The Olympia Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World calls on you to join the Union!
Only together can we fight for better pay, shorter hours, and a better world!
It is we, the workers, who do all the labor. We slave away in the kitchen, behind the bar, over the espresso machine, getting just enough money to survive. While the owners make all the profit off of our work! If you are tired of these conditions then join the IWW!
We believe that workers produce all wealth. We are an all volunteer union. That means we are workers just like you. We work hard and believe that we should get the total output of our labor. We fight hard on the job for ourselves and our fellow workers. We have joined together to help each other better our working conditions and make the world a better place. And by that we mean worker democracy.
When the unorganized worker goes to work they leave their rights at the door. We ask the simple question of “Why do we do all the work and have none of the say?” Workers in restaurants, bars, cafes, and other public service jobs are some of the worst treated workers in the US. We suffer degradation, low pay, terrible hours, and massive disruption to our lives. All to make a few dollars so that we can pay rent and bills, grab some food and do it all over again.
We in the IWW believe this is terrible, unfair, and has to come to an end. We also recognize that the workers have to help themselves. Not only are workers the only ones with the real power to fight for these gains, but in doing so we learn to understand our true power on the job. Only together can we stand up for ourselves when the boss comes round.
So if you are tired of having to decide at the end of the month between food, bills, or rent. If you are tired of the boss telling you how to do your job. If you are tired of working long hours and never getting over time and hardly getting breaks. If you are tired of the bullshit “open door policy.” Where they never listen to you anyway. Then the Join the Industrial Workers of the World today! And fight for these rights for yourself, for your fellow workers, and for a better world!
The Olympia IWW is actively organizing in this industry. Join the fight today at your shop!
Contact the Olympia IWW
by email at Organize@OlympiaIWW.com
by phone at 360-362-0112
Whereas, trusted comrades, collectives, and networks behind the prison walls have convened, called for a “National Prison Strike” from August 21 to Sept 9, 2018, issued a set of demands and guidelines and requested outside support, Whereas, we, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW have heard their call for support and find the strike and its goals completely aligned with our material work and with all points of our Statement of Purpose, Be it resolved, we endorse the strike, pledge our support and furthermore, embrace the work of solidarity. We, as the national body of the IWOC network strongly encourage all outside branches and members-at-large to take on the support work to the utmost of their capacity and according to their best judgement. As the strike develops, the scope of of work will also develop and will need further guidelines and ratification, so we offer this motion as a framework and a beginning. Further motions to amend are entertained as the work demands and teaches. The areas of work appropriate to our network, as we see them now, are as listed below:
1. Immediately add our name to the list of endorsing organizations and solicit other organizations to endorse and support.
2. Spread the word of the strike and demands inside as best and responsibly as we can so that our inside members and contacts can make informed decisions as to their positions and possible actions.
a. National Media Committee: assist and coordinate with the Jailhouse Lawyers Speak/Millions for Prisoners media representatives according to their protocols in fielding and fulfilling media requests, strategizing, spreading social media, and assisting in generating original works in all available mediums.
b. Locals: generate, share and publish educational and agitational material in all available mediums.
c. Make available whatever vetted media representatives we can muster regionally and nationally to speak on the strike to groups or to media outlets (according to the prisoners’ protocols for media requests).
a. To immediately begin building networks of outside supporters committed to phone blasts, demonstrations, and pressure campaigns of any type to combat repression and retaliation against prisoners. Repression is already underway and prisoner groups are already making requests for support.
b. Educate all IWOC members and groups, all other support groups and public at large on the tactics and depth of retaliations undertaken against prisoners.
5. Local demands: Outside IWOC groups can aid prisoners in their area in adding their own demands to local strike messaging. Such addition has been approved by existing inside strike leadership.
Let the work begin.
For solidarity over the walls and wire,
For a world without prisons,
To learn more about IWOC see this website.
If you are interested in getting involved in IWOC
locally please contact us.
DB: How old are you Ballentine?
DB: Where did you grow up?
BP: I grew up in Las Vegas Nevada, I have been in Olympia for about 4 years now.
DB: What was your first job?
BP: The first time that I ever worked was at a movie theater inside of a casino. I was 17 and they had me cleaning theaters when the movies were done. I made $5.45 an hour.
DB: Were you still in school at the time?
DB: How long did you work there?
BP: December 1999 to April 2000.
DB: What happen when you left that job?
BP: Well I had been applying for a job at the mall where I wouldn’t have to wear a uniform. So I really wanted that mall job because not only was there no uniform but I could wear dresses and nail polish. So I upgraded jobs was all. I worked at the mall selling cloths for 5 years.
DB: How much did you make there?
BP: I took a pay cut. I made $5.17. When I left after 5 years I made $7.25.
DB: What was that like working in the mall, in retail?
BP: There were parts of it that sucked, but there were parts that were cool. The mall in itself was like its own community. You got to know people that worked at other shops and there was a friends circle of just mall people. It was close to my house, I could walk. They were flexible and I told them that I was going to college to be a teacher so they would only schedule me when I didn’t have class and I was living at home at the time so I could getaway with working 15 hours a week and it wouldn’t be a big deal. In that way it was kind of cool.
DB: Then you became a teacher?
BP: Yeah, I was in college. I student-taught for a year, well like 6 months then I got hired, well I was a substitute teacher for about 2 years and that was the worst job I’ve ever had. Nobody respects a sub. You roll into a different school everyday and then you never see those people again. Everyday is like your first day but you are expected to work.
DB: Going back to the retail job, what was the worst thing about working there, if anything?
BP: So it was super cool the first year, … And then we got bought out by the gap. Shit changed real quick. … They were all about loss prevention. They said you had to catch so many people a quarter. And I just never would do it. … And if you didn’t meet [the quota] you didn’t get a raise. So sometimes I just wouldn’t get a raise. I would go 6 months and when it came up for review everything was perfect but I didn’t catch so many people shoplifting so I didn’t get a raise.
DB: What were the raises?
BP: 25 cents was the top one.
DB: and by the end of it you were still making minimum wage anyway?
BP: Yeah and this was completely without benefits.
DB: Did you consider yourself political at this time?
BP: Yeah, but at that time in Nevada in the early 2000s there wasn’t anything going on. …the entire time I worked at the mall I think the only thing I was involved in was some pretty minor anti-war protests.
DB: With the Iraq war?
DB: Was there anything defining about becoming political that happened for you?
BP: … I realized that [the FBI] did terrible things. The real kicker was that they sent MLK a letter telling him to kill himself and I was like I’m not onboard with the United States it turns out. It went against everything I was ever told. Then when I got to high school my government teachers showed me two videos one about the Zapatista, and one about the Battle in Seattle.
DB: You’re a wobbly, right?
DB: When did you join?
BP: 2012 was when I signed up. During Occupy there was an effort made by people in Las Vegas to make a branch of the IWW. It didn’t really work out.
DB: You rejoined the wobblies here in Olympia?
BP: Yeah, I rejoined when I was homeless.
DB: How long were you homeless?
BP: Off and on a couple times, but only for like 2 weeks at a time. It was always in between pay checks, just until I found a place. Each time it was always wobblies that helped me out. Wobblies let me stay in their back yard, wobblies let me stay in their living room. Its hard with background checks and credit checks and my friend who I live with has an eviction on her record so we couldn’t find anywhere to live.
DB: And your pretty involved with the IWW here?
BP: I’d say so. I go to a lot of the meetings, I am a chair of a committee, in the past I helped organize May Day. So I don’t know what all I do…
DB: You do a lot
DB: Any advice for people?
BP: If there isn’t a scene where you’re at, then just start one. That’s what I learned in Vegas. There was no shortage of people who wanted to do stuff but there was no one doing it.
DB: Thanks Ballentine
[Note: this was originally published in The Line on July 1st, 2018.]
We the Industrial Workers of the World fight for a better tomorrow.
We believe “It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.”
It is important to emphasize that by fighting for “bread and butter” issues on the job with the intention of building One Big Union organized industrially that has as it’s aim the overthrow of capitalism, we, as workers, are bringing together more and more workers towards the goal of their own interests.
We believe that Labor creates all wealth and we want what is our due.
On February 22nd the teachers of West Virginia went on strike. One of their motto’s was 55 strong. Meaning that all the teachers in all 55 counties in West Virginia are united in their struggle. The teachers in West Virginia are among the lowest paid in the country. Also, the teachers, being public sector workers, in West Virginia do not have the legal right to strike or bargain collectively. And yet they did anyway, and they won!
There is a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. It is called Janus Vs. AFSCME. This case has been shaking everything up. Basically it would make the public sector in all the states “Right-to-Work.” Meaning that workers in a union shop would not be required to pay dues or fees but the union is still legally required to cover them. Right-to-work laws and the Janus case are tools of anti-labor used to break unions.
What follows is a very basic primer for organizing your fellow workers on the job. This is just to get you thinking. We encourage you to take the Organizers Training 101 that the IWW offers. It is open to all workers whether they are a member or not. In the Olympia Branch we try to have at least two OT101s a year. So if you are interested then contact us for when the next one is happening. There also may be one happening sooner in another city in the region.
So what does AEIOU mean? It is simple really. Agitate, Educate, Inoculate, Organize, Unionize (or pUsh). In organizing our jobs it is important to talk to our fellow workers. We want to build relationships with them. Because how else could we work together, right?
To do this we have 1 on 1 conversations with them. We talk with them and learn about the issues at work and thus in life that we each care about. Whether it is pay, or conditions. Such as: due to cut backs at work they are not hiring enough people which means you all have to work more and your fellow worker who has kids hardly gets to see them!
The workers at the 92nd and Powell Burgerville won their election yesterday! We express our solidarity!
Join us on May 1st for International Workers’ Day where we will have a worker from the Burgerville Workers’ Union speaking about this election and all of their organizing.
The following is a statement from their Facebook page.
“We won the election. We did it. We made history.
Today workers at 92nd and Powell overwhelmingly voted yes, making the Burgerville Workers Union the only formally recognized fast food union in the country. For a long time people have dismissed fast food as unorganizable, saying that turnover is too high, or the workers are too spread out. Today Burgerville workers proved them wrong.
The fight isn’t over, of course. We still need to bargain a fair contract with Burgerville, and until then the boycott still stands. And we need to remember what got us to this point: workers taking action for themselves, standing up against poverty wages and horrible conditions. We got here because of the strike, union benefits, pickets, and marches on the boss. We got here through direct action, and that won’t change now that we’ve won an election. If anything it’s even more important.
In this moment of victory we want to celebrate, yes, but we also want to turn our attention to the 4.5 million other fast food workers in the United States. We want to speak to everyone else who works for poverty wages, who are constantly disrespected on the job, who are told they aren’t educated enough, aren’t experienced enough, aren’t good enough for a decent life. To all of those workers, to everyone like us who works rough jobs for terrible pay, we say this:
Don’t listen to that bullshit. Burgerville workers didn’t, and look at us now.
Because our win today isn’t just about Burgerville. It’s about history. It’s about a movement of workers who know that a better world is possible, and that together they can make that world real.
Today we became the only recognized fast food union in the country. But we won’t be the only one for long.”
On May 4th, 1886, one hundred and thirty-two years ago, the event took place in Haymarket Square in Chicago that started what is called the Haymarket affair and ultimately lead to the creation of International Workers Day. The event itself was a rally, or what at the time was called a meeting or open air meeting, that was in support of the eight-hour day. This struggle had been going on for years and was reaching a fevered pitch with a general strike which had been called for May 1st, in which hundreds of thousands of workers across the United States when out on strike. After the events of May 4th, where towards the end of the rally a bomb exploded causing the police to fire into the crowd. Several people on both sides were killed. In the coming days seven people, all avowed anarchists, were arrested. Some of them were not even at the rally at all and most of them were not there when the bomb exploded. However, after the trial two were given life in prison, one had committed suicide while in jail, and four of them were executed. The trail and execution shocked the world.
“The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.”
– August Spies just before he was hanged
For two years leading up to May 4th, 1886, workers had been struggling for the eight-hour day. In October of 1884 the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions had set May 1st, 1886, as the date by which the eight-hour work day would become standard. All of labor, as well as the socialists and anarchists, had come to support and be involved in the struggle for the eight-hour day.
“Where as the IWW is engaged in the struggle to end capitalism. Where as capitalism has engulfed the whole globe, and we need to build international solidarity to defeat an international system. Be it resolved that the Olympia GMB state that we are in total support of the Rojavan struggle, and strongly condemn any attack on their project including the most recent attack on Afrin by Turkey. We send our revolutionary greetings with warm hearts and raised fists.”