ORGANIZED WORKERS ARE STRONG TOGETHER
Jobs can be hard to find these days. You may have heard some smug employer lecture about how you should be glad to even have a job, and how you shouldn’t complain about how you are treated or how poorly you are paid. Even if your boss acts as if he cares about you, you only have to look around your place of employment to see that what he really cares about are profits. In most cases, the profits generated by any business comes primarily from the labor of the workers with little or no actual work from the bosses and owners except the counting of the money. Your boss wants to keep as much money as possible from the earnings of the business, but to do so they have to pay you as little as possible, and spend as little as possible on the business itself.
In order to prevent the slave-like conditions of 19th century America and many third world countries, labor laws were passed in the United states, requiring employers to guarantee a minimum wage, provide breaks from work for rest and lunch, and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Unfortunately, employers often see these guarantees as unnecessary expenses to them, and try to cheat their workers out of what is provided for them by law. Workers who experience such problems as unpaid wages, pay below the minimum wage, non-compensated over-time, denial of time for breaks, unsafe or unhealthy work environments, discrimination, or sexual harassment are often afraid that there is nothing that they can do about these abuses.
Individual workers who try to fight back on the job usually find they are ineffective, and are often subjected to harassment, disciplined without cause, or fired. If you have a problem, you may be afraid to complain. This is why labor unions were first formed. By joining together in a union, such as the IWW, workers are far more powerful when confronting their boss about workplace injustices. Problems that seem insurmountable to you alone are often easier to correct when you act as part of a group of employees. When you have a group behind you, you have a lot say in the day to day operations of your workplace, as well as more resources to draw upon to help you make things right. It also makes it harder for the boss to get away with things if it is no longer just your word against theirs. Unfortunately, if your workplace is not currently organized, many unions will simply not want to get involved. The IWW is different.
THE IWW FIGHTS FOR WORKERS AND BUILDERS WORKER’S POWER
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) is a different sort of labor union. Believing in the strengths and abilities of average working people, the IWW is controlled by you and me, its members. By understanding how the work places are run and where our power lies as workers, we can develop the tactics to get everything workers deserve. Any worker in any workplace regardless of size or structure is welcome in the IWW. Only bosses (defined as those with direct power to hire and fire, or who make their money off of the toil of others) are excluded from IWW membership.
The IWW believes that by acting in solidarity, in union, we are building a new world in the shell of the old. Through our union of solidarity we will create a free world with the good things of life available for all. When you need a friend in the Labor movement, the IWW is ready to help you with your labor problems. We provide free technical assistance, labor counseling, and legal aid assistance to help you to settle your labor disputes. IWW members are all working people, like you, so we understand the problems you are facing. Our members have a wide variety of skills and personal contacts which can be used to help you win your struggle and make things right in your workplace. The IWW fights to give workers control over their salaries, working conditions, workplace responsibilities, job training, health care, child care, and in many other areas. Unlike other unions, we do not view these things as “benefits”, but as the true cost of doing business which the bosses should be obligated to pay.
“WAGE SLAVERY OR STARVATION” ISN’T A CHOICE, IT’S A THREAT
The clearest examples of wage slavery in America today are the minimum wage jobs and sweatshops where workers submit to the most menial, humiliating, and unhealthy work conditions for a salary that won’t even pay the rent. When workers on these jobs get sick and can not work, they often lose their jobs, because their bosses don’t allow sick time, or provide medical insurance. Owners and managers get rich from the labor of workers who toil under these conditions because the work relationship is a coercive relationship. The boss can fire or lay-off people at will, with no real cost to him or his company, but his workers must work under the threat of going hungry or homeless, or watching their families suffer if they should lose their jobs and can’t find work.
Business likes unemployment and homelessness, because it keeps the cost of labor down. When unemployment is on the rise, and workers complain about wages or conditions, they are told that they should be glad they have a job! Meanwhile, we are not supposed to notice that Corporate America’s huge profits have always been stolen from our labor!
Labor law gives you the opportunity to complain in court, but if you really want to have a say as to how you are treated on the job, you and your fellow workers need to get organized! If you are willing to organize at your job site by talking to co-workers about the issues that effect them, then you can count on your fellow workers in the IWW to lend their full support to your cause. Remember, the IWW is not like other unions. It is a do-it-yourself union, organized by the workers themselves. The IWW’s strength comes from its members, not from some bureaucracy that is more interested in maintaining itself than in fighting for its members’ rights! Our union can provide tangible, community based resources, like low cost printing, speakers, legal advice on tactics, and how-to manuals. With the IWW you have a friend to help you when you need it, but you are always in charge. After all, you do the work and you know what is best for yourself and your fellow workers.
JOIN THE IWW AND BUILD THE ONE BIG UNION TODAY!