Suns Out, Wobs Out! – IWW August 1 Picket at CUPW National Office

IWW members and supporters in front of CUPW National Office on August 1st, 2019
IWW members and supporters in front of CUPW National Office on August 1st, 2019

August 1st was a beautiful day in the nation’s capital. In fact, it was so nice that the Ottawa-Outaouais IWW decided to get together, enjoy the last gasps of the summer, and take the fight to the boss on behalf of Fellow Worker Aalya Ahmad.

Foot traffic was slow outside of the office, but our members were still able to engage a decent number of people with our signs and flyers. We have provided a digital copy of the fliers and the contained text below.

There’s a lot going on here and I don’t have time to read everything. How do I make sense of it?

If you have questions we haven’t been able to answer here or need help to sift through the evidence, please email us at wagetheft@ottawaiww.org.

I can’t picket but how else can I help?

  • Send a letter or petition of support for Aalya, either as an individual or as a group to wagetheft@ottawaiww.org. We will forward it to the CUPW National Executive Board and publicize it (with your permission).
  • Follow, promote and share our fight on your social media
  • Fight back against these issues on your own shop floor. Abuse of workers is never okay, even if it’s being done by a union. Remember that choosing to stay silent or ‘neutral’ in any given situation is choosing a side. In this case, it’s pretty clear which side workers should be on.

We thank the many postal workers across the
country who have reached out, voiced their
support, and condemned what is being done to
Aalya in their name, with their union dues.

Why should I support Aalya Ahmad?

Aalya is an organizer known for her work on social justice, equity and labour issues. She was the national Coordinator of the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s and Human Rights, a founder of the Radical Handmaids, and active in the Occupy movement, to name just a few. Aalya has a solid track record of helping to get big wins for union members, including CUPW members. She deserves the same justice she fights for for other workers.

What started all this?

Aalya was president of her staff union Local CUPE 1979 and on their negotiations team with CUPW, which was demanding huge concessions from staff, when a conflict with a co-worker arose, during which she was subjected to bullying and threatening gestures. Aalya had previously been bullied at CUPW and was trying to get anti-bullying training in the workplace when this happened. As a result, she suffered a serious mental health crisis. Management unfairly put all the blame on Aalya for the incident and its aftermath, and ignored her medical condition, driving her out of the workplace and forcing her eventually to resign after repeatedly harassing her when she was on disability leave.

What are the issues and why is the IWW involved?

It’s about the way Aalya is being treated by CUPW’s management team with the full knowledge and collusion of the CUPW National Executive Board. We believe CUPW’s internal politics are a factor in the many abuses she endured, including the withholding of tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and entitlements upon her constructive dismissal. The IWW originally got involved because of this wage theft. We estimate the Board’s spending on lawyers on these matters far exceeds what Aalya was originally owed.

Have you tried talking to CUPW?

Yes. repeatedly We first contacted them in the fall of 2018, demanding Aalya be made whole and requesting to meet with them. We have repeated this request both in writing and by holding small and peaceful information at their national office. So far. they’ve either ignored us or accused us of harassing them by picketing, which is a weird position fora union to take (especially a union like CUPW). This should never have come to the point where we had to set up pickets but we did so only after their repeated refusals to talk.

What does the IWW want?

CUPW management originally withheld almost S30,000 from Aalya while persecuting her for fighting for her rights by filing a human rights complaint against them for discrimination on the grounds of disability. Against medical advice, they forced her into small claims court over a much smaller amount that she was already paying back To prevent the boss from dragging things out for years at the expense of her mental health, Aalya agreed to forgo some of the money she was entitled to in order to get her human rights complaint heard. We believe CUPW management has been treating this situation like a personal vendetta or ‘lawfare’ financed by their members dues. We want representatives who haven’t been directly involved in this dispute to review the wage theft issue and work with us to remedy it.

Do you have proof to support these claims?

Yes, we have extensive documents from emails and letters between CUPW management and Aalya. to letters from her doctors to the data on her stolen wages You can find it all on our Facebook page @ottawaoutIWW and on the Ottawa IWW website at OttawaIWW.org.

I’ve heard a different story from other sources.

Aalya was the target of a smear campaign designed to muddy the waters. The National Executive Board sent a statement about her to all CUPW representatives and staff nationwide, twisting the facts to make it look like she acted inappropriately. Her former CUPE Local 1979 objected to allegations in the statement. Prior to CUPW’s convention and elections, the smear campaign got really vicious. Collins’ predecessor and advisor posted Aalya’s RateMyProfessor page (an anonymous website often used for racist and sexist attacks on university workers) and disparaged her good work at CUPW to thousands of members. The smears are false but the smear campaigners rely on the fact that most folks won’t read through a massive pile of letters and emails to see the truth for themselves. They have also influenced members and staff to claim that Aalya is attacking them by simply trying to defend her rights as a worker and exercising her right to freedom of expression. This is a serious slur against someone who has dedicated her life to the labour movement.

Why is the IWW picketing when Aalya was a member of a staff union at CUPW?

The staff union (CUPE Local 1979) represented Aalya on some of the issues described here and we supported them in doing so. However, she is no longer working at CUPW and the wage theft issues are not resolved from our point of view. Aalya is also a member of the IWW Ottawa-Outaouais is General Membership Branch. Her other CUPE Local 4600 (representing teaching assistants and part-time professors at Carleton University) has written a letter to the CUPW National Executive Board in support of Aalya and its members have joined our pickets. That’s what solidarity looks like.

Don’t you support postal workers?

Yes we do and so does Aalya. Last winter the IWW everywhere walked CUPW’s picket lines and our members were even arrested in support of postal workers. In spite of how she has been treated, Aalya actively demonstrated her solidarity with CUPW members. Many postal workers are upset about how she has been treated. Our issue is exclusively with the paid representatives on the National Executive Board.

Sept 16th Anti-Oppression Workshop with Thane Robyn

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch are hosting an open Anti-Oppression Training Workshop by trainer Thane Robyn of Robyn Media.

This event is taking place on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people.

Venue is fully wheelchair accessible.

Facebook Event

Registration Form

GoFundMe

More Info

Sept 16th 1-3 PM

Bronson Centre (211 Bronson) Room 222
3hr Training will include 3 segments with breaks for coffee and snacks

1. Anti-Oppression 101
2. Anti-Oppression Application
3. Anti-Oppression Community Building

Suggested donation is $15.
No one turned away for lack of funds.

May Day 2017

Rally and March
When: 3 pm – 7 pm, Monday, May 1
Where: Minto Park, 315 Elgin St, Ottawa. Gather at 3:00 pm. This is not a permitted march

Free Feast
When: Starting at 5:00 pm, Monday, May 1
Where: Location TBD. Family friendly.

Make Me Bad May Day
When: 8 pm – 11:30 pm, Monday, May 1
Where: Cafe Nostalgica, 601 Cumberland St, Ottawa
A musical evening, featuring: Apparatchiks, Himig Masa, Jordan Armstrong AKA New Age Hippie, Sky Sky, and Omar Saghir.

UPDATE: PARTY & OTHER NEWS

Help the Wobblies Fight Constellation Brands

Ottawa folk-duo Moonfruits are hosting a party and benefit concert for Miles and the IWW.

[Le français suit.]

We’d like to invite you to our home on Riverdale Ave (#518) for a House Concert – and sing-along if you’re up for it – to raise funds for Miles Krauter and the IWW (the Industrial Workers of the World) in their fight against Constellation Brands, most likely known to you through their Wine Rack stores.

Moonfruits & Special Guests will be singing and leading songs throughout the night. We’ll be passing the hat and running a prize draw to raise funds for Miles. There will be no entry fee.

Drinks and snacks will be on offer but feel free to bring along your beverage of choice as well!

Based on evidence gathered from former managers and co-workers, the IWW firmly believe that Miles Krauter was fired because of his unionizing efforts at the Wine Rack. With the help of the IWW, he is taking the fight for reinstatement and back pay all the way to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) in Toronto. Funds raised will help offset the transport and accomodation costs of bringing witnesses and themselves to the OLRB. Any funds raised that exceed those costs will go to the Wine Merchants of Ottawa UNITE Union Drive.

See you there! And by there, we mean here!

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On vous accueille dans notre maisonnée sur l’avenue Riverdale (#518) pour une soirée chantante afin de recueillir des fonds pour Miles Krauter et le SITT (Syndicat Industriel des Travailleuses et des Travailleurs) dans leur lutte contre Constellation Brands, que vous connaîteriez certainement par leurs magasins Wine Rack.

Moonfruits ainsi que des invités spéciaux vont démarrer la soirée. Le chapeau va être passé et un tirage de prix va être offert en guise de cueillette de fonds. Il n’y aura pas de frais d’entrée

Des boissons et collations seront offertes mais ne gênez-vous pas d’emmener votre consommation de choix.

Selon des témoignages de gérants et de collègues de travail, le SITT croit fermement que Miles Krauter a été congédié de son emploi au Wine Rack après que son employeur ait prit conscience de sa campagne de syndicalisation. Avec l’aide du SITT, Miles poursuit la lutte pour le rétablissement d’emploi et la paie rétroactive jusqu’à la Commission des relations de travail de l’Ontario à Toronto. Les fonds recueillis iront vers le transport et l’hébergement de témoins et de membres du SITT impliqués. Tout surplus ira à appuyer la poursuite de la campagne de syndicalisation de Wine Merchants of Ottawa UNITE.

Au plaisir de vous accueillir chez nous!

GDC Local 6: May is Write Political Prisoners Month

The IWW General Defense Committee Local 6 declares May to be Write Political Prisoners month!

We urge General Defense Committee members, IWW members and all members of the working class to send letters and cards to the political prisoners listed below, who are serving time for putting their politics on the frontline.

We urge everyone to write and let them know that we are out there for them because they are in jail for us. Organize a May letter writing session or just commit to writing one letter per week this month to a political prisoner.

Print this 2-page leaflet, GDC May Is Write Political Prisoners Month, and distribute it to your friends and organizations.

The General Defense Committee Local 6 is a regional defense group of the Industrial Workers of the World in Canada. For more information, contact gdc6@ottawaiww.org or visit www.ottawaiww.org.

Toronto G8/G20 Prisoners

Leah Henderson
Vanier Centre for Women
P.O.Box 1040
655 Martin Street
Milton, Ontario
L9T 5E6 Canada
Context: Leah Henderson – 14 month sentence for one count of Counseling to Commit Mischief. Sentence began on December 20th 2011. Leah is scheduled for release in June, 2012.

Amanda Hiscocks
Vanier Centre for Women
P.O.Box 1040
655 Martin Street
Milton, Ontario
L9T 5E6 Canada
Context: Mandy Hiscocks – 18 month sentence for one count of Counselling to Commit Mischief, and one count of Counselling to Obstruct Police. Sentence began on January 13th 2012. Mandy is scheduled for release in December 2012.

Greg Noltie-Rowley
Maplehurst Complex
PO Box 10
661 Martin St.
Milton, ON
L9T 2Y3
Context: Girr (nickname) was arrested in November of 2010 by the G20 Special Investigation Team for his alleged participation in the black bloc action. He was placed under house arrest in Rockwood, just outside of Guelph. He eventually had his conditions reduced to a curfew. Following his preliminary hearing, he pled guilty to one count of Mischief Under $5000, one count of Masked with Intent and one count of Public Nuisance. He was convicted on February 3rd, 2012 and is currently serving a nine month sentence. This is his first conviction.
More G20 prisoners’ info: http://guelphabc.noblogs.org/

Prisoners Who Need Our Support

Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP-Lewisburg
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Context: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/write.htm

Joseph Roger Clement (FPS-666866F)
Pittsburgh Institution
Highway 15, No. 3766
PO Box 4510
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 5E5
Context: Ottawa Movement Defense
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ottawa-Movement-Defense/

Marie Mason #04672-061
FMC Carswell
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Note: Marie Mason has a list of 100 people she can write to. So people won’t get a letter back from her. Write her anyways!
Context: http://supportmariemason.org/about/

Triple E October: Get Educated, Engaged, & Effective!

Six multi-day learning opportunities on health and justice in our communities and workplaces.

The Politics of Resistance Workshop Series
Oct.17-Dec.12 Mon. evngs
(Intro session Oct 3rd/10th)
A workshop series on effective non-violent action. Explores sociopolitical struggles and changes in power and politics. Suggested donation: $50 (optional). Facilitated by Mike Kaulbars. More info here.

Activism: Building a Better World
Oct.11-Nov.15 Tues evngs
Participant-driven course on how to learn, organize and take action on what matters most to us. Build on collective knowledge, experience and inspiration. Sliding scale cost. Facilitated by Greg Macdougall, 613-656-5498. More info here.

Tools for Change Workshop Series
Different stand-alone workshops in Oct and Nov on the following topics: Grassroots Fundraising, Making Our Movements Accessible, Campaign Strategy, Media Strategy 101&201, Avoiding Burnout & Sustaining our Communities. No cost. Facilitated by OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa, 613-230-3076. More info here.

Sexuality Awareness Program Training
Oct.15-Nov.5 Saturdays
Background knowledge, information, practical skills and resources to help participants deal with and understand issues of sexuality. $300, or no cost if you become a community education volunteer: Planned Parenthood Ottawa, 613-226-3234. More info here (will need to scroll down a bit).

Aboriginal Perspectives on Education
Oct.28-Oct. 29 Fri evng, Saturday
‘Covenant Chain Link II’ – Building bridges of understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples: panel discussions, workshops, displays, resources, documentaries, networking opportunities, and more! $30/45 (discounts avail.) Contact Ed Bianchi, 613-235-9956 ext. 221. More info here (link to PDF).

Industrial Workers of the World Organizer Training
Nov.19-20 Sat/Sun
For anyone who seeks to organize a union in their workplace. 2-day intensive workshop to increase capacity and skills, with an emphasis on the IWW Solidarity Unionism model. Topics include: how to begin an organizing campaign, preparing to go public with your union, applicable federal/provincial labour laws & more. Sliding scale cost. Facilitated by OttawaIWW.org.

Unionize! Organizer Training Nov. 19-20, 2011

On November 19th and 20th, the Ottawa-Outaouais IWW will be hosting an Organizer Training.

An Organizer Training is a 2-day intensive workshop that aims to increase  capacity and skills of anyone who seeks to organize a union in their workplace, with an emphasis on the IWW Solidarity Unionism model. Topics covered range from, but are not limited to, how to begin an organizing campaign to preparing to go public with your union, as well as the applicable federal/provincial labour laws.

To register, please fill out this form:

http://ottawaiww.org/organize2011

Ottawa Panhandlers Union Artists at Can-Con 2011

Check out the art of the IWW Ottawa Panhandlers Union at this year’s Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature (www.can-con.org).

Ontario’s Safe Streets Act may prevent street artists from making a living selling their art on the curbside, but they are welcome as part of Ottawa’s creative community.

Sept. 9-11, 2011

Travelodge Ottawa Hotel & Conference Centre

1376 Carling Avenue

Ottawa, ON K1Z 7L5

Entrance fee is $45 for Saturday and $15 for Sunday.

For more information about the Ottawa Panhandlers Union, visit www.ottawaiww.org or email ott-out@iww.org.

Directions

The Hotel is located just west of Westgate Mall, on the south side of Carling Avenue between Merivale Rd and Kirkwood Ave. OC Transpo Routes 85 and 101 will stop at or near the Hotel, while routes 151 and 176 will stop at Westgate Mall across the street. Routes 14 and 86 pass nearby, but will require a transfer at Carling and Holland/Fisher or a long walk down the hill from there. Taking the O-Train to Carling Station also can help you connect with Route 85 or 101 for a quick trip to the Hotel site.

CALL OUT: May Day Rally & Street Art Auction

May Day – May 1st – is International Workers’ Day, a day established to commemorate labour struggles by workers around the world since the mid-19th century, when the fight for the 8-hour day cost the lives of many of those active in their labour movements.

Join us May 1st on Parliament Hill at 1pm as we take to the streets with United Steelworkers – Local 1005 from Hamilton, many of whom are currently locked out from their workplace. The attack on Local 1005 members by the employer, U.S. Steel, is part of a larger global attack on all workers around the world across all industries. These attacks include union-busting, cuts to wages, benefits, and pensions and affect all workers.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

Whether you work in a unionized shop or not, an attack on workers is an attack on you. These attacks are lowering the standards of employment and raising profits for employers not being properly held accountable for the effects their practices are having on society and the world.

Later, the Ottawa Panhandlers’ Union will be hosting a Street Art Auction, 6-8pm, 2nd floor of the Jack Purcell Community Centre (off Elgin, near Gilmour). Come out and support your local street artists at a time when Ottawa’s business and political interests side with wiping out the city’s street culture.

HUBERT HARRISON: THE BLACK SOCRATES

A talk with biographer Jeffrey B. Perry

Thursday, February 10, 2010 · 19:00 – 22:00

CUPW Boardroom
377 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON

A talk with biographer Jeffrey B. Perry on this radical Caribbean and American worker-intellectual who organized with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), was a tireless editor and writer on issues of race, class and justice, and later founded the International Colored Unity League and advocated a separate black state within the United States. He died at just 44 years of age.

Sponsored by the Ottawa-Outouais IWW, Black Law Student Association, Human Rights Research and Education Centre of the University of Ottawa, ravenlaw.com, and the University of Ottawa Law Union. Thanks also to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
(CUPW) for hosting the event.