Who can join the IWW?
As long as you are a worker — not an employer — you can join the IWW. Members of other unions (except officers), students, retirees, the unemployed, the self-employed, those in informal professions, and those unable to work may also join. You can choose an Industrial Union based on your current job, and you can read about how the IWW is structured in One Big Union.
If you live in the UK, Ireland, Greece, Australia, or New Zealand, you’ll need to join through their respective websites, not through Red Card. Find out more about the union’s international presence in our union directory.
You select your dues level based on your self-reported current monthly income. Your first month as a member will include an initiation fee that is the equivalent of your dues rate, so for your first month as a member you will pay twice your normal dues rate. (If you select an $11 dues rate, your first month’s payment will be $22, with each subsequent month being $11.) A breakdown of our current dues rate can be found below, as well as on page twenty-six of the IWW’s constitution.
- $6 — if you are financially burdened by unemployment, underemployment, being a student, or other circumstances
- $11 — if you make less than $2,000 per month
- $22 — if you make between $2,000 and $3,500 per month
- $33 — if you make more than $3,500 per month
Nothing will change until we organize. Joining the IWW is easy. Just give us a call. The sooner you do, the sooner things will improve and the sooner we, and not the bosses, will enjoy the good things in life.
Are you looking for ways to get more involved in the union?
Even if you don’t live near a branch, there are a variety of ways you can get involved. Whether it’s at your workplace, or at the regional, continental, or international level, you can help move the union along!
Take the first step towards organizing your workplace and contact the IWW’s Organizing Department.
If you’re looking to get involved internationally — building the IWW globally and fostering relationships with unions and workers around the world — get in touch with the NARA International Solidarity Commission (ISC) at [email protected] and visit the International Confederation of Labor’s (ICL-CIT) website.
If you have any technical skills that you’d like to bring into the union to help develop our web presence and communications / information technologies, get in touch with the IWW.org Administration Committee at [email protected].
Learn more about the IWW’s prison abolitionist organizing efforts on the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee’s (IWOC) website.
Look through the union directory to see all IWW branches, departments, and committees you can get involved with.
Why join the IWW?
It does not take long to figure out that workers and their employers do not have the same interests. Workers want shorter hours, higher pay and better benefits. We want our work to be less boring, less dangerous and less destructive to the environment. We want more control over how we produce goods and provide services. We want meaningful work that contributes to our communities and world.
Our employers, in contrast, want us to work longer, harder, faster and cheaper. They want fewer safety and environmental regulations, and they demand absolute control over all decisions, work schedules, speech and actions in the workplace.
Practical Benefits of a Union
The easiest way to stand up for each other in our workplaces and communities and the easiest way to improve our working conditions is to join a union. That is why employers fight so hard and spend so much money to keep unions out of their workplaces. Workers with unions generally have higher pay and job security, better benefits and fewer scheduling problems. More pay equals fewer hours at work and more hours for enjoying the good things in life. Union workplaces are safer and have less harassment, discrimination and favoritism. This is because a union gives workers the power to make workplace decisions. The less we let our employers make all of the decisions, the better our lives and communities will be. Unions also provide mutual aid and community. This means assistance with problems at work, but it could also mean help with a community project or fighting a landlord.
Why Every Worker Should be in the One Big Union
Whether your job sucks or is “pretty good” (at least today), we in the IWW believe you should join us for the following reasons. We need to start sticking up for our coworkers in our workplaces and in our industries. Ask around on your next shift: How many coworkers have two or three jobs? How many are one paycheck away from an eviction? We have a duty to our co-workers and those who will follow in our footsteps to make things better. The only way to do this is to organize together. When we band together around our common experiences and interests, we can improve our jobs and industries. Our labor, not our bosses, is what makes our workplaces tick, and we can use our labor power to improve our jobs and our communities in the short term. In a lot of ways, that is what unions are all about.
With the IWW, you also belong to a union that has a long term vision and plan for workers’ control of their own work, without bosses, making our industries and economy democratic.
As an IWW member, you get:
- Volunteer organizers if you choose to organize your workplace and industry;
- Union organizing expertise in areas of strategy, media, community support, infrastructure building and bargaining;
- Commitment to democratic unionism, which means members control their own organizing campaigns and the direction of the union;
- An international organization dedicated to working together to build worker power on our jobs and in our communities;
- Mutual aid and support;
- Some practical things: the IWW internal newsletter, access to the IWW website, the union’s constitution, your local branch newsletter (if applicable) and a member button.
About the IWW
Founded in Chicago in 1905, the IWW is open to all workers. Don’t let the “industrial” part fool you; our members include teachers, social workers, retail workers, construction workers, bartenders and computer programmers. Only bosses are not allowed to join. You have a legal right to join a union, and your membership is confidential. It is up to you whether you discuss the union with your co-workers. If you are currently unemployed, you can still join. We are a volunteer-driven union, and this means we, not union bosses, run the union. The IWW is not controlled by or affiliated with any political party or political movement. No money goes to politicians. Membership dues are used to maintain the union and assist organizing campaigns. As a result, monthly dues are low.