21 December 2007

IWW Erotic Service Providers Union

This should have a lot of resonance for people in Vancouver, especially with the Pickton trial. We've had a media circus, but have we done to help street workers and erotic service providers? Our friends in San Francisco are leading by example: organize.

19 December 2007

Boycott Sun-Rype

Labour dispute for Sun-Rype Teamster members drags on:

Dec. 17, 2007

Striking Sun-Rype workers remain united despite attacks on picketers, the company's attempt to bypass the union and negotiating committee, the onset of cold weather and the approach of winter holidays.

The 260 Teamsters went on strike at 7 a.m. on Tuesday Nov. 6. Issues of concern include contracting out, job security and wages and benefits. The collective agreement expired on Aug. 31, 2006. No further talks are scheduled at this time.

The company sent its latest offer directly to employees, bypassing the union and the negotiating committee.

The union members are pleased with a recent decision from the Labour Relations Board. They went to the board looking for a declaration that the company was in violation of Section 68 regarding replacement workers. The company was using strikebreakers to haul apples. The LRB agreed with the union's position.

For extensive information about this strike in Kelowna please go to: http://www.teamsters213.org/

4 December 2007

Next IWW Vancouver Meeting

The next IWW meeting will be taking place on a special date: December 19th, 7PM at Spartacus Books (319 West Hastings St.)

Normally, we have our meetings on the last Wednesday of every month, but with the holidays coming we decided to have this meeting a bit sooner.

All are welcome to attend and we hope to see you there.

2 December 2007

From Miami to Vancouver

I'm going to post a link to a video and a story below that I really urge you to all to watch and read. It is quite powerful, in and of itself, but even more so because of the striking similarities between the city in question, Miami, and our own Vancouver.

"Wake Up Fisher Island" - http://alternet.org/blogs/video/69445/

For all intents and purposes: this is Vancouver. We have the wealthiest postal code in Canada bordering right on the poorest postal code in Canada. We have gated communities in Whistler, Shaughnessy and Yaletown, meanwhile we have people working for five dollars an hour on the Canada Line and living in sheds out in the farms.

We have students attending "private colleges" that are opening for classes one day, and closed for good the next -- along with the student's money. Women working the streets and disappearing with not a sound made about it until such a time as the body count is high enough to warrant a media circus. But only about the trial -- not about providing social services, education, or even protection for these individuals forced to sell their bodies. That doesn't sell papers, after all.

Our province, for four years now, has had the highest child poverty rate in the country, in Canada the poor officially pay more taxes than the top 1% and wealth disparity, in general, is at an all time high.

Meanwhile, our provincial legislature, specifically the government, votes to give itself 29% pay hikes, all the while refusing to even consider raising the minimum wage to a measly 10 dollars.

But, thank God, at least live in the Greatest Place on Earth™, right?


1 December 2007

A Short Comment on the French Strikes

The following is a short commentary by a fellow wobbly from the Vancouver branch. The views expressed are no necessarily those of the union:

French transit workers have returned to work this past week amidst talks between the unions and the government. The general strikes were triggered by right-wing president Nicolas Sarkozy's attempt at changing current French labour laws that allow workers in difficult occupations to retire and receive pensions after working 37.5 years as opposed to 40. The proposed reforms would affect over 500,000 public employees. In order to oppose Sarkozy's attempts at weakening organised labour in France, bus, train, and subway drivers went off work on November 13th.

This event exemplifies the usefulness of all workers within an industry walking off the job to show solidarity with one another. Contrast this with the lack of support individual groups of strikers are often shown here in Canada by their fellow workers on other jobsites. The IWW saying "an injury to one is an injury to all" more or less sums up the French workers' actions these past weeks.

The strike also provides yet another case of the French working-class' commitment to using direct action to improve their situation. The French state has a more robust system of public healthcare than most, for example, the result of the struggles of organised workers to gain and preserve such a system. The most dramatic incident of direct action in France in recent history is likely the general strike of 1968 which involved 6 million workers and, combined with the efforts of revolutionary students, very nearly toppled the De Gaulle government of the time.

The continued attempts by workers to struggle for the retention of the gains they have made and the expansion of those gains is an important tool in the struggle against capitalism. The lessons learned and gains made in every general strike, walkout, or slowdown are vital and are the basis of the continuing process of creating an economic system based upon common ownership and democratic planning.