What is the IWW?

The IWW is a rank-and-file-run, international union for all workers, dedicated to organizing both on and off the job, in our industries and our communities. We are not affiliated with any political party. We organize the worker and the job, meaning that, unlike most unions, you carry your membership with you no matter what job you have, including if you are unemployed. Because we are a democratic, member-run union, decisions about what issues to address and what tactics to pursue are made by the workers directly involved. Our dues are lower than any other union, and how dues money is spent is determined by the members themselves. We believe in the power of rank-and-file direct action, shop floor organization and class solidarity, both to win better economic conditions and to build a world without bosses.

Announcing: the “Chicago May Day 2015 Radical Coalition”

The Chicago IWW​ is excited to announce the formation of the “Chicago May Day 2015 Radical Coalition” with organizations including:
(1)The Chicago Socialist Party (2) FURIE – Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation​
(3) Chicago Torture – Justice Memorials​ Project.

Chicago IWW members at the Haymarket Memorial - May Day 2007

Chicago IWW members at the Haymarket Memorial – May Day 2007

Is your organization interested in joining the
Chicago May Day​ 2015 Radical Coalition?
(1) Read and agree to our coalition principles bellow. (2) Send an e-mail to: May1Chicago@gmail.com to request to join.
The first coalition meeting will be April 1st!


  1. We agree to promote direct action during and alongside our planned May Day activities

  2. We agree to promote a distinctly anti-capitalist message which encourages industrial democracy and condemns bigotry of any kind, including, but not limited to: sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and/or sizeism.

  3. We agree to promote a world without borders or prisons and to the condemnation of selling out our fellow workers for the benefit of the few who appeal to the moral standards of our oppressors.

  4. We uphold our commitment to reason, logic, and scientific principles and our agreement to leave all spiritual and/or religious elements out of any of our messaging during May Day events, whether it be spoken, written, or otherwise presented.

  5. We uphold our commitment to refrain from direct promotion or endorsement of any political candidates or parties during May Day Events which falls outside of representing any coalition organizations and their names and to condemn aggressive recruitment which detracts from our shared message and goal.

  6. We uphold our commitment to refrain from selling any materials during the May Day march or rally, whether at a stated cost or for a suggested donation.

  7. We uphold our commitment to work together to promote class consciousness and to build a militant working class movement which includes, but strives to be larger than, our individual political ideologies and organizations.

The Chicago IWW’s “Red and Black Brigade” takes over the Haymarket Memorial during last year’s May Day March from Union Park.

Report Back: International Working Women’s Day

For more than a century, March 8th, or International (Working) Women’s Day (IWWD), has been dedicated to working class women’s resistance.  The holiday is traditionally celebrated by honoring the history of revolutionary women and taking action to demand working class women’s liberation, bridging the gap between feminism and class struggle.


Feminist Uprising Against Inequality and Exploitation (FURIE) led the effort to revitalize the radical working class history of the holiday, organizing an International Working Women’s Day event consisting of a rally at the Haymarket Memorial followed by a march for women’s liberation, which ended at Union Park.

The Chicago IWW is proud to have co-sponsored this event in coordination with FURIE as well as the Socialist Party and the International Socialist Organization.


IWWD dates back to the garment workers’ picket in New York City on March 8, 1857, when women workers demanded a 10-hour workday, better working conditions, and equal rights for women. Fifty-one years later on March 8, 1908, a group of New York needle trades women workers went on strike in honor of their sisters from the garment workers’ strike of 1857, where they demanded an end to sweatshop and child labor.


In 1910, at a meeting of The Second International, German socialist Clara Zetkin proposed that March 8 be celebrated as International Women’s Day to commemorate both previously mentioned strikes and lay a fertile ground for working women’s resistance and organizing across the globe.


This year’s rally included readings of memorable historical speeches penned by revolutionary women of the past as well as messages of solidarity, reflections on IWWD, and calls to take action against patriarchy, capitalism, and all forms of oppression voiced by representatives of the organizations sponsoring the event.


Chicago IWW member, delegate, and officer Alison had the opportunity to speak on behalf of the branch during the International Working Women’s Day rally, giving the following speech:

Sister Workers, have you heard this?

A woman’s place is in the kitchen. A woman’s place is in the bedroom. A woman’s place is in the nursery. A woman’s place is in the union hall. It’s no coincidence that the only one you haven’t heard is the only one that is true.

One hundred and ten years ago, a feminist, anarchist, and union organizer named Lucy Parsons stood before the founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World and proclaimed “We, women, are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men. Whenever wages are to be reduced the capitalist class uses women to reduce them, and if there is anything that you men should do in the future it is to organize the women”.

Luckily, the others present at the IWW’s founding listed to her advice and the IWW became the first union to organize across the lines of gender, race, ethnicity, color, language, industry, trade, skill, and employment status. The IWW became the one big union, the union for all members of the working class, standing by the motto of ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’ .

Fighting for the liberation of all workers necessitates doing more than organizing workplaces and building collective power on the job. It means fighting all forces of oppression which affect all members of the working class in intersecting ways- economic exploitation, alienation from one’s labor, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, incarceration, nationalism  and patriarchy.

Capitalism is designed to perpetuate the economic structures which keep material power in the hands of the ruling class, chaining the working class into wage slavery. Capitalism is also designed to maintain the social forces which divide the working class in order to prevent them from uniting against their truest enemy, their bosses. Capitalism relies on the oppression of the majority to maintain the power of the minority, and oppression thrives in the crushing inequality and desperation caused by the capitalists theft of our labor and our freedom.

The relationship between patriarchy and capitalism is one of mutual benefit, creating a situation in which women are subjected to interwoven forces of economic and social domination. Not only are women expected to wait on their husbands and children hand and foot without pay, they must also wait on others for a fraction of men’s already inadequate wages.This is the economics of capitalist patriarchy: if it doesn’t make a profit, make women do it for less.

Those who profit from our exploitation know the revolutionary potential of a class conscious women’s movement. They knew our power in 1857 when they attacked the garment workers’ picket in New York City where women workers demanded a 10-hour workday, better working conditions, and equal rights. They knew our power in 1912 when they arrested striking women in the textile mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts, for demanding not just bread, but roses too. They know the threat organized militant working women pose today, or they wouldn’t be writing our successes out of their history books.

We must not allow the history of International Womens’ Day to be diluted by a bourgeois agenda, much the way Labor Day has replaced May Day as the widely celebrated working-class holiday in the United States. The true working class roots of International Womens’ Day must not be forgotten.

Another revolutionary woman and IWW member, the Rebel Girl, Elizabeth Flynn, once said that “The IWW has been accused of putting the women in the front. The truth is- the IWW does not keep them at the back- and they go to the front”

I am deeply honored to come to speak to you on behalf of the Chicago Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World. I am proud to follow the fine tradition of wobbly women who come to the front.

Women have always been leaders of the labor movement.

Working women are forced intro class-consciousness by a patriarchal society of wage gaps, discriminatory hiring, withholding of gender-specific health care, and a denial of bodily autonomy or self determination, all of which points to where we stand on the capitalist pyramid and, let me tell you, it’s not on the top.

We’re sick of three quarters on the dollar, we’re sick of unpaid domestic labor, we’re sick of unrealistic expectations of beauty, we’re sick of being subject to violence and abuse, and we’re sick of being legislated literally inside and out.

There is no hope for emancipation in this class society so we must change this society all together. We must continue forward in the spirit of our sisters who went on strike in 1857 and 1912, fighting to abolish patriarchy and sexism alongside capitalism.

After all, who are we as feminists if we let the prospect of a woman CEO cast a shadow over a single mother facing eviction because their full time job pays a starvation wage?

Who are we as feminists if we prop up a female candidate for president while apologizing for her stance on the criminalization of sex workers, disregarding their struggle for physical safety and economic security?

Who are we as feminists, if we look up to outspoken female celebrities who say how far we have come in our struggle against oppression, without admitting to ourselves how far we have to go to finally reach liberation?

Who are we if we call ourselves feminists and ignore the class war being waged on our sister workers and ourselves?

Women must always be leaders of the labor movement.

We must go to the front of the picket line.

We must go to the front of our own distinctly feminist organizations.and ensure that, as we fight the bosses, we also challenge sexism and patriarchy within our organizations and within the working class movement.

Women have come to the front today.

We have come to celebrate our history, not only as women, but as working women and as feminist workers.

We have come together today, united in the struggle for the liberation of our sisters and of our class.

We have come together today to work towards the revolution.

Working women, hear me!

The revolution begins when we go to the front.

Announcing the Chicago IWW March Social Event: Movie Night Double Feature – Lucio and Union Maids – Saturday, March 28 at 6:00pm

Join the Chicago Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World Saturday, March 28, to watch the movies “Lucio” and “Union Maids” at the Chicago Branch office at 1700 S Loomis.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/801430386577923

Lucio- 2007
“Lucio Urtubia dedicated anarchist participated in notorious kidnappings, he collaborated with Che Guevara, he swindled Citibank of 3,000 million pesetas. And did it all without missing a day’s work as a building laborer.”

Union Maids- 1976
“Union Maids is a 1976 American documentary film directed by Jim Klein, Julia Reichert and Miles Mogulescu. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. This is the story of three women who were part of the rank and file labor movement during the tumultuous 1930’s. Their lives were like many other young working women, but all three rose to the demands of their time and became militant organizers for their class.”

Any and all people interested are welcome to attend. If you are a new or perspective member, come and learn about the union and meet local members in a casual and open environment.

Come get to know us!


Lucio- 6pm start time

Union Maids- 8pm start time

Feel free to arrive early to chat or pay dues. If you cannot stay to see both films, you can be here for either one.

Stick around after the movie ends for a social evening with much merriment to be had!

The Chicago IWW is Co-Hosting “International Working Women’s Day” March and Rally with FURIE – Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation

The Chicago IWW is proud to be a cosponsor of FURIE – Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation‘s International Working Women’s Day March and Rally.

We are also excited to announce that our Organizing Committee Officers will be presenting a speech during the event’s rally.

Be sure to make it out to the International Working Women’s Day event to show your support for woman organizers,  including the fight against patriarchy in the class struggle, and  working class feminism!



Join us for a rally at the Haymarket Memorial followed by a march to Union Park!

Bring your sashes, your picket signs, your voice, and your friends and co-workers!

In 1910, at the Second International Conference of Working Women, German revolutionary Clara Zetkin brought forward the question of organizing an International Working Women’s Day. The conference decided that every year, in every country, they should celebrate on the same day a “Women’s Day” under the slogan “The vote for women will unite our strength in the struggle for socialism.” The March 8th holiday became a day to mobilize working class women against capitalism.

In March of 1917 (late February in the old Russian Calendar) Russian women workers lead a mass strike for bread and peace that began the revolution, the first and only example we have when the working class successfully came to power.

Without women, there is no revolution!

Join us as we reclaim the revolutionary history of Women’s Day.

Organized by:
FURIE – Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation

Cosponsoring Organizations:
Chicago IWW
Chicago Socialists – ISO
Chicago Socialist Party
American Party of Labor
UIC United Faculty Local 6456
UIC Graduate Employees Organization

WTF is the IWW? & How Do You Hold a Good Meeting?


Are you interested in organizing your workplace, building working class consciousness and power, and fighting for a world without bosses?

Are you sick of disorganized, unproductive, and inconsistent meetings?

Do you want to learn how to hold meetings which are shorter, democratic, and more productive?

Do you want to learn more about the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and how to get involved?

Join the Chicago Branch of the IWW on Saturday March 14th for an interactive workshop which will begin at 12:00pm and last approximately three hours. The workshop will be held at the Chicago IWW’s Office at 1700 s Loomis. Light refreshments will be served.

This workshop will provide an introduction to:

    • Capitalism, class relations, and the importance of workplace organizing
    • The IWW and its vision, strategy, structure, and current campaigns
    • The importance of good meeting procedure, how to facilitate a meeting, how to take meeting minutes, how to write a good proposal, and the building blocks of Rusty’s Rules of Order

The workshop will conclude with an open Q & A.

All workers are welcome!

There will be no charge to attend this workshop, but donations are always welcome.

Workshop hosted by the Chicago IWW

RSVP to Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1534115130209433/

Report Back: Organizer Training 101 hosted by the Chicago IWW Jan 24th & 25th

An Organizer Training 101 (OT 101) is a comprehensive two day workshop which teaches the basic steps to build a workplace organizing committee and to win demands through collective action.

We are extremely excited that almost all of those who attended the OT 101 had never previously attended a workplace organizing training and that two new members were signed up to the IWW at the event. We look forward to seeing these new organizers build worker power and improve their workplace conditions in the coming months and years!

Those who attended the OT 101 came from diverse backgrounds and industries and greatly enriched the training through their high levels of participation and the wide variety of questions, examples, and ideas they presented. Everyone who attended reported that they enjoyed themselves, learned a lot, and thought the event was a great success.

We feel that the OT 101 is one of the best ways to learn the IWW’s strategies and tactics for workplace organizing and is an essential training for all Wobblies to attend before beginning to organize at work.

Because of this, we plan to begin hosting an OT 101 at least 4 times each year, so be sure to stay tuned for information on the next OT 101 in the coming months.

If you are organizing at work, have not attended an OT 101, and do not see one scheduled in the near future, be sure to let us know so we can set up an additional training for you and your co-workers!

Valentines Day Dinner with the Chicago IWW

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Facebook Event Here

Join the Chicago General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World for an early celebration of working class love at our Valentines Day Diner!

Invite your sweetheart or come to make friends at our ‘One Big Table’.

You can choose one of two delicious home cooked Italian meals to enjoy with an assortment of beer, wine, and soft drinks. This event is vegan friendly and desserts and sweets will be available!

The Valentines Day Dinner will take place on Saturday, February 7th at 5:00 at our Branch Office at 1700 S Loomis.

Diner will be served promptly at 6:30. Come early to socialize with old comrades, make new friends, and order your meal of choice!

There will be a sliding scale cover charge of $10 to $20 a plate.

If you wish to attend but cannot donate or if you have any special dietary needs please contact ChicagoIWWOC@gmail.com

Report Back: FURIE’s “Dance Party to Counter Protest IL ‘March for Life'”

FURIE, or Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation; is a newly formed “radically inclusive grassroots feminist organization” here in Chicago. They are definitely an organization to keep an eye on and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future. To learn more about FURIE, check out their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chicagofurie

On Sunday, January 18th, members of the Chicago IWW GMB grabbed some flags and a megaphone and caught a bus downtown to attend FURIE’s “Dance Party to Counter Protest IL ‘March for Life’”.

“Why would a labor union show up to an action for women’s reproductive rights?” You ask.

Remember, the IWW stands for the liberation of all members of the working class. This means doing more than organizing at work – it means fighting oppression in all its forms, such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and, of course, sexism. Furthermore, the IWW firmly stands against patriarchy and all of it’s manifestations, including the policing of women’s bodies.

Anyway, back to the event! We arrived just as the counter protesters finished marching across federal plaza to take a stand across the street from the ‘pro-life’ rally. We found over 100 strong and rightfully angry women standing up for their reproductive rights and countless male comrades standing in solidarity.

Pro-choice and pro-women activists shouted chants including  “Not the church, not the state, women must decide our fate”, “Pro-life your name’s a lie – you don’t care if women die”, “Queer, straight, black, white – all unite for women’s rights”, and  “Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay, Right Wing Bigots, Go Away!”.

I was honored to help lead chants and to spread the message of women’s liberation. It was also extremely exciting to see a few old friends alongside an inspiring amount of new faces in the street.

The action continued with an energetic march through the loop, a moving speakout, and, of course, a dance party! I stayed for a couple hours and was still sad to leave before the action ended but, unfortunately, we haven’t overthrown capitalism yet, and I had to head to work.

Want to learn more about the work the IWW does to fight patriarchy and stand up for women’s rights?
Check out the Gender Equity Committee (GEC) Facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/GenderEquityCommitteeIWW

In Solidarity,


Photos from the Event:


Women’s’ Rights Activists Gathering Alongside Federal Plaza as Police “Protect” Anti-Choice Protestors


“No Borders, No Prisons, No Occupations. Only Feminist Liberation”


Women Share their Stories at the Post-March Speak Out


“Keep Abortion Safe & Legal”


Chicago IWW member leading a chant on a megaphone. She was later interviewed by ABC 7 News about the importance of reproductive rights.


“Abortion on Demand and Without Apology”. I think this one is my personal favorite.


Wobbly Flags Flying High alongside Women’s Rights Activists


Look at all those people! Thanks to everyone who came out to support women’s liberation!

Report Back: January GMB Social Event, the “New Years Weekend After Party”

Happy 2015!

On January 10th the Chicago Branch of the IWW rang in the new year with a social event and fundraiser party dubbed the “New Years Weekend After Party”.

We had a great time listening to live music from branch member and DJ, Doug, drinking delicious home brewed cider from the Anarchist Brewing Collective, making new friends, having conversations with old comrades, and partying the night away.

We are proud to announce that we raised over $100 during the event. We also want to send a warm welcome to all the new members who signed up at the event and say thank you to all those could not attend but who still sent along donations to fund current and future branch organizing projects.

I hope you all had fun, I know I did!

Be sure to join us next month at the Chicago IWW GMB’s February Social Event, the “Valentine’s Day Dinner”, on Saturday Febuary 7th, at 5:00pm at our Branch Office at 1700 s Loomis.


Drinks are ready to pour and the table is filled with snacks


Old Comrades and New Friends


DJ Doug ready to play amazing Rock n Roll, R&B, and Rockabilly all night long


One of our Newest members getting their first Red Card


Post-New Year’s Count Down Selfie ;)

In Solidarity,