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Industrial Departments

Unions in allied industries constitute industrial departments. The advantages of such organization are especially obvious in the instance of transportation. Railways, bus companies, truck companies, airlines, all provide substitute methods of transportation. If workers in these various industries are organized to act together when the occasion arises for them to do so, they will have all power that it might almost be said that the destiny of the world is in their hands.

Think how much suffering humankind might have been saved if organized transport workers had refused to load or carry goods to any warring nation or any nations whose transport workers would not follow the same policy. It would have been a good investment had the rest of organized labor assessed itself the small sum each it would have taken to repay these transport workers for any wages they lost in consequence of such a policy. In this way a great good could be accomplished with hardship to none.

Or consider how similar arrangements could make it foolish to hire scabs by making it impossible for scab-made goods to be carried. If we workers stick together right, we cannot be beaten down.

What is proposed here is the organization of the working class so that it can stick together in effective solidarity. Every union member who has talked about unionism to other workers is all too familiar with the complaint, "A union is all right, but the trouble is that workers won't stick together." We don't believe that complaint.

We don't believe it because we have seen so often the efforts of workers to stick together, and seen those efforts shattered by faulty organization that stopped them from practicing solidarity. Things do substantially what they are built to do; the same stuff goes into making a typewriter or a sewing machine, and behaves differently because it is put together differently.

The same workers can be in a loose federation of organizations formed to serve some special sets of interests, or they can be in One Big Union. If a union is designed to keep us separated, then it will not be a surprise to find that "Workers won't stick together." But if we are organized to stick, then stick we will and be strong in the fact that we can.

Rational industrial unionism designed by the I.W.W. to meet the conditions of modern industry emphasizes these basic rules:

  • All workers on the same job, regardless of trade, belong in the same job organization;
  • All workers in the same industry belong in the same industrial union;
  • All members of these industrial unions belong directly as members of the One Big Union of the working class;
  • Any worker changing jobs is entitled to transfer free of charge to the industrial union covering the new employment--"once a union member, always a union member";
  • No part of the labor movement should accept any obligation to work on materials furnished by strikebreakers, or to furnish material for them, or to fill the orders that strikers were supposed to fill; or cross any picket line, or aid in any way to break the strike of any group of workers.

Such is the form of organization the I.W.W. offers to make the working class invincible. Are you with us?

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