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.

The IWW’s Environmental Unionism Caucus: Where Green, Red, and Black Come Together

This new caucus within the IWW serves to promote a greater union between environmentalism and unionism. It is within workers’ power to shut down environmentally destructive industries simply by refusing to work. This could become a key dimension in environmental struggles in the coming years.

http://ecology.iww.org/

December 2013 Issue of the Industrial Worker

http://www.scribd.com/doc/188365568/Industrial-Worker-Issue-1761-December-2013

Hot off the presses… Wobbly news! Physical copies are available at Jet Video and elsewhere.

Headlines:
* Fast-Food Unionism: The Unionization Of McDonald’s & The McDonaldization of Unions
* Starbucks Workers Union Strike In Chile
* Wobblies Fight Neo-Nazis In North Dakota

Features:
* Perspectives on IWW Strategy & Tactics
* How I Got Fired And Won My Job Back
* Nonviolent Direct Action & The Early IWW

Recent back-issues:

November 2013
http://www.scribd.com/doc/180792890/Industrial-Worker-Issue-1760-November-2013

October 2013
http://www.scribd.com/doc/172324682/Industrial-Worker-Issue-1759-October-2013

September 2013
http://www.scribd.com/doc/164696663/Industrial-Worker-Issue-1758-September-2013

Starbucks Workers “Come Together” across Supply Chain in Global Action for Justice at Coffee Giant

[news below from the IWW-led Starbucks Workers Union]

Major actions in Seattle and New Zealand (home of Pactiv’s billionaire owner) and 15-20 other locations starting November 25

SEATTLE–Workers at Starbucks and its suppliers and their allies are hitting the streets today and all week to demand that company CEO Howard Schultz practice what he preaches: respect workers at his company and at suppliers. In the wake of a report by 24/7 Wall Street naming Starbucks as one of the top ten American poverty-wage employers, a global day of action on November 25th will unite factory workers who make Starbucks’ trademark cups with baristas across the world who fill the cups with caffeine and sugar concoctions, with actions planned in 15-20 cities. The actions highlight the hypocrisy of CEO Howard Schultz, who has drawn criticism for repeatedly forcing workers to advance his political agenda under the “come together” slogan, while busting unions when his own employees “came together” for a voice on the job, and sourcing from companies that do the same.

“Pactiv in Stockton, CA makes cups and packaging for Starbucks and fast food companies. Starbucks has the power to stop Pactiv from cutting our wages and benefits and threatening our middle class way of life. They need to ensure that all workers at its stores and suppliers are paid a living wage and treated fairly. We are “coming together” to ask Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for help. And we will keep doing what it takes to defend workers’ rights at Starbucks and its suppliers”, said Casey Freeman, President of the Pactiv Union in Stockton, CA (AWPPW 83).

“Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is part of the problem in America. He gobbled up $28.9 million in pay last year alone while we baristas made less than $9 an hour on average, even though we produced over $1.4 billion in profit for the company. So we’re ‘coming together’ on our own to ask him to spread the wealth- create good jobs at Starbucks and insist on fairness at its suppliers,” said Samantha Cole, a barista and member of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union.

The coalition unites the manufacturing workers at Pactiv who make Starbucks cups in Stockton and are fighting cuts to pay and benefits along with Chilean baristas who recently struck to bring Starbucks into compliance with collective bargaining law, and US baristas who are demanding fair pay, consistent scheduling, and an end to understaffing at the chain. The workers are members of four different independent unions and a workers’ center- the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW), Sindicato de Starbucks Chile, the IWW Starbucks Workers Union.

“We have a message for the American people. The corporate elites who led us into the economic crisis of the past six years will not be the people who will lead us back out. We need to come together as workers, for workers, to fight for a better life for everyone,” said Greg Jones with the AWPPW. “Our movement is growing. This is just the beginning.”

http://www.StarbucksStinks.org, http://www.starbucksunion.org

Police Brutalize IWW Union Member on Picket Line. All Out in Support!

Insomnia Cookies fires workers for joining a union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Cambridge police then brutalize IWW members and allies for protesting the illegal firing. Insomnia’s “union problem” just got a whole lot worse.

On November 14, Cambridge police brutally attacked, beat, and arrested an IWW member on a peaceful picket line in front of Insomnia Cookies, Harvard Square. The small picket began at 9:30pm. Police were already at the scene as twenty union activists began marching in a circle, as they have done around ten times since the strike began at Insomnia Cookies on August 18, holding signs, and chanting about bad wages, conditions, and union busting at the late-night corporate cookie chain.

Around 9:45, two police officers attempted to corner and isolate one union member who happened to be leading the chants. As the union member stepped toward safety, police began throwing punches at fellow worker Jason who was standing nearby. Four or five cops jumped on him, beat him to the ground, and continued assaulting him while he cried out in pain for them to stop.

A crowd of stunned onlookers gathered around, many chanted “Shame!” and “Police Brutality!” at the cops. Within minutes, Mount Auburn street was shut down by close to a dozen police cars, vans, and wagons. They carted the fellow worker off to the police station in Kendall square, and attempted to take photographs of all the union members. One cop even threatened the union activists with his pepper spray canister, all for telling him who he was: “Shame!” A shame to the city of Cambridge. A shame on working people. A shame to humanity.

Since the strike began in August, Cambridge police have proven themselves to be real enemies of labor, harassing, lying to, and attempting to disperse Insomnia workers since their very first picket line when they stood as just four strikers who hadn’t even yet joined a union. Then police lied to their faces and told these young workers that they were not allowed to picket in front of their store. The Cambridge cops’ intimidation efforts has escalated with each picket, until on November 14th, when they attacked us without provocation and without hesitation.

The police have failed to scare us away. Every time we come back with more and more workers and allies. The police think they can silence low income workers with their clubs when the company cannot silence us with illegal firings. They are wrong.

Come out, bring as many people as you can, tell everyone you know. We shall not be moved.

Solidarity Forever. An Injury to One is an Injury to All.

https://www.facebook.com/insomniaunion
http://iwwboston.org/

Industrial Worker – Issue #1758, September 2013

http://www.scribd.com/doc/164696663/Industrial-Worker-Issue-1758-September-2013

The Industrial Worker is the official newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union.

Headlines:
* IWW Returns To The Railroad With ULP Strike
* Work People’s College: Building Life-Long Wobblies
* Sakuma Brothers Agricultural Strike In Washington

Features:
* The Parallels Between The Sisters’ Camelot & Jimmy John’s Anti-Union Campaigns
* Workers’ Power: Job Conditioning
* Jane LaTour: Empowerment For Union Women

Industrial Worker – Issue #1757, July/August 2013

The Industrial Worker is the official newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union.

Industrial Worker – Issue #1757, July/August 2013

http://www.scribd.com/doc/150989716/Industrial-Worker-Issue-1757-July-August-2013

Headlines:
* Mass Protests, Social Unrest Engulf Turkey
* Sisters’ Camelot Management Admits To Dishonesty About Fired Worker
* OpOK Relief: Solidarity Is Our Strength

Features:
* When History Gets It Wrong: Reclaiming Our Victories
* A 100-Year-Old Idea That Could Transform The Labor Movement
* Fanning And Dousing The Flames Of Discontent