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IWW Chronology (1978 - 1983)

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

1978

  • Virden, IL: IU440 strike threat forces boss to back down from threatened lay-off. More picketing at auctions costs boss thousands of dollars. NLRB issues directed bargaining order; boss appeals. NLRB orders Wob James D'Aunoy re-instated.
  • In June IWW strikes Mid-America for recognition but fails to budge boss. Strike called off after three months.
  • Chicago: IU610 (Health Care Workers) Committee issues a pamphlet aimed at workers in area hospitals. Propose to form alternative to Health Employees Labor Program (HELP), a lash-up of the Service Employees International Union Local 73 and Teamsters Local 743. The drive is opposed from the beginning by a member of the Chicago Branch who is also a business agent for Local 73. This opposition eventually succeeds in thwarting the IU610 Committee's efforts to gain Branch support and causes IU610 Committee members to leave the IWW.
  • IWW Conference establishes new Industrial Organizing Committee.

1979

  • IWW IU660 (General Distribution Workers) organizing begins in Ann Arbor, MI. Defeat lockout at Charing Cross Bookstore. Win NLRB election at University Cellar Bookstore at UM in Ann Arbor and win contract following brief strike. Contract includes significant workers control provisions.
  • IWW IU450 (Printing and Publishing Workers) contract signed at Eastown Printing, Grand Rapids, MI.

1980

  • Virden, IL: MidAmerica finally agrees to recognize IWW and bargain. However, union has no members left in the shop. Attempts to contact current employees fail.
  • Ann Arbor, MI: Workers at Wordprocessors strike, set up independent union - Employees Against Arbitrary Action.
  • Organizing drive at Leopold Bloom's Restaurant takes off. During campaign direct action wins a woman fellow worker her job back after she is fired for complaining about sexual harassment. Union gains voluntary recognition and a first contract, but restaurant goes out of business due to poor management.
  • Boston Wobblies actively involved in organization of the independent United Taxi Workers Organizing Committee seeking to escape the clutches of the Teamsters union.

1981

  • IWW's active in reform movement in the Laborers'Union in Alaska (ROOR) and in the Teamsters Union (TDU) in New York.
  • Ann Arbor, MI: U-Cellar IU660 Branch signs third contract with workers' control provisions.
  • Round Lake, MN: The IWW-IOC affiliated All Workers Organizing Committee gets about half of the employees at the Sather Cookie Company to sign authorization cards and file a petition with NLRB for an election. United Food and Commercial Workers Union (AFL-CIO) intervenes and IWW retreats to avoid splitting the pro-union vote, according to the committee.

1982

  • Houston, AR: IWW Industrial Organizing Committee drive at King Homes,and Castle Truss mobile home manufacturing plants owned by Castle Industries.

1983

  • People's Wherehouse job branch in Ann Arbor wins recognition without election and begins negotiations on first contract gains.
  • Chicago, IL: IWW supports boycott of Coca Cola in solidarity with occupation of Coke plant in Guatemala.
  • Bellingham, WA: IWW initiates Food for People project to feed unemployed and underemployed. Program ends when powers that be pressure landlords into not renting space.
  • IWW, through the Vancouver Unemployed Action Center, initiates campaign against Job Mart Employment Agency which was selling job lists to the unemployed for up to $50. Through a combination of leafleting, pickets and legal action the campaign succeeds in closing down job Mart and getting some of the victims of the scam their money back.
  • Rank and File Organizing Committee established to counter IOC.