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IWW Chronology (1996 - 1997)

Originally Titled, 95 Years of Revolutionary Industrial Unionism, by Michael Hargis - featured in Anarcho Syndicalist Review, #27 and #28.

1996

  • Organizing drive launched against Borders Books in Philadelphia. In March IWW loses NLRB vote by narrow margin and continues to organize. In June Wobbly Miriam Fried fired on trumped-up charges. National boycott of Borders launched in response. IWW members picket at Borders stores nationwide: Ann Arbor, Washington D.C. San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Palo Alto, Portland, OR, Portland, ME, Boston, Philadelphia, Albany, Richmond, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and other cities.
  • Los Angeles, CA: IWW supports workers at K-Jack Engineering, manufacturer of newspaper vending machines, striking over non-payment of wages.
  • IWW strikes Memory USA, a computer firm, in Kensington, CA. The employer gives in to the workers demands.
  • Philadelphia: Sears fires IWW agitator Michelle Heim. ULP charges filed.
  • Seattle, WA: IWW strikes Lincoln Park MiniMart. Strike lasts 150 days. Ends in partial moral victory for strikers.
  • IWW organizing drive launched against Wherehouse Entertainment, El Cerrito, CA.
  • IU620 job branch at ASUC Recycling and Composting Collective honors picket of striking teaching assistants at U Cal., Berkeley.

1997

  • El Cerrito, CA: Two IWW organizers fired from Wherehouse Entertainment and hours of union supporters cut. NLRB election lost by a 7-2 vote due to employer reducing workforce from 25 to 10 workers.
  • Emeryville, CA: Wob Jason Motley fired from United Artists Cinema in for opposing management racism. San Francisco IWW pickets to enforce boycott.
  • Drums, PA: Organizing begins at Keystone Job Corp Center. Wob Matt Wilson fired and Joe Marra suspended but organizing continued. Six other student/workers fired for union activity. National labor board rules that students are not employees and therefore not eligible for union representation. IWW uses pirate radio station to penetrate the job Corps Center walls.
  • Olympia, WA: IWW wins NLRB election at Sin Fronteras Bookshop and organizing campaign at Fish Street Brewing Co.
  • Butte, MT, Wob construction workers lead 300 workers off job 45 minutes early to join UPS strikers on picket line.
  • Irish Times bar staff line up with IWW.
  • Wobs join UPS picket lines from Seattle to Albany.
  • Austin, TX: IWW organizing effort begun at KOOP radio, one of the Pacifica network.
  • Sierra Leone, Africa: 3,200 gold miners in register with labor ministry as IWW branch. Military coup d'etat results in loss of contact between IWW and local delegate.
  • Boston IWW leaflets International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) hiring hall to inform the workers of Liverpool dockers' struggle.
  • National Day of Action targets Borders Bookstores: Pickets at stores in Albany, Ann Arbor, Bloomington, IN, Boston, Dearborn, MI, Portland, ME, Austin, TX, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Wichita, KS, Philadelphia, Atlanta.
  • San Francisco Bay Area, CA: IWW Marine Transport Workers IU510 Sea Dive Job Shop aids striking Masters, Mates and Pilots Union by blockading a ship.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Faced with adverse NLRB ruling, Sears settles with fired Wob Michelle Heim, giving her back pay and posting notice that they would not fire any workers for union activity.
  • Eugene, OR: IWW supports Gardenburger boycott. Organize 50-strong picket of Sundance Natural Foods.
  • Moscow, Russia: IWW delegate sets up shop.
  • Workers at Snyder of Hanover in Pennsylvania ask IWW help in decertifying UFCW. In an election between IWW, UFCW and no union, no union won.
  • Detroit: In June a 40-50 strong Wobbly contingent participates in Action Motown is support of striking newspaper workers. Organize a 200-person picket in unsuccessful bid to stop scab papers from leaving printing plant.
  • Berkeley: Curbside Recyclers IU670 wins new contract.
  • IWW helps to organize picket of Oakland (CA) docks to prevent unloading of scab cargo from Neptune Jade, which was loaded in Liverpool. Pacific Maritime Association, an employer group, sues Wob Bob Irminger in retaliation. Suit dropped in late 1998.
  • Bay Area, CA: IWW begins organizing campaign at area ballparks in opposition to inadequate HERE Local 2850 representation.
  • Finland: Anarcho-syndicalist group Solidaarsuus affiliates with IWW and launches campaign for 6-hour day to fight unemployment. Includes a 400-person demonstration.
  • Friends Center building service staff in Philadelphia line-up with IWW and demand recognition. After extensive legal and public pressure, management agrees to bargain with union.
  • Seattle IWW pickets Olympia Tug and Barge to prevent launch of non-union ship.
  • Portland, OR: IU 630 (Entertainment Workers) organizing drive lines up musicians and standup comedians. Also: Portland IWWs join occupation of Wells Fargo Center to support striking steel workers at CF & I/Oregon Steel of which Wells Fargo owns a large block of stock; and Wobs launch a Workers Council in the Residential Construction Trades in bid to organize the industry.
  • Butte, MT, IU330 (General Construction Workers) organizing and workers at Forbidden Fruit retail outlet join IWW.