26 February 2012

Autonomous and Anonymous

At our local IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) meetings, we talk in depth about the realities of what we as a branch can offer workers here in BC, and specifically how we can offer protection. We realize that without having the financial and institutional backing that a larger union in BC might have, we don’t have much to offer workers in terms of protection. It became obvious after much discussion that it would be more beneficial to find a group that cannot be represented by a bigger union in the first place. An industry where coping mechanisms are used day-to-day already to facilitate Direct Unionism, and where workers already have a sense of the industry's issues and setbacks. We unanimously decided that we put all of our energy into building awareness amongst the workers in the service industry in order to provide them with viable strategies accessible within our community, to fight bosses and self-organize.

This means spreading awareness across the board, creating relationships outside of work between coworkers, sharing stories, identifying industry issues and limits, and how workers can use their combined experience to make their Direct Unionism the most effective.

Especially now, at a time in Canada when the service industry is the largest-growing but yet remains the least protected, it might be time to focus on the dynamics of the service industry and what is allowable in terms of getting through to employees and being able to illustrate to them, through small possible actions, that there is power in numbers. In order for this to work entirely, the IWW may need to prioritize and adapt to these immediate needs.

Full Article Here: Direct Unionism in Practice: Undermining Service Industry Barriers to Worker Solidarity (via Libcom)

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