Frite Alors is a small restaurant franchise in Quebec with about ten locations. In 2015, an organizing campaign began at the Rachel Street location – one of the locations owned by the founder. Here, a worker describes that campaign, how and why it began, and
An interview with a postal carrier in Canada. Their union, CUPW, is currently negotiating a new contract with Canada Post. After 37 days of rotating strikes and occupations, workers were legislated back to work this week. National union leadership is not defying the legislation, but
This story, about a strike at a bingo hall in Allentown, PA in 1992, was originally published in John Silvano’s Nothing in Common: An Oral History of IWW Strikes, 1971-1992. We are reprinting it because of its stark illustration of a number of important lessons: employers will knowingly,
Introducing Wobcast! This is a podcast produced out of the Edmonton branch of the IWW. It is about workplace organizing, with a focus on solidarity unionism. In this first episode, Nick Driedger explains the difference between solidarity unionism and “workplace contractualism” — the mainstream approach
Robin J. Cartwright explores the historical origins of “workplace contractualism” in the U.S. — the predominant model of unionism, whereby workers and employers negotiate a contract. He notes that employers themselves pushed for the contract system in order to tame unions, and to engage union
Eric Dirnbach describes a successful contract fight at the University of Michigan in the 1990s. In the late 1990s, I was a member of the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), the union of 1,500 graduate student instructors (GSIs) and staff assistants at the University of Michigan. We
MK Lees and Marianne Garneau describe what a solidarity union looks like in the long term, and what it can accomplish. More to the point, they argue against the popular perception that contracts are needed to lend stability to a union, or to achieve major
Healthy debate is the lifeblood of progress, in unions too. Here, we have a spirited rejoinder to the last piece we published, by Don White: “Solidarity Unionism: What it is and what it isn’t.” MK Lees argues that, in practice, contracts and solidarity unionism are totally opposed.