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Community Organizations Support IWW Strike

By Alice Woldt - Associate Director Church Council of Greater Seattle

I'm sorry you've taken an anti-union position on not recognizing the organizing rights of your employees in the local Seattle affiliate here. As an organization that stands in solidarity with workers in the community, it is hypocritical to not give your own employees the voice they're requesting. The Church Council of Greater Seattle has a long history of working with organized labor in support of workers rights. I encourage you to reevaluate your position in light of your own stated mission. The many community groups here will continue to support the striking workers and you will do irreparable damage to the causes you seek to represent.


Margaret Butler - Portland Jobs with Justice lead organizer - (March 7,2001)

Wade Rathke, Chief Organizer, ACORN

Dear Wade,

We are writing to raise our concern about the labor dispute at ACORN in Seattle. The Industrial Workers of the World in Portland are a member organization of Portland Jobs with Justice and, as such, brought a request to our steering committee meeting on Monday night. We voted unanimously to write this letter. ACORN has done great work organizing working families in Portland in a very short amount of time, and while we have been developing a relationship with ACORN, ACORN has not yet joined our coalition. If this had been a situation between two member organizations (which has happened in the past), it would have been handled differently by our steering committee.

A situation like the one in Seattle, where workers at a progressive pro-worker organization are on strike, is detrimental to ACORN, to the labor movement and to the whole community. We would like to see this problem resolved as quickly as possible to the benefit of everyone involved. If there is any way in which we can be helpful in bringing about such a resolution, please let us know.


Jeff Leys - Senior Staff Representative -- SEIU District 1199W (March 5,2001)

Dear Brother Bloch,

I strongly encourage you to recognize the IWW as the duly selected union for the staff of Washington ACORN. Their demands are just and their rights are clear. It is appalling that ACORN, which fights mightily for the rights of the working class on a day to day basis, is using all of the tactics of the corporate bosses to deny basic rights to its own employees and the citizens of this country.

I am perplexed that ACORN is taking the position that it will only recognize workers who organize into a single national union. Clearly ACORN knows that this is a virtual impossibility for ACORN's workers given the geographical dispersion of workers. ACORN also most assuredly must know that the law permits recognition of individual bargaining units in separate shops across the country. If ACORN's interpretation of the law were to be applied to labor law, it would become virtually impossible to organize any business which operates across state lines. Woe to the nursing home workers for whom I work if ACORN's interpretation of the law were to be applied to Beverly Enterprises, Vencor, ManorCare, Genesis, Horizon and all the other union busting chains out there.

I am also quite perplexed that ACORN is not willing to take simple measures like paying its employees a fair wage; paying its employees overtime wages; establishing a just sexual harassment policy; and taking steps to ensure worker safety on the job.

Again I urge you to recognize the IWW union established by your employees; to discontinue the use of scab labor; and to negotiate in good faith with the IWW workers.

Jeff Leys, Senior Staff Representative
SEIU District 1199W / UP, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
& Shop Steward -- OPEIU Local 39