ABOUT THE IWW
The IWW is a union for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the job, in our industries and in our communities both to win better conditions today and to build a world without bosses, a world in which production and distribution are organized by workers ourselves to meet the needs of the entire population, not merely a handful of exploiters.
We are the Industrial Workers of the World because we organize industrially –that is to say, we organize all workers on the job into one union, rather than dividing workers by trade, so that we can pool our strength to fight the bosses together.
Since the IWW was founded in 1905, we have recognized the need to build a truly international union movement in order to confront the global power of the bosses and in order to strengthen workers’ ability to stand in solidarity with our fellow workers no matter what part of the globe they happen to live on.
We are a union open to all workers, whether or not the IWW happens to have representation rights in your workplace. We organize the worker, not the job, recognizing that unionism is not about government certification or employer recognition but about workers coming together to address our common concerns. Sometimes this means striking or signing a contract. Sometimes it means refusing to work with an unsafe machine or following the bosses’ orders so literally that nothing gets done. Sometimes it means agitating around particular issues or grievances in a specific workplace, or across an industry.
Because the IWW is a democratic, member-run union, decisions about what issues to address and what tactics to pursue are made by the workers directly involved.
WHY JOIN THE IWW?
It does not take long to figure out that workers and their employers do not have the same interests. Workers want shorter hours, higher pay, and better benefits.
We want our work to be less boring, less dangerous, and less destructive to the environment. We want more control over how we produce goods and provide services. We want meaningful work that contributes to our communities and world. Our employers, in contrast, want us to work longer, harder, faster, and cheaper. They want fewer safety and environmental regulations and they demand absolute control over all decisions, work schedules, speech, and actions in the workplace.
PRACTICAL BENEFITS OF A UNION
The easiest way to stand up for each other in our workplaces and communities and the easiest way to improve our working conditions is to join a union. That is why employers fight so hard, and spend so much money, to keep unions out of their workplaces. Workers with unions generally have higher pay and job security, better benefits, and fewer scheduling problems. More pay equals fewer hours at work and more hours for enjoying the good things in life. Union workplaces are safer and have less harassment, discrimination, and favoritism. This is because a union gives workers the power to make workplace decisions. The less we let our employers make all of the decisions, the better our lives and communities will be. Unions also provide mutual aid and community. This means assistance with problems at work, but it could also mean help with a community project or fighting a landlord.
WHY EVERY WORKER SHOULD BE IN THE ONE BIG UNION
Whether your job sucks or is “pretty good” (at least today), we in the IWW believe you should join us for the following reasons. We need to start sticking up for our coworkers in our workplaces and in our industries. Ask around on your next shift. How many coworkers have two or three jobs? How many are one paycheck away from an eviction? We have a duty to our co-workers, and those who will follow in our footsteps, to make things better. The only way to do this is to organize together. When we band together around our common experiences and interests, we can improve our jobs and industries. Our labour, not our bosses, is what makes our workplaces tick and we can use our labour power to improve our jobs and our communities in the short term. In a lot of ways, that is what unions are all about.
With the IWW, you also belong to a union that has a long term vision and plan to eliminate the bosses, make our industries and economy democratic, and stop war and want and inequality. So join us.
As an IWW member, you get:
1) volunteer organizers if you choose to organize your workplace and industry.
2) union organizing expertise in areas of strategy, media, community support, infrastructure building, and bargaining.
3) commitment to democratic unionism, which means members control their own organizing campaigns and the direction of the union.
4) an international organization dedicated to working together to build worker power on our jobs and in our communities.
5) mutual aid and support.
6) some practical things: a subscription to the Industrial Worker (union newspaper), the IWW internal newsletter, access to the IWW website, the union’s constitution, your local branch newsletter (if applicable), and a member button.
Nothing will change until we organize. Joining the IWW is easy. The sooner you do, the sooner things will improve and the sooner we, and not the bosses, will enjoy the good things in life.
Preamble to the IWW Constitution
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.
Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.
We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.
These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.
Instead of the conservative motto, “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, “Abolition of the wage system.”
It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.