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In Whose Interest Do We Work?

In Whose Interest Do We Work?
Organizing the IWW Way

In whose interest do we work? When we take a job we are hired by a Boss for the purpose of making that employer profits. No matter what they say, the employer is not there for our benefit. Employers will pay employees as little as is possible, and work us as long as possible, in order to produce the greatest profit. That could mean long overtime hours or not enough hours to make a living.

When your employer is making big profits off your work, ask your boss if he or she is willing to share the money with you? Or if you're asked to make sacrifices for the company like taking a cut in pay, or in hours, or in benefits, ask your boss how he or she is planning to help you make ends meet?

The answer is always the same; the employer does what is in the best interest of their profits and they expect their employees to knuckle under, not ask questions, and not ask for anything more than the bosses are willing to give.

Our labor is not meant as a charitable contribution to the wealth of employing class. We labor in order to survive. We labor in our own interests and not in the interests of our bosses. We who labor for a living hold interests in common with each other and those with common interests need to be organized if we hope to ever improve our lives.

Organize the IWW Way

The IWW knows that working people and employers have different interests. The interests of working people can only be advanced when we realize that workers all have common goals. Then, we can organize into industrial unions and use our union to help shape our interests and goals into organized power so we can achieve them. That is the only way we can gain power over our labor.

All the gains that working people have made in wages and conditions have come about when they organized together in their common interests. All the gains that working people will make today and into the future will come about in the same way. So, quit working just to benefit your boss, and start working in your own best interest and for your sister and fellow workers who are standing beside you.

The Basic Organizational Structure of the IWW

The IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) organizes individuals into powerful unions and all of the control is in the hands of the rank and file members. How does this work? Industrial Unions (IUs): made up of everyone in the same industry, regardless of their wages or job description. For instance, healthcare workers (nurses, hospital maintenance workers, medical technicians, doctors,hospital secretaries, hospital social workers, etc.) are all part of the same IU.

IU Job Branch: Workers on the same job organized together.

IU Job Shop: The establishment of an IWW-IU Union Shop. This means that the IWW-IU is the recognized union bargaining organization for a shop.

IU Branch: All workers within a geographic area that belong to the same IU.

General Membership Branch (GMB): All IWW members within an area that don't belong to organized IU Branches.

Industrial District Council (IDC): Made up of all the Branches within a region.

Industrial Department: All Related IUs organized together.

IWW Administration: IWW administrations are organized within different countries or groups of countries.

Region Organizing Committees (ROCs): ROCs are used to build the IWW within different regions before IDCs or administrations are formed.

The One Big Union (OBU): All of the component parts of the IWW internationally make up the One Big Union. There is free universal transfer any time a member needs to change which component part of the IWW they belong to.

Each component of the IWW structure is designed to keep the power of organization in the hands of its rank and file members while at the same time joining together with other workers to make a powerful organization.

Delegates, Branches, GEB, GST, GA, By-Laws and more:

In an area without any IWW organization, things may begin with an appointed delegate. A Delegate is a person who signs up new members and collects union dues. Once a group is formed then that group would elect their delegate.

If ten or more members exist within an area and they all belong to the same Industrial Union they may organize as an Industrial Union Branch. If ten or more members in an area belonging to different Industrial Unions, they would then form a General Membership Branch. Each Branch would elect a branch secretary, other officers as needed, and how many delegates they feel are needed.

When a region has sufficient strength it may organize a Regional Organizing Committee to maintain the union's organizing needs within that region. When an area has two or more branches it may organize an Industrial District Council. When there is sufficient organization a country, or groups of countries may set up their own administration or section of the IWW. To take care of union business the IWW has what are called General Assemblies, which take place every year.

To maintain the day-to-day business of the IWW there is a General Headquarters that is run by the elected General Secretary-Treasurer (GST) of the IWW. There is also a General Administration, which is made up of the GST and an elected General Executive Board. The purpose of the General Administration is to maintain the affairs of the IWW between General Assemblies.

All elected union officers are elected directly by those members they represent and are subject to recall by those members if need be. All important union matters such as changes of the IWW Constitution are decided by Referendum of union members, and any decision made by union officers can be overturn by referendum of the general membership.

Industrial Tactics

The IWW believes in working people acting directly in their own self-interest. When you join the IWW you are not delegating to others that which you should be doing for yourself. The IWW tactics are called Industrial Direct Action. This includes Direct Action on the job where working people control their labor as a means to create better wages and conditions or, when it is needed, withhold their labor altogether and walk off the job in an industrial strike.

Those workers on the job decide all such tactics. When workers on the job take industrial action the IWW maintains universal solidarity. No union worker ever crosses a union picket line, no union worker handles scab goods, no union worker supplies a shop on strike with goods or services, and no union worker does the work of a striking worker at another location.

Join the One Big Union Today

The IWW way of organizing is an effective means of organization for the day-to-day needs of all workers on any job, and it is the most effect means of building a new society where those who do the producing control the means of production.

The IWW is built one worker at a time and that means you. If you want more from your labor, better working conditions and believe that those that do the useful work in our society should have control over their labor then it maybe time that you joined the IWW.