This site is a static archive. Visit the current IWW website at ▸
Skip to main content

IWW wins victory at NLRB

By IWW Member x337969, April 20 2001

The IWW members on strike at the Washington ACORN office in Seattle won a huge victory last Wednesday, when Region 19 of the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the union on a charge filed by Doug Bloch against the IWW. In fact, they dismissed it entirely, citing lack of evidence.

The charge, filed about a week after the strike began, outlined claims that Julia Fitzsimmons a "lead" organizer at Washington ACORN was a manager, and argued that the entire union drive and the election campaign was tainted by "coercion by management". While ACORN has based its sole strategy and public denounciations of the IWW and Fitzsimmons on this one charge, the IWW has consistently asserted that the charge was without merit, and was merely a stalling tactic to defeat the drive. The NLRB has effectively discredited ACORN's reasoning for not granting union recognition, and has left them scrambling to think up a new reason to not recognize the union.

The NLRB has also found merit in a host of unfair labor practice charges filed by the IWW, which includes the refusal to allow workers to unconditionally return to work, and may result in a substantial back pay award totaling near $10,000. The union also filed for 10(j) injunctive relief, which would force the employer upon refusal to reinstate all workers with back pay awards, and get rid of any scabs that are still working.

The timing of the ruling is interesting since a day before the IWW made an offer to Wade Rathke, "chief" organizer for ACORN National, and Doug Bloch local head organizer, to drop all charges, cease striking , and call off the boycott, in exchange for union recognition and a date to begin contract talks. Their reluctance to discuss the union at all, let alone respond to a reasonable offer, has indeed cost them big and has dealt a huge blow to their union busting campaign against the Wobblies.

Now that the union has demonstrated that the Washington office is very legal as a bargaining unit and not "tainted by management coercion", that there are a majority of workers wanting a union under the Board's "single facility presumption" rulings, and that those wanting a union are entitled to it even under the law, it sorts of make you wonder; what excuse will Wade Rathke and the anti-union leadership clique at ACORN national will come up with next? Is their lawyer getting tired of the 60 hour weeks yet?

Wade Rathke, Doug Bloch, the whole world is waiting; are you ready to negotiate with your union workers? It is your choice, best make the right one soon.