PO Box 1293, Olympia Wa, 98507 Organize@OlympiaIWW.com 360-362-0112

Workers Strike in Bangladesh

On January 6th, thousands of workers in Bangladesh went on strike against low wages in garment factories. The “ready-made” garment industry in Bangladesh supplies major retailers around the world, such as Walmart, H&M, and Tesco. According to Aljazeera 52 factories were shut down due to the strike. Last year they made apparel worth about $30 billion. Millions of Bangladeshi workers work in about 4,500 textile factories. The minimum monthly wage is around $96 a month. This was increased in September of 2018 from around $50 a month. The increase went in to effect in December. However, when workers were paid in January they found they had been paid less. On January 13th the police attacked the workers. Firing water canons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and attacking them with batons. The workers barricaded the highway. At least one worker was killed and more then 50 were injured. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) threatened to lock the workers out if they did not return to work on the 14th. Workers began returning to work towards the end of week after government assurances that the discrepancy in pay would be made up. However, hundreds of workers upon returning to work found they had been fired. Notices were hanging on factory gates informing them of their dismissal along with photos of their faces. Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, who worked as a child laborer in textile factories, said: “The workers that got fired know the law and their rights. In many cases they were union leaders in their respective factories. These workers are picked intentionally so there is no voice left in a factory to fight against retaliation and form a union.” According to a report from Fair Wear Foundation, a worker was beaten up on orders of management and threatened with murder. The woman said she was also robbed of her severance pay. The factory initially denied the allegations but later fired the manager and paid the woman in compensation. The garment industry in Bangladesh still lives under the shadow of the 2012 Dhaka fire. Where at least 117 people died in the factory fire and over 200 were injured. Workers were unable to escape because of inadequate fire escapes and exits which were locked in order to keep workers from leaving during the work day.

Announcing the Little Big Union!

Workers at Little Big Burger know that our safety, well-being, and voices are important. Every single day we serve customers, cook food, bus tables, and wash dishes. We have formed the Little Big Union to ensure Little Big Burger is truly inclusive of our collective voice as workers.

Portland, Oregon is ground zero for fast food organizing. We love this city and call the Pacific Northwest our home. However, rent and the cost of living have continued to increase while our wages have not. Now, it is increasingly difficult to live in the neighborhoods we serve. This is why we are proud to stand in solidarity with the Burgerville Workers Union, as members of the Industrial Workers of the World, in the fight to make food service an honest, dignified, and dependable job.

Little Big Burger is no longer a small business, they were acquired by North Carolina-based multinational corporation Chanticleer Holdings in 2015. Us workers and our families depend on this job for our livelihood, and we hope those who prepare the food, serve the guests, and create the environment that has built Little Big Burger stand to grow with our company. Workers continue to struggle by stretching our paychecks month to month, surviving off minimum wage, unreliable tips, and inconsistent schedules released often a day or two before we work. We are proud of the hard work we provide Little Big Burger, which is why we demand:

  • $5 raises
  • Fair and consistent scheduling
  • Safe and Healthy workplaces
  • Respectful and professional conduct from management
  • Benefits like child care, paid parental leave, quality healthcare, food boxes, bus passes, parking passes, and shift beers
  • Paid sick leave and vacation time
  • Worker autonomy to refuse service to abusive/dangerous customers
  • Holiday pay
  • Transparent hiring and firing policies
  • Sanctuary workplaces

Upon recognizing LBU, Little Big Burger stands to become the second fast food company in the history of the United States to enter into a collective bargaining relationship with a union. We believe that Little Big Burger deserves that distinction.

We are your neighbors, your friends, your classmates, your family, and we are just scraping by like so many other low paid workers.

We are the ones who make the food, now it’s time that we eat too!


Check out there website here!

Check out there Facebook page here!

Education Workers are Fighting Around the World!

Teachers continue to organize and struggle. In the United States in the past two months we have seen headlines for teachers striking from Los Angles and Denver to West Virginia and Virginia. Teachers in West Virginia seem to have shaken something loose with their state wide strike this past year.
In the face of legal obstacles and the general repression of labor in general teachers fought back and won. Public sector workers, in West Virginia, do not have the legal right to collectively bargain. It is important to note that the places that have the least legal options for labor seem to have the most radical and invigorating movements. This is not to say that places like West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, simply need to change their laws and all will be well. It is rather that places that have more legal mechanism in place, such as Washington state, labor is more easily subsumed into the formalist processes where we have a disadvantage.

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Release from South Sound General Education Union IWW

February 15, 2019

On November 7, 2018, the Industrial Workers of the World South Sound General Education Union delivered a demand letter to the administration of the Evergreen State College calling for:

  • The immediate end to the hiring process of another campus police officer
  • The immediate hiring of two full-time positions, one in Political Economy and one in Arts (either Theater or Photography)

As of today, we are now proud to announce that Evergreen’s administration appears to be meeting our demands. A campus police position vacated in 2018 will no longer be filled, and although the hiring processes are obfuscated by university bureaucracy, we have it on good authority that new positions have been opened in Political Economy and Community Media. We extend our thanks to all the fellow workers and comrades who joined us in solidarity over the past three months. Furthermore, we call upon you to join us in vigilance, to make sure that the administration does not fall back into their old ways. If they do, we will be ready to resume our campaign until these demands are met.

The South Sound General Education Union continues to fight for popular control of educational institutions—not control by donors and the employing class, under whatever name they may go by. The police, acting as the military arm of the international program of austerity, have no place on this or any campus. A program of cuts and belt-tightening is the first prescription in a course of bad medicine, too often followed up by union-busting, political repression, and privatization.

We call on all members of the campus and surrounding community of the Evergreen State College to join us in a victory social on Wednesday, February 27th, to celebrate our victory and build towards our next steps. Location and time to be announced.

Solidarity Forever!

IWW South Sound General Education Union History (so far)

We were born June 3rd of 2018, on the rooftop of a “leftist” shop called Kinoki in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Our initial meeting was inspired by the struggles that the working class were fighting throughout the world. However, we were especially awed by the statewide teachers’ strikes occurring in the United States this past year, and the revolutionary uprisings which the CNTE (National Organizers of Education Workers), a radical union of Mexican teachers, initiated— such as the 6 month long 2006 Oaxaca Commune in response to police repression of the union’s yearly occupation of the city’s main square, and the caucus’s blockades of major roads and airports in retaliation to their demands being unfulfilled. With the rising worldwide movement of education workers, we sought to bring this struggle into the south Puget Sound region. Because the bureaucrats in the education business unions have consistently undermined worker militancy and solidarity by negotiating with the capitalists without the consent of the rank and file, we decided to form a revolutionary alternative to these craft unions. As we were packed inside a van leaving a Zapatista municipal center known as Morelia, our first version of the union’s points of unity were formed. This version emphasized our desire to organize education industrially rather than by craft, and to have schools be run democratically by the people who attend and work in them (students, faculty, and staff). The months of September and October were a long grind: revising the union’s points of unity, forming our own preamble and deciding how we would gain power. We slowly acquired a consistent membership and we gained a consistent core once we, the IWW South Sound General Education Union, decided on our first campaign. This campaign demanded that the Evergreen State College not hire another cop, and instead fund two full time teaching positions; one in political economy and one in the arts (either theater or photography). These demands were formed as a result of the college laying off over 20 positions during the summer of 2018, primarily in the art departments. As well, a political economy faculty member was not hired that summer, despite the fact that the department was labeled “top priority” for hiring. As of this writing, the school seeks to hire another cop, using the excuse of “mandated budget allocation” to not concede to our demands. Many students were angry about the layoffs as well, with some of them organizing large petitions to prevent the layoffs; yet, the administration ultimately ignored them. To debut our union and campaign, we conducted a rally on the central square of the Evergreen State College. Over 100 people showed up, making it the largest protest that happened on campus since the 2017 Spring uprising. We also marched into the office of the president and provost to read our demands, handing over the demand letter. We dispersed after the demand delivery. As of this writing, the administration has responded by portraying us as “illegitimate”. They wish to co-opt the union into avenues they can more easily control such as the faculty union and the student union, which is really more like a student government organization and does not have co-governance. The South Sound General Education Union will keep fighting! If you work in the education industry, whether K-12 or higher ed, whether as a teacher, student, or a cook, get in touch with us and get organized!

IWW Joins the International Confederation of Labor

In its annual referendum, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) North American Regional Administration voted overwhelmingly to officially join the recently formed International Confederation of Labor (ICL). The ICL is an international organization linking together revolutionary unions in eight different countries in Europe, Latin America, and North America. The focus of the ICL is building a visible model for revolutionary unionism, a way to build unions that are based on solidarity, direct action, and which prefigure a world which has shaken off capitalism. ICL unions have already begun to coordinate their activity among app-based workers, such as those working for Deliveroo and Foodora, leading to coordinated strikes against Deliveroo in multiple countries. The IWW brings to the table our growing experience organizing in prisons through the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). The ICL and its member unions endorsed the U.S. prison strike earlier this year, which was co-led by IWOC. Through the ICL, the IWW has begun to make contact with unions of prisoners in other countries. Aside from day-to-day organizing practice, the ICL allows member sections to share experience about mass working class struggles. Earlier this year, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT – the Spanish section of the ICL) played a major role in coordinating a Feminist General Strike on International Women’s Day on March 8, which the CNT and ICL will try to build on for 2019. The IWW’s vote to join the ICL culminates several years of joint work between these unions to bring the new international into existence. We hope to continue to develop our mutual projects and build relationships in other parts of the world. The IWW will share its experience and learn from the experience of others – to inspire and be inspired. With the continual economic, ecological, and political crises that capitalism is bringing on to us and intensifying, we need a vibrant and internationalist revolutionary unionist movement now more than ever. Long live the international!

PCS cancels contract. OlySol Wins!

Pacific Coast Security (PCS) has canceled its contracts with the downtown businesses that were being organized through the Olympia Downtown Association (ODA). As we reported in a previous issue, PCS was operating what they inappropriately called “safety teams”, unless by “safety” they were keeping people safe from sleeping. They hired guards to sweep houseless folks from doorways and awnings in front of businesses.
Olympia Solidarity Network (OlySol) and other concerned citizens have been demonstrating against the sweeps for the past several months, letting the ODA and PCS know that this is not the way to proceed.

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Bisbee 17 Is a Deceptive Propaganda Movie, Not a Factual Documentary

The Bisbee 17 movie is an attempt to use the documentary format to rewrite history. It is slanted toward “might is right capitalism” and glaringly derogatory in its portrayal of the striking workers. Its slant is very apparent in the way it portrays the political and labor climate in 1917. The movie tries to make the war profiteering mine baron’s action as something that was “necessary” for the public good and the war effort. It is ludicrous to consider forgiving the heinous actions of Walter S. Douglas, the mine president and “boss” of the company town, if one bothers to research what really happened. In 1917, the US president was Woodrow Wilson, a typical two-faced liar who ran on a peace platform, but actively sought to enter WWI. He vigorously crushed anyone opposing the war, deporting Emma Goldman and imprisoning Eugene Debs for encouraging young men to stay home and resist the unnecessary war. Do you know the reasons for WWI? The only one that has survived the test of time is the opportunity for capitalistic profit.

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Amazon Workers in Europe Walk Out

Once again workers at Amazon warehouses in Europe have staged a walkout during one of the company’s busiest times of the year – Black Friday. Workers in Germany struck for 24 hours on Black Friday and in Spain on Friday and Saturday. They are demanding better pay and working conditions. Workers make as little as 10.78 euros ($12.23) an hour. The owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is currently the richest person in the world, according to Forbes. Over the past year he has made roughly $80,000,000,000 or $38.5 million an hour.

Workers in the United Kingdom and Italy have also gone on strike. “Our European Fulfillment Network is fully operational,” Amazon said in a statement to The Washington Post. “And we continue to focus on delivering for our customers and reports to the contrary are simply wrong.” Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post. Earlier this year Amazon also announced that it would be opening two more U.S. based headquarters.

One is in Northern Virginia and the other in Long Island City, areas that are already greatly gentrified. This gentrification will only get worse as they will likely follow the path of Seattle which has been pricing its citizens further and further out of the city. Additionally, earlier this year, workers struck on “Prime Day,” another big sales day for the online giant.

Workers in Germany have been agitating for better pay and working conditions for several years now at Amazon warehouses – or as Amazon calls them – fulfillment centers. “The conditions our members at Amazon are working under are frankly inhuman,” said a statement by Tim Roache, General Secretary of the GMB, a trade union in the United Kingdom. “They are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances.” He added: “We’re standing up and saying enough is enough. These are people making Amazon its money. People with kids, homes, bills to pay — they’re not robots. Jeff Bezos is the richest bloke on the planet; he can afford to sort this out.”

What the hell happened in Centralia? AKA The Centralia Tragedy.

The history of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is filled with tragedy, as well as victory. For some reason a lot of these events took place in the month of November and several of them took place here in the Northwest. One of these such events is known as the Centralia Tragedy. What follows is a brief history of that event which will have its 100th anniversary next year.

Even to this day some people still have strong feelings about the Tragedy. For a longtime there has been a monument to the American Legion. The side that attacked and lynched the wobblies. While only about ten years ago was a mural created in Centralia recognizing the tragedy as such.

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