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Busy Weekend for the Bay Area IWW

The weekend of March 16th was full of activity for the Bay Area IWW. On Friday there were two workplace intervention rallies, the first at 6:30 AM and the second twelve hours later.

It was still dark in the sky when FWs from the Bay Area GMB began gathering outside of the management office at Curbside Recycling. The reason for the visit was primarily to show visible support to the shop steward for repeated harassment (including unpaid suspension) on the part of management. Several of the shop workers were also there to show support, and the crowd was treated to invigorating speeches by several of the recyclers as well as other branch members.

The other reason for the rally was to demonstrate to management that the union can mobilize when it is needed to support the workers fighting for their interests. This is important because management is trying to drive out any workers who are accustomed to acting as a union, and because the workers may try to increase pressure for a good contract when the current one expires  jointly with the the Buyback Recyclers, an IWW shop on the same lot. Management was clearly uncomfortable when around 20 wobblies entered the office to discuss the bullying of the shop steward...

That evening there was a rally outside of the "Shattuck Cinemas", where the IWW has won a representation election. Landmark Cinemas, the parent corporation, has been stalling on a good contract, trying to get in clauses which could bankrupt the union in mediation or take away the rights of the workers to act on their own. In this context, it is not hard to see that the workers have gotten more outside of the contract process than through it, and the speeches which several of them gave at the rally expressed this, as well as the frustration which they and many other people feel at being in the "casualized" workforce, where hours are inconsistent, pay is low, and healthcare is a joke. There was discussion about the constantly worsening conditions of labor, and the on-the-job resistance that it engenders. The rally ended with a lively march through the streets (stopping outside of the "United Artists" one block away) to a barbeque at the IWW office.

Later that night and again the next morning, a couple of FWs made their way to the "Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library" for some events and raised quite a bit of interest about the IWW and its perspective on workers activity.

On Saturday and Sunday, the IWW was present at the annual "Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair", with the most attractive looking stall at the entire bookfair. Quite a few books and other items were sold, spreading wobbly ideas, and many good face-to-face conversations took place with radical workers interested in fighting back on the job. Sunday also saw a well-attended panel event, in which several members of the IWW spoke about current organizing efforts and the IWWs vision of workers acting to improve themselves and society.

Also on Sunday, the IWW participated in the Anti-War March, spreading the wobbly ideas of workers taking action to stop war.