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!
As workers who have to deal with these problems, the problems of capitalism, day in and day out, we build up mechanisms to keep from going crazy. One of these defense mechanisms is to individualize our problems at work. We say things like “that’s life,” “that’s just the way
it is, “ etc. Well it is by agitating that we work with our fellow workers to over come these feelings. We want our fellow workers and ourselves to recognize the problems and get angry about it! It shouldn’t have to be that way! It doesn’t have to be that way! One of the biggest issues for people to overcome is that life can be different. Life is not the way it is because of nature or some supernatural force, or because of human nature. Life is the way it is because humans, somewhere and at some time decided for it to be this way. We all decide, or concede, that it is the way it is everyday. The good news is – that this means we can change it! We can make the world a better place!
Once we are all agitated and worked up we have to figure out what we are going to do about it. This is where the education part comes in. We all get together, as fellow workers, to educate ourselves, and act collectively. This can take many forms, depending on the situation. Everything from a group of workers confronting a mean boss to tell him to cool it, to, a massive strike! What ever it is the important thing is that it is done collectively and in a series of progressive actions.
Now that we know what we are going to do about it, we need to prepare for retaliation from the bosses. We Inoculate each other against this retaliation. We do this by talking with our fellow workers about how the boss might respond. I bet you all ready know some of the ways. They might talk about how we are all one big family and we just need to stick together. Well we know what a joke that is! But do all our fellow workers know?
It’s time to build organizing capacity. We will all have to take on different tasks and we will all need to follow though on the those tasks. So we have to help each other be accountable and work with each other so that we don’t get to the point where we are dropping the ball on things and not letting anyone know that we need help. We need to be there for each other to make this easier. As we build our organizing capacity and thus build the union we will also need to push each other to follow through and to go further. Remember we are all leaders here! It is important to understand that this does not mean that we have no leaders, but rather, that it means that each one of us needs to take the initiative Of course this is all easier said then done and it can be intimidating. That’s way we here in the IWW are here to help. Together we can fight not just for better pay but for a better world! We believe that together workers have the power to change the world!
For more information get in touch.