About the I.W.W.
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common…
The I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World) is a member-run union for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the job, in our industries and in our communities. Here are some I.W.W. Fun Facts:
- Founded in Chicago in 1905
- I.W.W. members are referred to as wobblies
- There are general membership branches all around the world – Uganda and South Africa, Australia, Germany, just to name a few!
We are the Industrial Workers of the World because we organize industrially. This means we organize all workers producing the same goods or providing the same services into one big union, rather than dividing workers by skill or trade, so we can pool our strength to win our demands together.
Since the I.W.W. was founded in 1905, we have made significant contributions to the labor struggles around the world and have a proud tradition of organizing across gender, ethnic, and racial lines long before such organizing was popular.
We invite you to become a member whether or not the I.W.W. happens to have representation rights in your workplace. We organize the worker, not the job, and recognize that unions are not about government certification or employer recognition but about workers coming together to address common concerns. Sometimes this means refusing to work with dangerous equipment and chemicals. Other times it means agitating around particular issues or grievances in a workplace or industry.
By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old…
The Portland general membership branch (or GMB) is one of the most established and active branches in the nation. While we primarily represent the food, retail, and social service industries, our members truly come from every background – from students to self-employed, non-profit to big box workers.
There are 4 public I.W.W. shops in Portland:
- The Red and Black Cafe
- Harry’s Mother (Janus Youth Programs)
- Street Light/Porch Light shelters (Janus Youth Programs)
- Portland Women’s Crisis Line
While we’re fighting for labor rights, we’re working towards a broader goal of social justice. Portland wobblies have formed working groups such as the Patriarchy Resistance Committee to address and combat issues of inequality.