Official Endorsement of Voz: Workers’ Rights Education Project by the PDX IWW

The Portland IWW is proud to endorse Voz: Workers’ Rights Education Project. Founded in 2000, Voz has been connecting day laborers to work, supporting worker-led organizing, and offering trainings.

Voz is a worker-led organization that gives power to immigrant workers that may not otherwise have the means to organize and bargain for humane working conditions and fair wages. Having the ability to organize and fight for these universal goals gives immigrants the ability to work, to better empower and enrich their communities and lives.

The Voz: Workers Rights Education Project is currently campaigning for their Building The Dream campaign, petitioning the city of Portland for the rights to purchase the property at 240 NE Martin Luther King JR Blvd., to provide immigrant workers and day laborers with a place to meet potential employers, discuss the conditions of their labor, while having the choice to sell their labor to whomever they believe will give them the respect that they deserve.

As such, Voz requires support from community organizations to help them fight for these rights, and to show the city of Portland that the community stands with them and will help defend the exploited and under-privileged workers that move our city and society forward. The Portland Industrial Workers of the World has long worked alongside the VOZ: Workers Rights Education Project and firmly believes that day laborers – like all workers – should have secure sites from which to organize and direct their own labor.

Posted in Uncategorized

A LETTER FROM THE J20 DEFENSE CAMPAIGN OF THE MID-ATLANTIC GENERAL DEFENSE COMMITTEE OF THE IWW

PDF version can be found here

We are asking organizations to endorse our call for all charges related to these protests to be dropped. We’ve written a guide for how union members can bring it to a local meeting to endorse it.

We also have a petition for individuals to sign.

On January 20, 2017, thousands took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to protest the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. During one of the many marches held on Inauguration Day, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department showed the world how it planned to treat dissent moving forward: Shortly after the protest began, hundreds of protesters were attacked with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and batons. Police confined over 200 people within a “kettle” for hours before arresting them. Every protester’s cell phone was confiscated as evidence and rooted through. Upon being released, they were handed a riot charge. Months later, US attorneys piled on 8 additional felony charges, including “Conspiracy to Riot”. Protesters now face up to 75 years in prison – all for attending a demonstration.

Among the people arrested were over two dozen members of our union, the Industrial Workers of the World, and its affiliated legal defense and community organizing body, the IWW General Defense Committee (GDC). Within the IWW and GDC, we don’t shy away from our members’ politics, and support our members’ rights to express their politics through protests and marches, a tradition that goes back within our union to battles over free speech in the early 20th century.

Since the arrests, D.C. prosecutors and police have shown a disturbing pattern of repression as well as specific targeting of IWW and GDC members. Our members had their union cards and buttons confiscated and held as evidence. Months after the protest, three individuals (including two prominent members of the DC IWW local branch) were served with warrants for their arrest on charges of conspiracy to riot. Prior to their warrants being issued, the prosecutor’s office revealed that they had created separate trial groupings, including one grouping where nearly all defendants were IWW or GDC members. While they will not say as much in public, it has become clear that the city attorneys for Washington, D.C. are treating membership in our union as evidence of a criminal act.

This is not the first time the IWW has been targeted for repression, and it is unlikely to be the last. The crackdown on protesters in D.C. is part of a larger effort to criminalize and silence dissent in working-class and marginalized communities. D.C. is just one of more than a dozen states that are attempting to quell dissent through legislation or harsh legal penalties. This is not a coincidence. People in power want activists and organizations to be afraid to protest Trump’s agenda.

The labor movement cannot succeed if union members are treated as criminals when protesting anti-union and anti-worker politicians and their policies. No social movement can operate in repressive conditions like that. We have always stood by the principle that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” In this spirit, we are calling on our friends and allies in the labor movement, as well as in allied progressive or left groups, to share this letter and pass the following motion within your union local or organization:

“We are deeply concerned about the severe repression against all protesters facing charges for exercising their First Amendment rights on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. We assert our support of the demand to drop the charges against all protesters. We further commit to:

Contacting info@midatlanticgdc.com to add our organization’s name to those endorsing this letter, to be found at www.midatlanticGDC.com/letter

Requesting the appropriate individual post to our organization’s social media accounts that we support this letter

Requesting the appropriate officer or individual send an expression of our support for the above demand to the United States Attorney’s Office, ATTN: Channing Phillips, 555 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20530

Encouraging our members to get involved in the effort to support all defendants at www.defendj20resistance.org and www.midatlanticGDC.com.”

(Original linkback at the Mid-Atlantic GDC site)

Posted in Events, News Tagged with: , , ,

Portland May Day 2017 — Official Response

This was originally sent to KOIN 6 as a response to the events that took place on May Day in Portland.

The Industrial Workers of the World is proud that we were able to celebrate International Workers Day and march in solidarity with so many organizations which are essential and vibrant to the community of Portland and at large. International Workers Day is an important holiday that showcases the struggle of all workers against the wholesale societal systemic oppression brought about by corporations, CEOs, and the mega-rich capitalist class. The fact that there was such a strong contingent of marchers from all walks of life is representative of the American working class.

The Portland Police Bureau’s use of violence against workers and their families – as well as the children who were in the crowd celebrating the holiday with their parents – is a travesty and a violation of both human rights, as well as the right to peaceful assembly. We condemn their efforts in restricting accessibility to fellow workers with disabilities, and their blatant disregard for the health and well-being of the people they have sworn to protect. By direct contrast, they assisted visible white supremacists and white nationalists at the “March for Free Speech 82nd Ave,” specifically a non-permitted march by pro-Trump supporters on April 29th by chartering Tri-Met buses and public transportation to get these people, some of whom were making Nazi salutes during their protest, back to their vehicles.

Our goal is and has always been to support and assist the workers of the world, and we will continue to fight for the needs of all in the face of police and capitalist oppression, and stand by our watchword that an injury to one is an injury to all. As such, the Portland Police Bureau inflicted shameful injury against the workers, their families, and their children during the May Day march; we will stand against that in solidarity with our fellow workers.

Posted in News

Portland IWW 20th Anniversary Party!

Friday, January 13

7:00pm – 9:00pm at Cider Riot
(807 NE Couch St, Portland, OR)

For the last 20 years the Portland IWW has been a consistent and innovative organization at the forefront of militant labor organizing in our region. Hundreds of people have been involved in our union throughout this time, many are still active today, and others are just getting started. It’s time to celebrate this legacy, in a time when unions are needed more than ever.

This event will be an opportunity to meet up with old comrades, and learn more about what the IWW is up to today. Our friends at Cider Riot!, Portland’s newest cider bar, will be hosting us in the cidery. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to mingle, share stories, and view a slideshow of years past. The event is all-ages, and open to all friends, family, and fellow workers from near and far. Our Junior Wobblies coordinators will be on hand to provide kids activities on site!

There is a suggested donation of $5-$10 to help fundraise for the Union Benefits program of the Burgerville Workers Union, an IWW organizing campaign. There’ll be pizza on hand too, courtesy of Scottie’s Pizza. Be sure to RSVP with this link to secure your slice!

Posted in Events, News Tagged with: , , ,

Donate to the Portland I.W.W.

Hardship Fund:
A fund to help support fellow workers fired for organizing on the job.

Organizing Fund:
A donation to the Organizing Fund helps support our organizing campaigns and training program.

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