The Events That Lead to the Seattle ACORN Workers Strike
WEEKS OF FEBRUARY 12-24 - 100% of the field organizers at the Washington ACORN office sign authorization cards to join with the Industrial Workers of the World, in order to address grievances at work revolving around late paychecks, paychecks coming 2/3 short, lack of lunch breaks, lack of safety and harassment policies, and for not receiving promised health insurance benefits.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23 - Head Organizer Doug Bloch, away on vacation, calls the Washington ACORN office and tells Julia Fitzimmons, lead organizer, that Wobblies are organizing ACORN workers across the nation and asked if Wobblies had been by. He tells her that workers are not allowed to talk about the union on the job.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26 - ACORN organizers march on the boss at the Washington office to demand union recognition with 30 supporters and member of ACORN. Bloch refuses to recognize the union but says he'll call the National Chief of ACORN Wade Rathke. Organizers tell him it would strengthen the organization to have a unionized workplace and would prove that ACORN truly cares about workers' rights. Bloch still refuses.
ACORN organizers march out of the office on strike and start a picket line.
A sixth employee, a part time administrative assistant, arrives for work. She says she won't cross the picket line and goes home.
Later, the organizers return to see if National gave Bloch the go-ahead to recognize the union. They had not; he still refuses to recognize it. He argues the bargaining unit must be national, since ACORN is a national organization. Organizers cite many examples, from Wal-Mart to Applebee's, of how these typical union-busting companies have used this same argument to prevent unionization of the workplace, and lost in the court battle. Organizers explain that the one-shop bargaining unit is "presumably appropriate" (Dixie Belle Mills, Inc, 1962) according to the NLRB. Bloch still refuses.
An ACORN member asks Bloch if he is willing to sacrifice the membership and lose the whole organization rather than recognize the union. He says "yes". Fellow Worker x337969 of the General Executive Board of the IWW asked Bloch if we could quote him on that and he replied, "yes".
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 - The strike continues. The UPS workers respect the picket line and do not cross it. The President of the Greater Seattle Local #28 of the APWU/AFL-CIO writes a letter shaming Bloch and urging him to recognize the union. Members of the Iron-Makers Union, Carpenters Union and Boilermaker's Union talk with Bloch in his office, urging Bloch to recognize his workers' union.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28 - Three ULP's are filed against Bloch. Complaints with Washington Labor and Industry are filed.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 29 - Bloch brings in scab labor. Management of Washington ACORN office moves computers and files out of office to an unknown location.