Victory! - Workers Unanimously Vote Union "Yes"
Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - Oakland, CA.
Today, at noon, the workers at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland, California voted 13-0 to unionize with the Bay Area IWW branch in an NLRB sponsored union election.
Technically it was a double election, because te NLRB ruled that the East Bay Depot consists of two separate bargaining units, due to some obscure and not entirely logical labor laws, because the business consists of a store and a series of educational programs that have little direct connection to the store. The election results were in fact, 4-0 for the educational programs and 9-0 for the store.
Management ultimately showed little or no resistance to the election, though they did engage in some rather flagrant violations of the NLRA (one manager campaigned against the union just before the election, which is grounds for an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge.
The union expects that the real resistance from management will begin during contract negotiations. Management has claimed (in writing) that they will negotiate in good faith, but the IWW is sceptical that this will play out. Capitalism concedes nothing without a struggle. Already they have threatened to cut back the educational programs and lay off the workers in that unit. The IWW will be fighting for their jobs, filing a series of ULPs for various management violations, and for a kick ass contract.
Our success in this campaign, so far, is largely due to the shop-floor solidarity shown by the Depot Workers, who have been 100% pro-union from the start and did most of the organizing work. The workers openly declared their intentions less than a month ago. However, community support (especially at demonstrations and through phone calls to management) also played a part in this victory. Management has already complained about the volume of phone calls. We may need to bring further community pressure on management soon, but for now we can celebrate this victory.
The East Bay Depot is the second IWW union organizing success in two years (the last was the Community Conservation Centers / Berkeley Buyback Recycling shop, which voted 16-0 to unionize with the IWW in 2001), and the third organized IWW shop in the Bay Area (the first is the Berkeley Ecology Center / Curbside Recycling Shop; Buyback is the second).