Southern Maine IWW Presents: Anatole Dolgoff, Author of “Left of the Left”

A Conversation with Anatole Dolgoff,
author of Left of the Left
Tuesday, May 2, 7:00 PM
@ Local Sprouts Cooperative cafe
649 Congress Street, Portland, Maine

The Southern Maine group of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union is proud to present Anatole Dolgoff, author of AK Press’s Left of the Left: My Memories of Sam Dolgoff. Anatole will be appearing at Local Sprouts Cooperative cafe at 649 Congress Street in Portland, Maine on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:00 PM for a discussion of his book, IWW labor organizing, and his famous left activist parents, Sam and Esther Dolgoff.

Book Details:

Sam Dolgoff (1902–1990) was a house painter by trade and member of the IWW from the early 1920s until his death. Sam, along with his wife Esther, was at the center of American anarchism for seventy years, bridging the movement’s generations, providing continuity between past and present, and creating some of the most vital books and journals from the Great Depression through WWII, the Civil Rights era, and into the last decade of the century. This instant classic of radical history, written with passion and humor by his son, conjures images of a lost New York City, the faded power of immigrant and working-class neighborhoods, and the blurred lines dividing proletarian and intellectual culture.

“The American left in its classical age used to celebrate an ideal, which was the worker-intellectual—someone who toils with his hands all his life and meanwhile develops his mind and deepens his knowledge and contributes mightily to progress and decency in the society around him. Sam Dolgoff was a mythic figure in a certain corner of the radical left … and his son, Anatole, has written a wise and beautiful book about him.” —Paul Berman, author of A Tale of Two Utopias and Power and the Idealists

“If you want to read the god-honest and god-awful truth about being a radical in twentieth-century America, drop whatever you’re doing, pick up this book, and read it. Pronto! If you’re not crying within five pages, you might want to check whether you’ve got a heart and a pulse.” —Peter Cole, author of Wobblies on the Waterfront

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Insomnia Cookies Workers’ Union — Strike & Organizing Campaign Fundraiser, 22 January 2014, 7 PM

In August, employees of Cambridge, MA’s Insomnia Cookies struck, and joined the IWW. They were fed up with lousy pay and conditions. Their demands included $15/hr, health care, and a union, and they were swiftly terminated. Ever since, workers have stayed strong and maintained their struggle, which has grown into an organizing drive at the boutique cookie business.

Insomnia pays rock-bottom wages, charges $1.35 for cookies that cost the company $.10 to make, and refuses to pay workers’ compensation. Bike delivery workers report that if they get hurt in traffic, the boss’ response is, “Why are you late?” In response to a series of protests against the company’s labor practices, Insomnia falsely reported picketers were blocking the sidewalk in front of the Cambridge store, giving Harvard and Cambridge cops an excuse to bring police violence, and phony charges of assaulting cops, down on a union member.

Undeterred, the workers and their allies are keeping up pressure on the company with continuing pickets of local stores. Students at Harvard, BU and elsewhere have called for a boycott of the company. The National Labor Relations Board issued a Complaint against Insomnia for illegally firing workers for union activity. Recently SEIU Local 509 donated $1,000 to the campaign, a magnificent act of solidarity.

You can help too! Please join Insomnia strikers and their supporters at the Strike & Organizing Campaign Fundraiser, Wednesday January 22, starting at 7 pm, at the Center for Marxist Education, 550 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge (2nd floor), steps from the Central Square MBTA stop. If you can’t come to the event, please consider making a donation to the Insomnia Cookies Workers’ Organizing Fund, which is fueling the union drive.

2NITE! 7 PM, FIGHT FOR $15/HR AND A UNION! INSOMNIA COOKIES, 708 COMM AVE, BOSTON

In August, Insomnia Cookies unlawfully fired 4 workers who went on strike. All four had joined the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, a labor union). The strikers’ demands included $15/hr, health-care, and that the company not interfere with union organizing. A fifth IWW member was fired last month, after disclosing his union affiliation to his manager.

Insomnia employees were earning sub-minimum wages, some making deliveries on their own bikes until 3 a.m. or later, under pressure to ride unsafely, but after a four month campaign by the IWW, Insomnia workers now have more opportunities to take breaks. The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board, a government agency) has also issued a formal complaint against Insomnia for the illegal firings of the IWW strikers, and has set a hearing date.

However, the company continues to pay below minimum wage and does not provide Workers’ Comp benefits, blaming bike delivery workers if they get hurt in traffic. Let’s expose Insomnia’s union-busting and support fast food workers under attack!

We’ll meet this evening (Friday 12/6), starting at 7 pm, at Insomnia Cookies’ Boston location, 708 Comm Ave (BU East stop on the Green Line’s B Train) to picket the store, and let the community know the truth about the company. A short video featuring Insomnia workers explaining why they went on strike and joined the union is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o-cMS7gjBA

You can also read more about the campaign for justice at Insomnia Cookies on the Boston IWW’s blog at:
http://iwwboston.org/

Please also consider donating to the Insomnia Cookies Workers’ Strike Fund: https://www.wepay.com/donations/insomnia-cookies-workers-strike-fund

If you use Facebook, please share the event for this picket:
https://www.facebook.com/events/189263131262309/189655667889722/?notif_t=like

Insomnia Cookies Union in Boston Needs Support!

This Thursday and beyond, please support Insomnia Cookies workers in their struggle for $15/hour, health benefits, and union neutrality!

**Rally Thursday, November 14, 9:30pm, Harvard Square Insomnia Store, 65 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA**

Since August 18, five workers at the Harvard Square Insomnia Cookies have been fired for legally protected union activity. Help the Industrial Workers of the World demonstrate to Insomnia Cookies that we do not tolerate union-busting in Boston!

1. Upcoming Actions
2. Phone/Email Blitz
3. Sign the Petition
4. Donate to the Organizing Fund
5. Background of the Struggle

1. Please join Insomnia workers and other IWW members and supporters on the picket line:

-Thursday, November 14, 9:30pm, Harvard Square Insomnia Store, 65 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA

-Friday, December 6th – Picket at Harvard Sq Store, 7-8pm Harvard Square Insomnia Store, 65 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA

-Wednesday, December 11th – Service Workers Resistance forum, 7pm, Boston University – Details TBA

Can’t make the pickets? Other ways to get involved:

2. Email/Phone Blitz:

Insomnia fired IWW member Tommy Mendes after he told his boss he was a union member. Please email Tommy’s manager Ryan at ryand@insomniacookies.com, and call CEO Seth Berkowitz at (877) 632-6654 and let him know Tommy should be reinstated with back pay! For more details about the strugle at Insomnia, read the “background” at the bottom of this email.

3. Sign the petition to support the strikers’ demands:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TLCetxHNxmGHk57FD1Sy9KAtUNHXP5alQWrgxPcb-Lk/viewform

4. Donate to the Insomnia Organizing and Strike Fund:

https://www.wepay.com/donations/insomnia-cookies-workers-strike-fund

5. Background:

At 12:00 am on Sunday, August 18th, the night shift at the Harvard Square Insomnia Cookies voted unanimously to initiate a strike for higher wages, healthcare, and freedom to build a union. They were fired immediately. On Tuesday, August 20th, all four strikers joined the Industrial Workers of the World, and launched a public campaign to achieve their goals. The workers filed legal charges against the company, and partnered with students at Harvard and Boston University (where Insomnia opened a second location in September) to hold pickets at both locations.

Two months later, on October 24th another worker, Tommy Mendes, was fired shortly after he declared his union affiliation to his supervisor. Tommy, a baker at the Harvard Square Insomnia Cookies, joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) after his coworkers declared their strike. According to management Tommy was fired because his register was short, but the camera trained at the register proves Tommy is blameless. The IWW believes Tommy is a target of Insomnia Cookies? ongoing union-busting, and the union is prepared to escalate until Tommy and the 4 strikers are reinstated with full back pay.

For more information about the Insomnia Cookies campaign, find us Online:
https://www.facebook.com/insomniaunion
http://iwwboston.org/

To reach the Boston IWW:
Email: iww.boston@riseup.net
Phone Number: 617-863-7920
Mailing Address: PO Box 391724
Cambridge, MA 02139
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BostonIWW/

SMIWW at First Friday Art Walk in Portland, 12/7

https://i2.wp.com/static01.iww.us/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/b/l/blackbaseballfront.jpeg

Southern Maine Wobblies will be tabling near Congress Square (corner of Congress and High) in Portland tomorrow, December 7, from about 5-8 PM as part of the First Friday Art Walk. We’ll be handing out free literature and selling hats (see image at right), stickers, patches, posters, pennants, books, and other items from the IWW Literature Department. See you there!

UPDATE: Tabling canceled due to rain, sorry!

S15: International Day of Solidarity with Australian Domino’s Pizza Delivery Drivers

Domino's Workers' Solidarity

Please contact the Southern Maine IWW if you would like to participate in solidarity actions this Saturday, September 15th (all day — by phone, e-mail, or in person) for the Aussie Domino’s drivers, who just got hit with a 19% pay cut. Below is more info on the struggle from GTWA.org.au:

“The ASF is calling on all sections of the International Workers Association (IWA), their friends and supporters to take protest action around the world on September 15 in support of the campaign for wage justice for delivery drivers who have had their wages cut 19% arbitrarily by Domino’s Pizza Enterprises management.”

Some suggestions for taking action:

“Raise awareness of the GTWA with not only your local Domino’s pizza drivers, but with others in the general transport industry and encourage them to join our effort. It could be any one of us next.

Tell everyone you know that the SDA called for an adjournment of the termination of a 2001 agreement, with no fixed date for an agreement to be made required of Domino’s. This effectively sold out the drivers. Terminating the 2001 agreement would have hopefully had the drivers on a wage at least equivalent to the national safety net minimum wage * (see Key Point 1)

On the 15th of September, attend or organise a protest outside a Domino’s store. Let the franchisees and Domino’s know that the business practices of Domino’s Pizza Enterprises are not something that will be forgotten, and there are workers fighting back.

On the 15th of September, visit Domino’s on Facebook or contact form and let them know you are not happy with how they operate their business and why.

Let the drivers know we are there to protest the company and not them if attending a protest. You are standing alongside them because when these practices are not confronted, anyone in any industry could be next.

Please don’t ‘out’ drivers on social media or at demonstrations without their permission, only in collective action can we be protected in casual labour.

This is not a boycott as that takes work away from the drivers.

Get in touch with us if you plan on running an event, we would love to know!

KEY POINTS FOR NEGOTIATION & DISCUSSION

The basic rate of pay must always be at least equivalent to the national safety net minimum wage prescribed by FWA which will include casual loading to casual employees. For an adult driver of 21 years & over this would currently be basic rate of $15.96 per hour + casual loading of 23 % = $3.67 giving a minimum wage of $19.63 per hour.

That notwithstanding anything else in any agreement, under no circumstances whatsoever will the minimum wage payable by Domino’s ever fall below the national prescribed minimum wage by FWA and that all employees engaged on a casual basis shall have the casual loading prescribed by FWA in the minimum wage safety net included in the minimum wage payable to any casual employee.

Payment of wages at the normal rate of pay (which will include casual loading to casual employees) shall be paid to all employees required to complete any training or attend any meeting whether that training or meeting is held in-store, via the Domino’s training website DOTTI or by any other means. Payment of wages will be made for the period of time taken by the employee to complete the training specified by Domino’s.

All tips received by drivers shall remain the sole property of the driver to whom they are given. At no time and under no circumstance will Domino’s ever be entitled to any tip money received by any driver.

All hours worked by any employee regardless of what employment status the employee may hold will be paid for by the employer Domino’s at the appropriate rate of pay. This will include all hours worked before, during and after any trading hours of any store.

That Domino’s agrees to make good faith progress with workers towards including all casual staff to public holiday rates equivalent in ratio to those entitlements currently received by full-time, and part-time employees to the extent that by 2014, all casual workers including drivers be paid at the rate of double-time for all hours of work performed on public holidays.”

UPDATE 8 OCTOBER 2012:

Check this link for a great story from an IWW picket of a Domino’s in Berkeley, California from S15:


http://www.frwu.net/2012/thedominosfall/

Bread and Roses Heritage Festival on Labor Day, 9/3

The Southern Maine IWW will be hosting a table at the Bread and Roses Heritage Festival this Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. We’ll be bringing merchandise for sale and information for free, and we’ll also be signing up new members to the union.

The Bread and Roses Heritage Committee curiously does not mention the IWW in their account of the famous Bread and Roses Strike of 1912, as we played a central role in organizing the strikers, but here’s their description of the festival:

“The Bread and Roses Heritage Festival is a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, Ma. This annual festival is celebrated on Labor Day in order to honor the most significant event in Lawrence history: the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike.

We memorialize the event with a variety of music and dance, poetry and drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, and walking and trolley tours, all on or starting from Lawrence’s Common. We also host organizations continuing the struggle for social justice today.

Bread and Roses is the only broadly multicultural festival in Lawrence, the Immigrant City. And it is the only festival in the region, which celebrates the true spirit of Labor Day, in the most appropriate location, the site of the Bread and Roses Strike.

The festival is a one-day ‘open air’ celebration.

The date for this year’s celebration is September 3, 2012 and historically runs from 12 to 7pm.

Thank you to everyone who attended, organized, volunteered, performed, donated, and supported the 2011 Bread & Roses Festival!

To see the 2012 full line up please visit our Schedule page.”

UPDATE: Bread and Roses 2012 was a great time! Here’s a pic of some Boston, Southern Maine, and NH Wobs with the mayor of Lawrence: