I, Wobbly: Network Organising Opens a New IWW Cycle

The IWW has been quietly organising couriers in cities and towns
outside London, in the UK and Ireland, since January 2018. In that time, we’ve developed a presence in nearly every major city in the regions outside London.
But we aren’t organising in the traditional way, of courting membership and getting membership dues. We’ve adopted a new form of organising model that we’re calling the “network” model.

When we first began organising we met with apathy and indifference from couriers when we tried to get them to join a union. Understandably, they didn’t want to pay membership dues for something that they didn’t understand and for something that hadn’t necessarily been very successful in the past.

Many people had no idea what a union was, and the lack of any major success stories just served to reinforce a feedback loop of apathy.

We needed to convince couriers that collectively organising was the only way forward. And for that we needed to break down barriers to participation and prove that unionising was worth the effort. And that’s why we settled on the network model.

A network branch is essentially a stripped-back  mini-union, within a union. It’s completely free to join for any courier because it provides collective representation, as opposed to individual representation.

Each network branch is partnered with its local IWW branch, which provides advice, support and logistical organising help.The IWW Couriers Network is currently organising in cities and towns like Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, Belfast and Dublin.

Our union is utterly committed to worker self-management. The IWW has no full-time, paid officials. The IWW Couriers Network is the same and is run on a tiny budget.

We are led directly by our membership, for our membership and I can’t stress that enough — no matter how cliche it sounds. Every decision comes from the grassroots of the union, from the bottom up.

Which is why our demands differ to that of other unions, particularly around limb B worker (as opposed to “self-employed”) status, and can sometimes differ from network branch to network branch. We don’t see this difference between the other courier unions in the UK as being a bad thing – in fact, we think both approaches compliment each other.

There’s strength in diversity, in our militant, direct action going hand-in-hand with the efforts of other unions to try to change the law. Our comrades in the IWGB for instance have been doing excellent work in pursuing the limb B worker issue through the courts.

But that said, we’ve listened to what our members want and the majority would rather see immediate action around their present pay and working conditions, rather than long-term legal struggles about employment status.

Those arguments still need to be won with the workers themselves. And as our members have the final say on our actions, and not union officials, that is the course of action we’re choosing to focus on.

Cardiff is the oldest network branch, forming in January 2018, and has clocked up some impressive victories in that time. Waiting times at problem restaurants are a massive problem for couriers, with each minute you’re kept waiting being a minute you’re not getting paid for.

Official representation from the union, and just the threat of industrial action, has forced these restaurants to reduce these waiting times.

Our UberEats members in the city have seen higher boost payments as a result of organising together and have won our most impressive victory so far.

Recently, the network branch organised a strike and boycott of the UberEats feedback session, in response to Uber refusing to engage constructively with couriers’ demands. The couriers demanded that Uber directly negotiate with their IWW union rep rather than individually, and said they would not leave until that demand had been granted.

The strike and demo that was held directly outside the office. It was noisy, colourful and effective. In a first (as far as we know) for courier organising in the UK, management buckled and invited the union rep in – the first recorded instance of a gig economy courier company being forced to negotiate with a union rep in recent history.

The Glasgow network, which formed in April this year, went on strike on Monday September 10th regarding the eradication of boost payments — one of the main ways that couriers make the minimum wage.

The strike was very successful, was followed by upwards of 50 couriers, the vast majority of which have now joined the union. Uber was forced to issue a grovelling apology, blaming a “technical” error for the lack of boost payment.

We know the strike’s had an impact In the weeks since, as UberEats have attempted to rebuild their brand with customers in the city by bribing them with £10-off vouchers and free doughnuts.

On Thursday October 4th the IWW Couriers Network held the UK’s first ever national courier strike, called the #FFS410 (Fast Food Shutdown), where courier networks across the country demanded a minimum rate of £5 per delivery.

On the same day, fast food workers in McDonalds, Wetherspoons and TGiF, organised by the BFAWU and Unite were striking. We decided to make our action the same day to show solidarity, and prove our struggles are connected, even though we may work in different roles. It was the first co-ordinated strike action in the UK fast food industry for decades.

The IWGB, who also organise couriers joined the strike, as did the GMB union. Strike actions happened in London, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bristol, Plymouth, Newcastle, Birmingham and Leicester, with solidarity actions in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Wrexham, Swansea.

There’s a verse in an old IWW song, written in the 1910s when the union was at the height of organising precarious workers across the world, that’s become our network’s unofficial motto.

It’s scarily relevant, 113 years on and it’s reverberating on our demos and strikes outside delivery company offices and restaurants across the country. We want you to make it your own motto too. Whatever your struggle. Because this fight is your fight, and your fight is our fight– the gig economy doesn’t discriminate.

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
that the union makes us strong.

IWW   www.org.uk


IWW   www.org.uk

couriers.network@iww.org.uk
Facebook: IWW Couriers Network
Twitter: @IWW_Couriers

Ongoing prison Strikes: Update info from #prisonstrike media team

Statement regarding the ongoing Prison Strike in the US.

Submitted to Enough is Enough.

New confirmed prison action reports

(full list & details below)

  • Missouri: at least one prisoner on a hunger strike at Leavenworth (USP).

  • New York: strike activity at Coxsackie Correctional Facility, strike activity and boycotts at Eastern Correctional Facility.

  • Ohio: at least one block engaged in a 3 day fast on first days of the strike and a commissary boycott throughout at Ohio State Penitentiary, plus a work stoppage in late July in response to preemptive repression by staff.

  • Texas: More prisoners involved in the hunger strike at Michael Unit.Prison Strike Statement to the Press, August 28, 2018

 

Statement from prison strike media team

September 9th has passed, but it is up to the people in each prison who are participating in boycotts, hunger strikes, work strikes or sit-ins to determine the right day and time to close out their actions — from the outset, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and national organizers have endorsed local strikers to set their own end dates, or strike indefinitely. Continue reading “Ongoing prison Strikes: Update info from #prisonstrike media team”

US Prison Strike Takes us to the Dark Heart of Capitalism: Support Needed

New US Prison Strike Takes us to the Dark Heart of Capitalism

shared from LIBCOM  and Enough is Enough

Prison labour is a billion-dollar industry, and the corporate beneficiaries of this slave labour include some of the largest corporations and most widely known brands. There are literally hundreds of corporations and firms that exploit prison labour.

One year ago the largest prison labour strike in US history took place. More than 24,000 prisoners across 29 prisons in 12 states protested against exploitation and inhumane conditions.

 

 

 

It was timed to mark the anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising1 of 46 years ago over prisoners’ demands for better living conditions and political rights. Attica prisoners rioted and took control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage. When the uprising was over, at least 43 people were dead, including ten prison staff, and 33 inmates.2


see also : Two Weeks Into #PrisonStrike, Inmates Speak Out

One year on, another major prison strike is now spreading across the US and Canada which has entered into its second week. The strike began on August 21 and is set to last a total of 19 days. Naturally, it has been subjected to a media blackout by the mainstream media in the US; and reliable information about the progress of the strike is difficult to come by. Continue reading “US Prison Strike Takes us to the Dark Heart of Capitalism: Support Needed”

US prison strike .. solidarity events ..END PRISON SLAVERY

Anarchist Zines and Pamphlets Published in May 2018


  • Posted on: 11 June 2018   By: thecollective   via Sprout Distro

The following zines and pamphlets were released within the broad anarchist space during the month of May. We encourage folks to check them out, print them, share copies, and discuss them.

We produce these lists each month to help boost the visibility of anarchist publications. We try to cast a wide net with these posts, and consequently we don’t necessarily agree with nor endorse everything contained within these zines. If you have suggestions for texts to include next time, get in touch.

Previous months of these posts can be found here.

Zines and Pamphlets Published in May 2018

Montreal Counter-Information #5

mtl coutner info #5 coverThis is the winter 2018 issue of the Montreal-based counter-information publication associated with the website mtlcounterinfo.org. This issue features a variety of updates on local struggles against gentrification, the police, and fascists. There are reports from various actions that have taken place in the Montreal area, along with several pieces about anti-anarchist repression Hamilton, Ontario and a longer personal reflection in a new “Stories of Struggle” feature that uses story-telling to give “…life to our collective memory and allows us the opportunity to learn from past experiences.”

Download a Printable or Screen Reading PDF Continue reading “Anarchist Zines and Pamphlets Published in May 2018”

I dreamed I heard Joe Hill last night… Inspiring you and me… YouTube Songs

With three bullets to the heart, the State of Utah executed Joe Hill on November 19, 1915. In one of the most disputed cases to date, Joe Hill, the most prolific songwriter in the history of the Industrial Workers of the World, was convicted of murdering John Morrison, owner of Morrison Grocery, and his son Arling on the night of January 10, 1914 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Continue reading “I dreamed I heard Joe Hill last night… Inspiring you and me… YouTube Songs”

How Immigrants Built the US Left—And Can Rebuild It Again

 by Nelson Lichtenstein iww-today

Last Thursday’s “Day Without Immigrants” work stoppages, which closed hundreds of restaurants, grocery stores, garages, retail shops, and other businesses, offered a taste of the capacity for militant action wielded by immigrant America.3drumpf

Led in many cities by Latino activists calling for a “huelga general,” (General Strike) the February 16 coast-to-coast walkouts augur well for an even larger set of strikes and demonstrations, including a March 8 “Day Without a Woman” and quite possibly a May Day general strike, already endorsed by one of the Service Employees International Union’s biggest and most active California locals….

see also:  Tens of Thousands Strike, Close Businesses & March in Milwaukee for #daywithoutlatinos

dosch18

IWW strikes Victory in the Lawrence, MA, textile strike in 1912 secured the organization’s reputation for organizing immigrant … The Labor World 09-16-1906 ….. This has been the first major win in Prince Rupert for theI.W.W., Industrial Worker, 10-27-1909.

…The energy and upheaval unleashed by the Trump administration’s assault on Muslims, Latinos, and other immigrants, documented or not, has been directed toward a restoration of their rights and dignity, toward the family reunions and free passage into our country that have been happily broadcast from airports all across the country—and rightly so. Continue reading “How Immigrants Built the US Left—And Can Rebuild It Again”