Industrial Workers of the World Day!

Today is Industrial Workers of the World Day! This is a cause driven holiday that focuses on issues we can all get behind.

Industrial Workers of the World Day (IWW) is a day created by a member-run organization of the same name founded on June 27th, 1905.

The organization and its members (also known as the “Wobblies”) aim to win better working conditions and make sure workplaces are run for the benefit of workers and their communities. Since its founding, the IWW has made noteworthy contributions to industrial labour struggles around the world. With an international reach and recorded activity in countries like Australia, Canada, U.S., Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Ireland, the organization has run several campaigns over the years that have tackled a variety of issues like community conservation, reuse, buyback recycling and pay disputes for industrial workers.

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One of IWW’s noteworthy campaigns was for workers in Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabrics, an independently owned fabric store in the Bay Area in California. This campaign which took place between 2002 and 2004, brought issues like pay inequities, inconsistent training procedures, high stress environment and the breakdown of owner-employee relations to the forefront. Eventually a union was formed to in order to bring about resolutions like fair pay, more cooperation between owners and employees, procedures for conflict resolution and access to benefits. The IWW was viewed (and still is by some segments) as the organization that pioneered what is described as “wild” strategies that industrial unions back in the day would use to build the modern labor movement.

What’s the significance for us?

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It’s very important for us as consumers to understand that the concept of sustainability and ethics isn’t restricted to eco-friendly or “green” thinking, but it’s also the process of truly understanding where products we purchase come from, the conditions that workers from these industries (i.e. manufacturing, clothing) are in, and the actions we can take to make changes to address the challenges faced. This day is important because it empowers us to be better equipped with the understanding that industrial workers have rights to live free from hardship and exploitation. Knowing is one thing, but helping to spread the word and taking actions to make big corporations and manufacturers aware that we care about the impact of their activities will push them into making their practices more responsible and create a working environment that is safe and fair for future generations of industrial workers.

Want to learn more? Check out the Industrial Workers of the World website.

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