An annotated bibliography prepared for the IWW Centennial in 2005.

Bread & Roses Centennial Committee Website

Bread and Roses/Makhnes Geyen. [Boston Workmen’s Circle A Besere Velt (A Better World) Yiddish Chorus] – A stirring performance at the Rosenberg Fund for Children’s “Celebrate the Children of Resistance” event in Boston, June 19, 2007. The song is a ballad from the 1912 Lawrence, MA textile strike, woven together with an anthem dedicated to the fighters in the Spanish Civil War. “The masses are marching in the struggle for victory.”