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Striking Union Offers to Settle with ACORN

By the Seattle IWW, April 17 2001

Seattle, WA - Staff workers on strike over unfair labor practices at the Washington state ACORN office have made an offer to settle the dispute today, in a letter written to management.

The strike, which began on February 26th, continues though workers have made offers to return to work previously. The union has even filed an injunction asking for ACORN management to take the workers back, which have been illegally replaced by "scabs".

The offer is reasonable enough; the union will agree to halt the strike and boycott and the employer will agree to recognize the union and negotiate.

"At this point, we are asking for the bare minimum", says Alexa Gilbert, one of the strikers. "We can deal with demands and the contract after we are at the table; we just want them at the table to start. It is a reasonable offer."

ACORN has refused to recognize the union, on the grounds that the bargaining unit is only in one shop, in contradiction with what actual law allows. It is standard for employers to bargain on a shop by shop basis. The union is still perplexed over the strange interpretation of the law on the part of management.

"Agreeing to talk with the union will save ACORN's image, and ultimately make them stronger; if anything, it will be less expensive for them," says John Persak, who is on the Executive Board of the striking union, the Industrial Workers of the World, commonly known as the "Wobblies". The union has calculated that the employer will have to pay over $50,000 in legal fees and back pay, if management continues to refuse to negotiate and continues to fight the union.

A background of the strike is available via the web at, where a link will take you directly to the ACORN strike page.

Striking Union Offers to Settle with ACORN

To: Doug Bloch, Washington ACORN Head Organizer;
Wade Rathke, Chief Organizer, ACORN National (via e-mail and certified mail)
Re: Settlement offer

Mr. Bloch and Mr. Rathke:

We, the members of Public Interest Workers local 2 of the Industrial Workers of the World, do hereby make the following offer to settle the strike:

1) The Union will agree to cease striking, picketing, boycotts, and agree to withdraw all Unfair Labor Practices with the National Labor Relations Board filed against Washington ACORN if:

2) The Employer (Washington ACORN) agrees to recognize the union and set a date to begin bargaining no later than one week from the date of receipt of this letter in writing, and drop all charges that are obstructing the election process.

We would like to hear your response by mail, phone, or electronic mail no later than April 25th; if we hear no response directly we will assume that you have rejected our offer. We would also like to see you respond publicly, since we have made this offer publicly, and in good faith.

We are also aware that you are legally able to recognize the union in the Washington ACORN office, under the numerous single facility presumption rulings by the Labor Board. Since five out of six union authorization cards were given to and accepted by Doug Bloch before striking in front of 30 witnesses (and since copies have been submitted to the NLRB), then there is no argument that your ability to recognize the union is inhibited by any laws dealing with labor relations.

We await your response,

Alexa Gilbert, striking worker, for the union
x337969, General Executive Board