Skip to main content

Responding to Misinformation from ACORN

From John, the Director of San Jose ACORN:

...Lastly, I ran into a couple of other SFJ students who seem to be affiliated with IWW office out of Philly where we had a disgruntled employee (Fellow Worker X352548) who walked off her job and more severely walked out on her members to organize her own personal campaign. She has no valid claims and no other organization in Philly are in support of her crusade to constrain a poor peoples movement. in fact, many organizations see how absurd her claims are and feel if the IWW really wants to organize there are thousands of sweatshops in the City to do something of value. as one of the few membership run organizations the #1 principal for ACORN Organizers is to be accountable to that membership and when someone disregards that, they have no place here.

So out of respect for our work and the integrity of Students for Justice (SFJ), if you could talk to other students who may be naive enough to make a judgment about us without understanding the sacrifices we make every day for our members. I would be glad to have a meeting with them. as a coalition we welcome their beliefs and work in building a mass movement especially here in San Jose where this work is critical.

Fellow Worker X352548 Responds:

I was recently forwarded an email that John, the boss of San Jose ACORN, sent to some SFJ members and I would like to address some of his accusations of the "invalid" and "absurd" claims of Philadelphia ACORN workers. I believe that strengthening the "poor people's movement" starts with strengthening ACORN. Currently the turnover rate at ACORN is outrageous, with few workers staying with the organization for even one year.

We work 54 hours a week including one day on the weekend. In our long ten hour days we have no guaranteed lunch break. We have to walk alone at night when we solicit money. Our pay is just above minimum wage. Many ACORN offices receive their paychecks late, and minority employees feel racial bias.

In the Philadelphia ACORN office we decided that all of these issues lead to a high turnover rate and weaken ACORN, affecting the organization's ability to realize its full potential. However, if the ACORN workers had more of a say over our working conditions, we could strengthen the organization. By making it a better place to work, we'd be inclined to stick around longer. This is why we decided to form a union with the IWW. It isn't anti-ACORN to be pro-union.

There are NO other organizations besides ACORN's management which have expressed to us that they do not support our efforts. The opposite is actually true. We have received much help, support and advice from community organizers here.

In San Jose, the IWW members stood in solidarity with a low-income ACORN worker who was placed in financial hardship when she was denied her paycheck. The union helped pressure her boss, John to give this worker her money.

Both my co-worker, Ozzie, and I were very active in our campaign to unionize our workplace. Both of us were fired. Neither of us walked off our job.