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IWW Chronology (1984 - 1989)

Originally Titled, 95 Years of Revolutionary Industrial Unionism, by Michael Hargis - featured in Anarcho Syndicalist Review, #27 and #28.  Additions and corrections made by x344543.


  • Chicago Branch initiates campaign for amnesty for British Miners jailed for strike activity during 1984-85 strike.
  • Ann Arbor, MI: People's Wherehouse job branch signs first contract: wage increases with higher boosts for workers with children and some shop democracy issues resolved, though new managerial departmental structure remained; Staff at Ann Arbor Tenants Union establish IWW Job Branch.
  • Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC - IU110) established to organize mushroom workers, Bellingham, WA. AWOC initiates organizing among apple pickers in the Columbia River (WA) Valley and issue a newsletter entitled Pickin' Times.
  • East Northport, NY: IWW strikes the William F. Keller Fish Company in October to demand recognition and to improve working conditions. Strike drags on into the summer of 1985 but eventually peters out.
  • IOC abolished by referendum.


  • Ann Arbor, MI: Wherehouse job branch beats back speed-up with job action and attempts to spread organizing to other warehouses in the coop network.
  • Vancouver, BC: Wobblies actively support a campaign initiated by the Organization of Unemployed Workers to obtain free bus service for people on fixed incomes. The campaign includes the issuance of several thousand "UnFare" cards for riders to present to drivers in lieu of fares or monthly passes. One Wob reports that four out of five drivers accept her UnFare Card.
  • Convicts John Perroti, Dennis Wolfel and John Brumfield join IWW and launch organizing campaign at Southwest Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF).


  • In May IWW hosts International Labor Solidarity Conference in Chicago, attended by delegates from Poland (exiled Solidarnosc), Sweden (SAC), France (FA and CFDT), South Africa (SAAWU), Japan (RSU), with communications of support from Spain (Coordinadora) and Venezuela.
  • Ann Arbor, MI: Wherehouse job branch defeats merit pay scheme and gains wage hikes in new contract; University Cellar Bookstore goes out of business and the IWW 1U660 Job Branch, which lasted six years and made significant gains for workers in the shop, is forced to dissolve.
  • Dayton GMB initiates controversial Prison Organizing Project in support of inmates at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Motions presented to Convention to clarify IWW position vis-a-vis prison organizing, in favor of autonomous prisoner rights group rather than IWW, is defeated by proxy votes cast by New York delegate. These proxies were challenged from the floor as being issued for a different motion, but upheld by Convention.


  • Lucasville, OH: 400 inmates at SOCF sign petition authorizing IWW to bargain collectively for them. Department of Corrections and Ohio Labor Board refuse to recognize prisoners as state employees and, therefore, not eligible for union representation. IW W appeals but is turned down. P.O.P.-P.E.P. peters out though Perroti continues to be harassed by prison authorities.
  • Referendum formally allows prison convicts to join IWW.


  • May 1988 Industrial Worker discusses cultural similarities between Earth First! (whose co-founder Dave Foreman was inspired in part by the Wobblies) and the IWW; many contributors, including then editor Franklin Rosemont, Gary Cox, Barbara Hansen, and Utah Phillips suggest an alliance over class struggle and environmental issues.
  • Ukiah, CA: veteran labor activist Judi Bari joins Earth First! and (not yet aware of the already existing dialog) organizes a workshop on the history of the IWW. Utah Phillips suggests that the IWW participate. Gary Cox represents the IWW at the discussion. Judi Bari and fellow-Earth First!er join the IWW.
  • Seattle, WA: Phone canvassers for the environmental group Greenpeace organize an IWW shop in June in response to management plans to install phone monitoring equipment so that supervisors could listen in on calls. Greenpeace management responds by closing the Seattle office.
  • Portland, OR: A spin-off of the Greenpeace organizing is the certification of IWW at SANE and Oregon Fair Share. Workers at Berkshire (MA) Learning Center form job branch and demand recognition. Organizer fired and ULP charges filed with NLRB.
  • Madison, WI: Workers at the Willy St. Co-op, a cooperative grocery, join IWW but fail to gain recognition.


  • Pacific Northwest Webs set up IU670 Organizing Committee to pursue non-profits organizing drive.
  • IWW-Earth First! organizers initiate campaign to prevent closing of Louisiana Pacific's Potter Valley mill in Arcata, CA.
  • Scotia, CA: Dissident timber workers, assisted by Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney publish underground newsletter called Timberlyn' to protest Maxxam Corporation takeover of Pacific Lumber, speed-ups, and rape and pillage of the old growth redwood forests of Humboldt County.
  • Fort Bragg, CA: IWW members Judi Bari and Anna Marie Stenberg represent several workers in a dispute with Georgia Pacific Lumber Company over compensation for a PCB spill at its Fort Bragg mill.
  • Willits, CA: Earth First!-IWW Local #1 set up to create an environmentalist-worker alliance, focusing on timber workers.
  • Job branch established at Berkeley (CA) Recycling Center. IWW retains job control to present day.