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Immigration Series, chapter 1 : Rise and Misery of Roxham Road

I admit it, I have a passion for extreme sports. I love whitewater kayaking, I had a blast when I tried kitesurfing and I'm just waiting to finish my studies to have enough time to devote myself to roller derby. But decidedly, the extreme sport that makes me experience the most strong emotions, it’s the absolutely endless race to find your way through the ever-rebuilding maze that is our immigration system. You probably won't believe me, but I swear it's really exciting!

Since Canadian immigration policies are a headache for absolutely everyone, including myself, I decided to make a series of articles aimed at popularizing all this. If all goes as planned – but please, don’t expect too much – I hope to finish a text on temporary immigration status and human trafficking and to lay another on the history of racist immigration policies since confederation. I am also open to suggestions. I like challenges and I am a bit proud, bring it your trick question!

Short, we are going strong with a topic that is far too hot for my text to remain up to date for a very long time, and I named: Safe Third Country Agreement and Roxham Road.

Hope this helps you understand the issues better.!

A few basic notions by way of introduction

  1. No one is illegal. Never.

People are sometimes without status or papers. Sometimes they don't have the right papers, but they are never “illegal”, because not being in an irregular situation with regard to one's immigration status is an administrative offense, not criminal. Exactly like a parking ticket. On the other hand, it is a criminal offense to hire people who do not have a work permit. It can sometimes even be seen from the angle of human trafficking in certain circumstances.. We will see this in more detail in the next edition.!

  1. Extremely few people arrive in Canada undocumented.

This is partly due to the geographical location of the country.. Indeed, unless you go through the United States, only land border with Canada, it is absolutely necessary to take a boat or a plane to come to the country. Or, unless you come in a container on board a cargo ship – we are talking about twenty people a year over the last few years. 5 last years1 – you will need at least a passport and a visa (working, study or tourism)2 to be able to board these transports and finally enter the country.

People who are without status in Canada have to very, vast majority already had legal authorization to be here and lost it along the way. This also applies to people crossing the border on foot from the United States.. This is my next point.

Roxham Road, a specter that haunts conservatives

The Roxham Road which, in another life, dreamed of being recognized across the country for being the gateway to the incomparable Parc Safari, is now rather famous for being the main gateway to Canada or the United States – depending on which way you take it3 – for migrants in search of a more stable life.

Indeed, passing said park, Roxham Road narrows into a kind of country road surrounded by houses far apart from each other separated by fields and patches of forest. The path continues in the same way on the American side before becoming a busier road again a few kilometers further on.. On the border between Canada and the United States: nothing. No official border post, only an RCMP command post and a mound that appears to be artificially constructed to mark the border.

Source RCMP Post : Google Map, 26 January 2023

End of Roxham Road on the Canadian side. Source : Google Map, 26 January 2023

This crossing point is by far the most popular among migrants., first and foremost for practical considerations. Indeed, rare are the border areas not controlled by customs officers that are crossed by an almost complete road. To cross elsewhere without facing a customs officer, you have to walk several kilometers without landmarks in the forest, which increases the risk of getting lost along the way.

Now, why people want to avoid going through customs? Contrary to messages bombarded by the anti-immigration right, it's not because these people have more "things to hide" than others.

To fully understand the origin of the popularity of Roxham Road, we have to go back to the very troublesome era of the War on terror decreed by the United States in the aftermath of the attacks on 11 September 2001. Thumbing up on the rumor that the attackers of the twin towers had joined the United States through the Canadian border – a myth that will later be dismantled – the Republicans of George W. Bush campaign for increased border control. It was felt that the Canadian border was a sieve for foreign nationals looking for work in the United States..

In this context, Canada and the United States signed theAgreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America for Cooperation in Determining Refugee Status Claims by Third-Country Nationals4 often referred to simply as the “safe third country agreement”.

Don't be surprised, this agreement, among other things, on the principle already well known at that time in Europe of… “safe third country”. Basically, this principle establishes the responsibility for the processing of asylum applications for the first State deemed safe which would have been crossed by foreign nationals during their migratory journey.

for example, a person from Latin America who would have visited the United States, then crossed to Canada before seeking asylum, would be automatically refused and sent back to the United States to process their application.

At the twist, is that the agreement provides an exception to this obligation for people who cross the border on foot without crossing a border crossing. So if we take the previous example, the person from Latin America could have their asylum file processed in Canada if they go through… Roxham Road!

Passing by this road, migrants know that they will not encounter customs officers, but they also know that RCMP officers will be on the other side to accommodate their asylum application from the first minutes of their stay in Canada.. Reason why people who cross there should not be qualified as "undocumented".

They are asylum seekers.

Until the March Biden-Trudeau deal 2023, the RCMP officers who were sent to this area did not have the mandate to determine whether the persons crossing had valid grounds for seeking the protection of Canada. They also had no right to send people back to the United States.. They therefore had to transport the migrants to what they call the “Immigration Monitoring Center” in Laval., read: a newly expanded prison. But do not worry, on the site of theCanada Border Services Agency we are assured that the dining rooms of the Laval prison are spaces with natural light5. #Canada, #PaysDesDroitsHumains, #Monk.

from jail, the identity of applicants will be verified. If they are not notorious criminals in their countries of origin, they will be released after some time with a temporary status until their request for protection is analyzed on the merits one to two years later, in front, there Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

[I had written a very long piece on the course of these kinds of hearings, but I realize that it probably does not interest anyone but me, so I'll spare you all that. To get a better idea of ​​what these audiences look like, I invite you to read the excellent novel Boat people by Sharon Bala, translated into French under the same title. It's describing! For the others, just know that the process is terribly painful and traumatic for victims of violence. You should also know that the procedures are very expensive and that on average 30% files are rejected and therefore go to appeal6.]

The Biden-Trudeau agreement, a shit show populist flavor

First thing to know: the entire safe third country agreement is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court. This saga began in the first year of Trump's tenure in the United States. With its migration policies cowboy, Canadian advocacy groups stopped viewing the United States as a safe country for migrants and questioned the constitutionality of the deal that no longer respected, in their eyes, the charter of rights and freedoms. Hearings are over, a decision should be made shortly.

So do a hill on the side it is not particularly necessary since everything could be redone in a few months.

That said, the Biden-Trudeau agreement that came into effect on 25 mars 2023 confirms the rigorous application of the agreement on safe third countries. So, it closes the loophole that allowed asylum seekers to circumvent the agreement. For simplicity: Yes, the side deal technically closes Roxham Road with a few exceptions, especially for unaccompanied minors (on average 4 per day), people with family in Canada or people facing the death penalty in the United States (no joke!)7. Other applicants will no longer be able to, until further notice, enter Canada through this crossing point to seek asylum.

But hey… immigration is never that simple.

The Biden-Trudeau agreement provides for a new exception: if people cross from the United States and manage to avoid being caught by the authorities in the 14 early days, they will be able to seek asylum in Canada. How will they be able to prove the exact time of their crossing to have access to this measurement? It remains a mystery! I am so looking forward to the case law that will analyze evidence based on the veracity of the plaintiffs' Tim Horton receipts... Big legal candy!

Finally, the new agreement provides that Canada will accept 15,000 more migrants this year from the “western hemisphere”. What does all this mean? What status will these people have?? Will they be here temporarily or permanently?? They will be asylum seekers or refugees? Honestly, it's really confusing! Even Minister Fraser refused to elaborate on this…

Refugee or asylum seeker?

Finally, the distinction between the status of refugee and that of asylum seeker is often the subject of confusion.

You should know that you cannot apply for asylum from abroad. As we have just seen, people seeking asylum in Canada must do so once inside its borders. So, contrary to the media discourse presenting asylum seekers as “irregular migrants”, know that there is no “right” or “regular” way to claim asylum. When your life is threatened… well you go crazy! No matter how and usually without much thought or planning. Many asylum seekers are fleeing individual persecution, such as violence by armed groups (gang, drug traffickers, to be threatened for being on the wrong political side, etc.), gender-based violence (domestic violence, forced marriages, sexual mutilation, honor killings, etc.) or homophobic violence (death threats, torture, conversion therapies, etc.).

In the reverse, refugees are people who have taken all the legal steps to obtain the protection of a State before traveling to it. These people therefore arrive in the country with all the right papers to rebuild their lives here.. Refugee status is usually granted to people who are collectively threatened, by a war, for example. All refugees are sponsored, either by the government, either by community groups. They are responsible for financially supporting refugees during their first year and must provide them with the necessary to meet their basic needs.. In doing, the number of refugees accepted per year is limited.

Interesting fact, the choice of files accepted by Canada is eminently political. During the war in Syria, practically only people of the Christian faith have been able to settle here. In this context, no wonder the Ukrainians had priority over the Afghans…

Persistent myths about asylum seekers

  1. They get paid for the all-inclusive hotel

Once they get out of the detention center, asylum seekers can be supported by organizations that offer temporary accommodation. We are talking about stays of a maximum of 3 weeks, the time that migrants find accommodation. I don't know who finds accommodation in 3 weeks in Montreal… Got there, it's a miracle! Hosting resources are indeed overwhelmed, but not because we are invaded, only because all the governments of the last decades underfund social services. Short, there is no space, which forced institutions to requisition hotels to temporarily house migrants. We are not talking here about luxury hotels offering room service. We are talking more about large families in one room, no kitchen or any cooking facilities. Short, nothing adapted to the needs of newcomers.

  1. They are “job thieves” and “BS” at the same time!

Once released from detention, asylum seekers can apply for a permit to have the right to work. Currently, this permit takes approximately 9 months to arrive. Waiting for the precious document, migrants cannot work, but they are allowed to apply for social assistance benefits. The vast majority of them would prefer to work as soon as they arrive, but they and they just can't do it.

Furthermore, let us recall, that the needs of asylum seekers upon arrival are important. They and they literally start from scratch with only a few clothes in their backpack. So you have to buy furniture, appliances, winter clothes for kids, kitchen items or any other necessities in addition to food and accommodation. It is certainly not with 923$ per month for a single person or 1431$ for a couple that we manage to do all that.

Many people will therefore be tempted to work “under the table” to meet all the needs. Or, without a work permit, migrants often inherit the most arduous and dangerous jobs, generally for ridiculous wages, in addition to risking getting caught by the authorities8.

Nevertheless, these people are often perceived by local workers as a threat to their own working conditions. Before talk of the supposed “labour shortage” took up so much space, these workers were often referred to as “job thieves”. Now we say rather that these last eras are putting downward pressure on wages because they are ready to accept anything.

The solution here the gang, it is solidarity between workers against the bosses. Nothing else!

  1. Everyone doesn't even speak French

Yes, asylum seekers have the right to francization and yes, during the months following their arrival, I can guarantee you that everyone goes to class because as long as they don't have the right to work, as well get a few extra pennies with the services for learning the language in addition to acquiring skills that allow you to find a better job afterwards.

Pis, all asylum-seeking children go to school in French, it's only been a few months, they become the interpreters of their parents, when they have. You will try to teach your mother yourself that she has cancer when you have 12 years. It's rough in ostia!

What do we get out of all this??

First, whatever the situation at the border, when people feel in danger, they will find a way to pass. No matter how high the walls, the length of the desert or the depth of the sea. It's no use trying to stop them. Worse honestly, you would probably do the same if you were in their shoes.

The advantage we had before the Biden-Trudeau agreement, it was that we could know more or less exactly the number of people who entered the country without going through a border post. Now, we can expect that the number of people who settle in Canada without papers without taking steps to regularize their immigration situation will jump. If all this fine anti-immigration world had the impression that we had lost control of our borders, they are not ready for what is to come.

Finally, seek asylum, it is a difficult process, often humiliating, always precarious. Asylum seekers too often end up in the worst, but oh so essential, jobs. The best we can do is stick together.


1 Government of Canada, Asylum 2018, On line, https://www.canada.ca/fr/immigration-refugies-citoyennete/services/refugies/demandes-asile/demandes-asile-2018.html (28 mars 2023) I advise you to take a look at all of this., It's really interesting!

2 Generally, people who come from “global north” countries do not need to apply for a tourist visa before traveling. The stamp affixed in the passport by a customs officer on arrival acts as a visitor's visa.

3 For reasons of efficiency and clarity, this text will focus only on migrants who transact from the United States to Canada. Be aware, however, that the migratory flow is important in both directions.

4 Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America for Cooperation in Determining Refugee Status Claims by Third-Country Nationals, 5 December 2002, on line : https://www.canada.ca/fr/immigration-refugies-citoyennete/organisation/mandat/politiques-directives-operationnelles-ententes-accords/ententes/entente-tiers-pays-surs/version-finale.html

5 Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration Holding Centers, On line, https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/security-securite/ihc-csi-fra.html (12 January 2023)

6 Immigration and Refugee Protection Board, Refugee Protection Division Statistics (SPR), On line, https://irb.gc.ca/fr/transparence/cartable-ccp-nov-2020/Pages/pac10.aspx?=undefined&wbdisable=false#:~:text=La SPR a réglé un,rapport à l'exercice précédent (28 mars 2023)

7 Government of Canada, Agreement between Canada and the StatesUnited on third countriesandrs, On line, https://www.canada.ca/fr/immigration-refugies-citoyennete/organisation/mandat/politiques-directives-operationnelles-ententes-accords/ententes/entente-tiers-pays-surs.html (28 mars 2023)

8 On this subject, I invite you to watch the documentary “Essentiels”. It gives a good idea of ​​the conditions in which these people can work. https://www.telequebec.tv/documentaire/essentiels


Unpaid wages for two undocumented workers : A win to start the year!

A new annIt ise has ended and once again, it was synonymous, for many workers, impay of wagesIt iss, de congIt isdiements ofIt isguisIt iss andintimidation by their employers. Too often, these bosses malhonnwillyour trying to sen tirer requireIt isment.

This was the case rIt isRecently two undocumented workers. Canada pass for a few months, they were embauchIt iss like diving in a branch restaurantIt is Fancy and St-Henri. PayIt iss under the table, they were to receive their latest hpisc through theaddress ofa friend and, once left for their countryrespective home.

IT ISvidemment, the chisn cashave never It istIt is envoyIt iss. Difficult to put pressure when one is not in the rIt isgion, when neither the français norEnglish is our language ofusage.

ContactIt is byfriend of our two comrades, the union sis set in motion. We Premiissurely appealIt is their former boss to inform him of the situation. The chef was quick to deny Connaîbe his two former employeeIt iss and tentIt is the dIt isvier conversation, to finally admit at hints that if two people it It iscrivaient on his personal email he would try to clarify « the situation ».

So we rIt isyouIt is a small message on our behalf and that of the two workersIt issIt iss we have sent himIt is. AT as well as it'at lDirectors restaurant, and this while mentioning thata rider rIt isNo responseIt isNEGATIVE from them, we would begin a public campaign at their place. rIt isponse ne swas swift. Suddenly, the restaurant's patrons remembered the work performedIt is and held by our comrades at rIt ismucus that simple « misunderstanding ». the chisques It iswere prwillts the next day and bosses sexcusaient.

If our employers like to use boundaryisres as prIt isText malfeasance orintimidation, the solidaritIt is union must abolish. The Labor standards are assumedIt iswe're protIt isgives, but they take little account of the rIt isalitIt is we live every day. Cis that so often the boss stry at fly wages, the Ndepends only'at we, workers, for RIt isproclaim that we are the! We will continue to 2018 at help our alisguages ​​and comrades at their rights, but also at sorganiser.

Happy New YearIt ise of union struggles!

Immigration and suddenly, poor d & rsquo; here have become important

IWW to Montreal, many of us work or get involved in the community. Whether housing law, homelessness prevention, access to medical assistance for undocumented, STI prevention, defense rights to welfare recipients, etc.

There is a little over a week, a new made headlines : a wave of immigrant-
e-s-do Haitian- s began pouring United States seeking asylum and were
currently housed-e- s Olympic Stadium, result toxic political Uncle Trump.

And it was enough for the racist fears awaken. Whether through the influence of
hype with spicy sauce panic, affinity with the identity discourses or
ignorance of the subject, xenophobic reflex is quickly surfaced. And groups
far-right were quick to retrieve the new scarecrow.

Except that this time, as they are not "infected Arab dangerous Sharia", more
Instead, people of Haitian origin, welcomed the US since the earthquake
from 2010, it is difficult to invoke any war of civilizations or invasion
religious to deny their coming.

It is therefore, Ironically, poor here who served as a pretext for groups and individuals
racist : "Let's start by helping our poor before helping of others. "" Our old
are abused and we will spend money we have not welcome foreign big
fresh. "" And then we wonder why we have no money for our hospitals. »
If ever the IWW advocates open borders, antiracism and solidarity between workers and
workers, whatever their origin, these cans and dishonest arguments put us
frankly angry, voire en tabarnak. And for several reasons, we want to demolish
here and now.

First, want to put the weight of the liberal austerity policies (the sense
economic, because it means : PLQ, PQ, That, same fight…) on the shoulders of those
and those who pay as much fresh is disgusting. Let's be clear : poor people,
regardless of their country of origin, undergo class economic and political choices
dominant. The only ones who benefit cuts in public services and their
privatisation, they are the bosses and the rich.

Secondly, that there is a lack of money and that we should encourage our poor
us rather than those elsewhere, well, this is a false choice. Money, there, on a
to see the salaries and bonuses that will give our political and corporate elites, the
astronomical subsidies and financial aid given to certain companies homegrown
we (Bombardier, among others, which receives more than one billion dollars of financial aid
the State, while they put out its employee- s and that the employers pay wages
exorbitant) or the astronomical sums that we let go in paradise

Now, not only there is a buck, but rather than go and look at those who
have a bad tank barge, we prefer to leave them and go get into the pockets of
working class. The only choice we have, is to organize to retrieve this
money, and in the pockets of those who, either our rich well to us.

Thirdly, use our "poor" to require close our borders under the pretext of not
not deprive services, is frankly hypocritical. These right-wing groups, or these
reactionary people, are often the first to be scandalized about "BS",
treat social assistance recipients living as profiteers in the Company's hook,
Hopefully the food to the more precarious is cut. But the, suddenly, you'd swear that "
poor here "are a priority!

So when the community mobilizes against service cuts and for
people of all backgrounds, it is precisely against the interests closely linked to the right. And
it is normal, because the right did nothing to make class solidarity, because this
latter does not stop at skin color, a nationality, sex or gender.

Blaming ills, difficulties, that our communities are living on other people who
tear equally, rather than directing our indignation towards those who profit from our
work and our misfortunes, is not only cowardly, but a sign of political agenda


Workers and community workers, union-e-s IWW



Photo credit: radio Canada

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Agreement at Frite Alors! Rachel

Friday 15 December 2016, the employees of Frite Alors! Rachel finally venu.es an agreement with the employer. A major shift for the Wobblies who take openly storefront in Montreal and a first for the labor movement that saw the birth of new ways to operate outside of the legal framework limitations.

We remember that the Press release send it 27 August to announce their affiliation to the Industrial Union of Workers and Workers - Industrial Workers of the World (SITT-IWW), included a list of items they wanted to see and they change their workplace. It talked among other kitchen salary increases and service, annual increases, standardization of training, a priority internally when opening new positions, a guaranteed floor of hours, of compensation for shifts in stand-by and sick leave.


Read more

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Solidarity with horses and Coursières bike in San Francisco

There are few days, while a first meeting of the members of the Organizing Committee for Union and Coursières bike couriers in Sprig.Inc in San Francisco was organized, the employer decreed the equivalent of a lockout a week followed by a return to work with a time cut in half.

Couriers and Coursières bike that was already that 13,50 /h, subject to company policy forbidding them to be tipped, thus view their schedule to spend thirty hours per week to 3 hours to 15h only. While organizations have addressed the issue to evaluate the living wage 14,37 for the San Francisco area, recall that the carrier and make a trade Coursières also physically demanding and dangerous. One particular requires them and they are able to cross distances 3 5km urban in less than 15 minutes.

Union members have already met many times with the direction of Sprig.Inc to demand compensation for the hours and work days that were cut, as well as wage increases and better working conditions, but the employer seems determined to let the case drag as long as possible. Couriers and Coursières bike in San Francisco, Industrial grouped under the Union 540, therefore call for the solidarity of individuals, communities and organizations to support them in their efforts.

For medium couriers and Coursières bike negotiation:



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Wobblies worldwide, Chronicle of Mars.

Dated 1is January 2016, Randall Jamrok, general secretary-treasurer of the IWW, finished to the accounts and we announced that the IWW are now over 3500 members. Mainly distributed between North America and England are also found in Norgève, in Germany, Lithuania, in Austria, in Swiss, in Greece, Australia and China. If this monthly column that does not want a complete list of activities of each 50 and some locals that currently the Union for All and for All, she will try anyway, As bin that evil, to put some light on the activities of the Wobblies from around the world.

The 1is mars, le fellow worker James, branch Balti10569076_720396931330843_5408464749728183823_nmore was done retroactively finally paid the 7500$ salary that Jimmy Johns stores had him after illegally fired for union activity. A similar judgment was given by the National Labor Relation Bord and a few more weeks, about congédiés.es employé.es of franchises Minneapolis. let's remember that the organizing campaign of restaurants " Jimmy John » was launched in Minneapolis 2007 out publicly soon 2010 with the organization of 10 branches quickly joined by fellow workers Baltimore.

Always in Baltimore, the 2 March, coffee and bookseller Red Emma, formerly accredited SITT-IWW, org10405585_751876278193930_2607770610963710947_nanisait the launch of the latest edition of the Book Franklin Rosemont deceased Jow Hill and the creation of a revolutionary working-cultivation against. For occasion David Roediger et Kate Khatib, friends, collaborator and collaboratrice Rosemont were invited es to speak.

The 15 mars, the-Montreal Local organizing a BBQ to mark International Day against Police Brutality. The event that followed attracted over 200 who for the first time in many years managed to take to the streets and to complete the event without mass arrest and police violence.

The 19 mars, Sheffield IWW organizing a training day focused on oppression gender-related reports, gender and sexuality in the workplace.

Organization of Training 101, training on how to launch an IWW union at his workplace, were held in Hartford, strait, Minneapolis, Milwaukee et Edmonton.

Two riots shook the state prisons in Alabama, ctexaslockedin-300x288huhstrong castle of the Organizing Committee of Workers and Workers Jailed es IWW (IWOC-IWW), In recent weeks. Pendant This time, members the IWOC Texas are preparing to launch a series of stops and work slowdown to achieve reforms in the records of the parole, access to health care andu prison system in general so that workers and prison workers are treated humanely.

Members of the Portland branch joined the 26 March Portland Solidarity Network to hold a picket in front LKQ Foster Auto Parts in solidarity with a fellow worker dismissed Andrew, while trying to organize with colleagues against stagnant wages, the dangerousness of their work environment, the lack of transparency of management and workplace harassment.

Already in its sixth strike of the season, United for Families Justiciale organized the 31 March 1 protest action at the headquarters of Driscoll in Watsonville in California to combat inhumane working conditions of workers migrant.es employé.es by the company.

Note finally that the promises was a major geographical and demographic changes to the IWW, mostly located in the Northern United States and England! While on one side the officers and members of the Canadian Regional Organizing Committee, es proud to have witnessed the creation of the branches of Sherbrooke and Quebec are working hard in the development of a project to increase 50% their membership and the creation of 3 New branches Canadian soil (Drummondville, Kitchener-Waterloo et Saskatoon). From the south side of the United States, many members have come together to organize a speaking tour to promote the Solidarity Unionism in their regions in addition to supporting the efforts of the Organizing Committee of Workers and Workers Incarcéré.es (IWOC-IWW) which provides numerous strikes and actions that will culminate in the national strike 9 September!

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Unionism fast food: unionization McDonald and McDonaldization unions.

Organizing the IWW, Erik Forman provides a great history of the fast food industry, tactics corporatist unions and indicates directions to follow to ensure that working and fast food workers to overcome, through an independent organization, the problematic situations it lists.



The fast food is America. First founded during the long economic boom of postwar, Industry is required among the highways, outskirts, single family homes, shopping centers, automobile and television as a real living organism in the ecosystem of the American consumer culture. From the dawn of the Cold War in the twilight of the Great Recession, Fast food industry is shaped, then shapes the core values ​​of American society.

Our desire for instant gratification has been filled by a quick service with a smile (strength) drive-thru. The constant carousel of TV commercials showing new and improved drinks and sandwiches has only feed on and the American dependence on unreleased – and best – product. Oversized meals in the image of our seemingly rational calculation that bigger is better. On the mode of production to Taylor through burgers and fries and stuffed genetically modified pesticides, company management has accompanied its products a scientific look, tickling and love e-s-American for the predictability created by the technology. Thirsty by profits resulting economies of scale highly rationalized, managers of fast-food chains have colonized the decoration of the United States with striking symbols of their corporate empires, and a coast to coast. Maintaining a culture and maintained by preferring the image to reality, appearance to the substance and immediate benefit to long-term planning, the American people are easily stopped by the siren song that are advertisements showing shining burgers. US consumers will fatten the coffers of fast food chains for a projected amount of 191 million dollars in 2013. Kept pace believes the fast-food industry in the US, its grip on the values ​​of American society extends. We are what we eat. America is fast food.

In 1993, Sociologist George Ritzer gave its name to this "McDonaldization of society," noting that "the principles of fast food will come to dominate more and more sectors of American society and the rest of the world". Ritzer denounced the establishment not of a growing group of institutions to the four founding values ​​of the fast-food industry: acceleration of human relationships for the purpose of "efficiency", reduce life to a "calculation" confusing quality and quantity, "foreseeability" of a standardized human experience and an obsession with bureaucratic control using technology. Revisiting the diagnostic developed by Max Weber and critical theorists of the Frankfurt School, Ritzer describes the discomfort located in the heart of our society McDonaldisée as the "irrationality of rationality" – the subordination of all concerns the ultimate goal : profit. Of course, the McDonaldization could be the Disneyfication, the Walmartisation or the Coca-colonization… whatever meaning, because behind these logos business runs all the logic of capitalism on a global scale.

Having saturated the US market in the years 70, the fast-food industry has turned its greedy eyes to other lands, seeking to transform quickly into profit machine digestive system of six billion humans. The Two Golden Arches have become a pioneering symbol of globalization. As early 90, a generous amount of McDonald, KFC and Starbucks went extend worldwide, embodying the spirit of the times, the triumph of the free market as a happy ending to the story. In 1997, McDonald shot over overseas operations income home. The neo-liberal New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman proclaimed the advent of this McMonde as the dawn of a new world order, where all find justice and freedom, stating that no two countries with McDonald could not make war (he was wrong). But freedom in the eyes of the apologists of global capitalism has always involved a veiled slavery for the working class of the growing services industry.

The operation hiding behind each burger and fries each is no longer secret. During the last year, a wave of "strikes" a very telegenic day in several restaurants helped expose this sad reality. It is a reality that I know personally. From 2006 at 2012, I got involved in two campaigns with union Industrial Workers of the World as a fast food worker at Starbucks and Jimmy John's. I found my own eyes that the astronomical profits of industry are based on the original sins of American society – racism, sexism and exploitation of the working class. The fast-food industry employs a disproportionate number of women and people from visible minorities in roles without future, a turning wages around the minimum wage. My colleagues and I were just goods for our patrons, just as coffee beans or meat, property to use when things go, then set aside when times are harder. Our schedules highly varied from week to week, according to the dictates of the automated system of the company, preventing us to plan or make a budget. The work met all repetitive joys of a factory assembly line, with all the charm of the usual psychological abuse of clients. at Starbucks, the chronic understaffing has transformed our shifts into a frenzy of constant movement to serve lattes and Frapuccinos to a queue of endless customers. Our boss has shown his gratitude by paying us about minimum wage. In the most crowded days, he "asked" for workers to stay after the end of their shift, then faded overtime payroll. Height of insult, he was frequently sexually explicit remarks about my female colleagues. My boss at Jimmy John's was accustomed to decorate its dictates death threats : "I'll stab you" if you do not lay more softly mayo or "I'll take a shotgun and shoot you" if preparing sandwiches is too slow. But if it were not good jobs, But they were hard to keep. Most ridiculous, a colleague Starbucks lost her health insurance, because she was too ill and had not worked enough hours to be eligible. Unable to afford medical treatment, she missed a shift, as numb pain. She could not afford to go see a doctor and get a paper to prove it and was therefore referred. Two of my colleagues have attempted suicide during my six years at Starbucks, succumbing to the stress imposed by the managers too demanding, disrespectful customers and anguish of seeing their dreams escape their hands, as they sank deeper into poverty.

Despite the poor working conditions endured by 3,6 million workers and fast food workers, their main unions have shown no interest before last year. The "Senior Vice President" of the union UNITE-HERE Local Minneapolis told me in 2008, "We will not go to McDonald unionize all workers groups who come to us." He then refused to support our independent organizing efforts at Starbucks. The former president of SEIU (Service Employees International Union), Andy Stern, Starbucks even said he would applaud if they paid their tens of thousands of workers a few cents above the minimum wage. How is it that a labor movement that led the starving masses in battle against autocrats industrialists in the country's bar get to turn your back on those who have the thirst for change?

corporatist unionism
During the postwar period, when churches become cathedrals and where family shops give way to shopping centers, most US unions become corporatist unions, adopting a structure similar to that of their alleged opponents. As the company, corporatist syndicate is led by a small clique of well paid presidents, Vice Presidents and Directors of everything and nothing – short, bosses – which imposes guidelines through an employee-s often exploited-e-s hierarchy even in the base row. Rather than empower members through involvement in their own struggles, union bosses implanted a careerist logic at the heart of the labor movement. SEIU and UNITE-HERE – often, and ironically, perceived as the most progressive unions in the United States – tend to hire as organizers or organizers of young idealists from-e-s middle class and newly graduated-e-s college. These young employee-s tend to burn quickly with requests – and contradictions – employment and go to higher education.

This approach is just the tip of the iceberg. The rise of corporatist unionism in the United States is only a moment in the evolution of a tension simmering within the workers' movement. To quote the Solidarity Federation in Fighting for Ourselves, it is "possible to identify two meanings of the term “union”. The first is merely a workers' association…"And the second is" that of a worker representation and vis-à-vis capital workers. "As an association of workers, union theoretically has unlimited power to stop or transform the economy. As an institution "representative" workers, union acts as an "interest group" seeking to influence using the same lobbying tools, PR and bargaining that any other business.

Rather than rely on the associative power of their member expressed through strikes disrupting production, corporatist unions depend more often the National Labor Relations Act 1935 which sets up a bureaucratic process so that workers can vote for the union "representative". The NLRA is soaked with a policy that is reflected in its preamble : "He said it is a policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of trade and mitigate or eliminate these obstructions when they occur by encouraging the practice and procedure of the conventions collective…"It is worth repeating : the US labor code aims to guarantee the "free course of trade", adopted a goal of any heart by union leaders in the post-war who happily disarmed base, exchanging direct action to bureaucratic procedures, such grievances and opt-strikes. C. Wright Mills even has dubbed "The new men of power", men of enthusiastic pro-workers state to act as small partner capital in the Cold War against communism. With momentum towards the "end of history" of our own time, these supporters of corporatist unionism chased the radicals out of the labor movement, abandoning the qualitative social change and replace it with a vision strictly limited to elementary and quantitative issues, then letting himself be lulled by the account of Keynesian fairy, eternal increase productivity cycles related to wage increases negotiated by unions as a permanent component of the policy and the US economy.

The union bureaucracy has suffered a rude awakening to the late 70. Employers have intensified their resistance to union campaigns, leading to the winning rate of decline in the elections NLRB (National Labor Relation Board). As noted by the veteran union bargaining Joe Burns in Reviving the Strike, the unions have not responded adequately to the challenges of the bosses, Excluding the kind of collective confrontations with employers who made agreements for years 30. Instead, they tried to maintain agreements of "neutrality" with bosses using negotiations to carrots and sticks, often without the knowledge of workers. The carrot : union leaders offer political support in the legislative program of the company and not to swear negotiate other issues, even up to accept wage losses and restrictions on the rights of workers. The stick : the union will interfere in implementing the political program and the growth of the company until it accepts the neutrality. neutrality campaigns do not usually play on the associative power of workers, but rather on advertising campaigns, high-placed friends and lawyers' tricks. Short, on the handling of our society representation system. The task of an 'organizer' union is now down to convince the worker to do what the union boss asks rather than gather to make decisions in common. Most of the time , the involvement of workers in the neutrality campaigns is limited to photo shoots in meetings with politicians, or at most to one-day strikes for television. Even worse, unions sometimes hire "fans" who take "direct action" on behalf of workers. Usually, union bosses will search campaigns in a highly corporatist logic, establishing the costs incurred and profits that will bring new negotiated contributions. For most unions, the chances of success in the fast-food industry seemed too low compared to the benefits envisaged to invest resources.

Strikes in the fast food
Several people left have expressed their hope that the mobilization directed in the fast food by the SEIU and other groups called “Alt-Labor” represent a break with the corporatist logic of trade unionism, or at least an opening to go further than simple strikes in the fast food and create a movement transformer. It was not easy to measure what these hopes are worth face reality; SEIU prevents its staff from talking to the media and let the members of the base in the shade on plans of the union. So I bypassed the official spokesmen SEIU and went to consult workers and staff within the campaign is to understand really happens.
According to the e-s-leader of SEIU, it took that workers and fast food workers organize themselves and themselves and practically break down the door of the union hall to ask for help to organize. In truth, strikes for 15$ are not really spontaneous demonstrations. According to sources, demand for $ 15 / hour was not issued by the Workers, but rather by consultants Berlin Rosen PR Firm working with SEIU. SEIU's projects are in development for at least 2009. According to another internal source, some cities were initially selected for the strikes because the union believed to use media coverage to encourage new laws. The one-day events were therefore not designed as weapons for economic gains, but as bait in the "media market", as noted by Adam Weaver. Several activists have used the wildcat strike term (wildcat strike) to set these one-day strikes. A wildcat strike is a strike by the rank and file against or without bureaucracy. These were the total opposite – directed mobilizations top by bureaucrats. This implies that planners SEIU knew there would be a strike before workers and workers. Therefore, the union is now to convince the base to join a media-oriented project, set up by union leaders, instrumenting the relationship between e-s-employed with workers and lead them to distort the figures to keep their jobs. This dynamic has proven when I spoke with her-workers of three cities that have told me that the real number of strikers was significantly lower than that reported by the SEIU. Given the ineffectiveness of Communications (that is to say lie to the boss to not be expelled) inherent in any corporate hierarchy, it is quite possible that the SEIU even he does not know the exact number of workers who participated in strikes.

Inspired by the corporate model, SEIU has subcontracted unionization fast food to community organizations – a local chapter of Jobs with Justice, some former members of ACORN groups (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and others – in order to partially reduce expenses associated with wages organizers. A fast food worker involved in the campaign told me that "the organizers are working 12 hours a day during the week. When you calculate their income, it makes less than minimum wage. "A former organizer employee had received the order to abandon a group of workers-rs fast food just before a strike and its attention to another site where union bosses thought they could get more media capital. The same organizer was fired just before the time of the following parties to an arbitrary decision by high-ranking union, forcing his family to scrape the drawer bottoms to put food on the table for their young child. It's no surprise that, in at least one city, organizers have formed their own union to fight management model high turnover SEIU.
The shabby treatment suffered by these organizers and hard-e-s organizers demonstrates quite the democratic deficit within the SEIU. Anonymous workers and workers in the country say they are forced-e-s to support the strategy determined by the union leadership, no opportunity to discuss more sustainable and transformative alternatives. A source close SEIU informed me that the high places of the country refuse to organize in order to realize early for fear that too great victory deprives workers willing to unionize. While some cities have adopted a more focused approach to the base, the overall strategy remains elusive latter. SEIU held sacrosanct national gathering in Detroit with workers who had been persuaded to vote "Yes" for the National Day of Action 29 August, regardless of whether it would be used to build a long-term organization in their communities and workplaces. The risk for rapid unionization first requested from the International SEIU is that workers are pushed-his-e-s to risk their jobs to meet quotas set by the bureaucrats at the top, without worrying about building a base that could lead to a real successful social movement. Ryan Watt, Potbelly worker's Chicago, was recently on strike. According to him : "I think that because of that, my manager starts to fight back. Recently, after the last strike, they told me to go home and not come back for five days because I came back five minutes late for my dinner. "The manager Ryan has not recalled after five days, which means a referenced.

The organizing committee of the Chicago workers fight these reprisals, but such stories are likely to breed without a strategy involving more workers in the unionization process before parading before the cameras isolated individuals of different restaurants. Given the recent gutting Our Walmart, when returning more 60 Workers activist-e-s, it looked like the SEIU would take more care by creating a strong base before revealing to the public. The leader-e-s companies do not need training to order the e-s-manager dismantle unions and add employee-s blacklisting. All and all e-s-manager know how to tighten and selectively apply the rules to get rid of workers' maker-his troubles ". Without a strategic turnaround for changing the ratio of forceavec fast food companies, such subtle retaliation will eventually have a significant impact on unionization.
It could be that the SEIU has not simply nothing to do. After all, the union has already achieved its 15 minutes of fame before the cameras during the campaign. A spokesperson for SEIU expressed disconcerting attitude of the union against the price that workers will pay for this strategy, saying they and they can easily cross the street and get a job in another restaurant after being shown the door.
With all major decisions in the hands of international SEIU, the bureaucratic nature of the campaign has generated a disturbing racial dynamics. I spoke with several participants who were appalled by the recurrent es spectacle of employees the union mainly white urgent orders through a megaphone during the strikes at fast-food workers are mostly black or Hispanic. At New York, a white member of the security service SEIU has even prompted several workers racialized s-e-s to prevent them from occupying a McDonald. In the USA, hierarchies are too often subject to a color code. SEIU and its substitutes are no exception.
And told the SEIU workers? If "$ 15 and a union" is a good slogan, problems overwhelming the fast food nation will not be solved by a wage increase of a dollar. Another concession made in the name of media needs of the campaign, Fight for the Fifteen recreated the narrow economic focus unionism corporatist post-war. Especially unhappy, since the fast-food industry is the sinews of war capitalist consumerism. Workers and fast food workers can speak and act directly against the horrors of factory farming, the dehumanization of Taylorized production and absurd hierarchies of workplaces, corporatist monoculture, the scourge of hunger from the working class, among other wounds that result from their work places. Imagine if a union of workers and fast food workers maintained a vision not only for better working conditions in a fundamentally inhuman economy, but also an industry controlled by food workers in the best interests of all humanity and the planet. Such a turn is unlikely as long as the campaigns are run by union bureaucrats who do not see themselves as gravediggers of capitalism, but as his doctors.
An honest assessment of the campaign so far causes us to an inescapable conclusion – corporatist logic of the fast food industry is alive and well within even organizing efforts SEIU. The decision to prioritize the amount of strikers rather than quality of empowering workers and democratization, to focus media events catchy and support legislative change rather than a substantial organization to build a real power. All this through a mock communications methodical thought by consultants, by the centralized procedure SEIU International, by the horrible reality of institutionalized racism within the campaign, by monetary reduction campaign's goal while accepting the foundation of a class society. This is the real unionism fast food.

neo-corporatist unionism
Are there any hope for workers and workers, employee-s and sympathizer-e-s turn unionizing fast-food SEIU into a wider movement and longer term to generate substantial changes, as predicted by several personalities from left?

SEIU is not monolithic. Several prospects confront them on the direction of the campaign 15$ and on the level of autonomy in some sections (though constantly under threat of guardianship). However, we see a higher level of participation and democracy in some cities than others. There are hundreds of brave and courageous workers and dozens of e-s-employed hard-e-s with principles, who do everything in their power to move from a transactional model to a transformative model even within the confines of the SEIU.
It is possible for members of the base and e-s-employee groups to develop a strategy that defeated the logic of fast food unionism, but this initiative will never come SEIU International nor without fighting bureaucracy. The history of the union, trends inherent to neo-corporatism and the employee-s testimony of the union tell us a lot about what can expect the members of the base and their ally-e-s. An article 2010 The Nation summed up the procedure SEIU led by President Andy Stern, "While growth became his only passion, Stern relied on agreements closed with employers and other shortcuts, continuing a robust growth illusion that obscured the failure of SEIU to establish a viable strategy to counter the decline of the labor movement. In doing, unilateral leadership Stern alienated members of the basic and isolated the union of several of his former ally-not-s-e-s. "
While the bill expensive public relations services and the army of staff working on the campaign 15$ accumulate, increasing pressure on the bosses SEIU for a deal that can be presented as a victory. As with any business transaction, this market include a misunderstanding. Research Steve Early on the machinations SEIU, published in his book The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor, offer a glimpse of what it means. Through its 339 pages, Early exposes what appears to be an endless parade of corpses out of SEIU cupboards, comprising not only several fingerprints Andy Stern, but Mary Kay Henry and skewer current SEIU bosses.
Driven by the greed of growth at any price, identical to that of companies which face it in negotiations, SEIU turned to a strategy of "partnership" with employers, as well as poaching, to increase revenue with additional contributions. Damn workers' democracy. In most of the cases, recent union is limited to be signed by the employer a pre-agreement that limits the rights of workers to decry or agitate against their problems at work, abandons control of the workplace to the management by allowing one or no-e-e-e union delegate-e on site and limit collective bargaining parameters – all without consulting workers. Even worse, in order to convince employers to sign these "partnerships", SEIU is going to support the implementation of laws benefiting employers at the expense of the entire working class. for example, California and Washington, SEIU lobbied to limit the rights of patients to pursue hospitals and home care services for abuse, in exchange for union recognition easier for workers and healthcare workers.
Once the terms of the agreement negotiated by union professionals and employers, the organizers are responsible es to sign cards to workers, authorizing dues payroll deduction form. This is often the last time they and they will see an organizer. Once syndicated, SEIU low profile, storing its members in local mega kilometers to workplaces. It becomes impossible for workers to low wages to attend meetings where they and they could have a voice, nor even to stand as union-ee-representative or a delegate-e. This work is distributed to qualified professionals. What they have left? A number 1-800 to call if they have questions and or concerns.

The author concluded that the Early SEIU is "an institution increasingly autocratic and deeply flawed that is not up to what it claims, no matter who is responsible. "He seems to be right. While many hope that the SEIU has made a new start under the leadership of its new President Mary Kay Henry and the strike tactic in the campaign for the $ 15 / hr is distanciement the usual corporatist unionism, one look under the hype reveals the same old dynamics and behavioral trends in action. An inside source says that the SEIU has already opened the door to the National Restaurant Association, providing support for the tax cuts on fast-food chains in exchange for any neutrality agreement. This is what seems to reserve us the future.
Beyond the strikes in the fast food

Beyond the criticism of neo-corporatist model union SEIU, there is also the fact that it probably will not work. It is now over 30 years that we are in a war of annihilation of the labor movement by US employers. As in years 30, employers will take a hard line against any employee raid unless facing a real existential threat. The only long enough lever arm to move the mountain of opposition against the workers' power in the fast food industry, is the massive direct action by the principal concerned-es on a scale not seen since the tumulteuse period between the wars. Corporatist unions are not about to operate the lever. In the words of former SEIU strategist Stephen Lerner, "Trade unions have hundreds of millions of assets and collective agreements concerning millions of employee-es never risk their cash and their contracts by engaging in large-scale actions such sit-ins, occupations and other forms of non-violent civil disobedience defying injunctions and political pressures. "We might add that even if they wanted, corporatist unions have long ravaged their militant base, alienating workers by their decision process of top down and by years of stifling door-to-door in support of Democrats. Unwilling and unable to follow the path that could lead to a real victory, SEIU will begin to dilute its slogan of "justice for all", bringing proposals for less justice and under-employed workers (narrowing his vision to fewer cities, less business and asking smaller wage increases) to the negotiating table and to polling stations. If this fails, SEIU will probably try to find a way to withdraw and save face. Ironically, this could give more space for workers to organize themselves and themselves. More tragic, it could also isolate people who took risks against possible reprisals generated.
Fortunately, fast food unionism SEIU is not the first, nor the last word of the class struggle in this industry. Workers and fast food workers fought bosses exploiting them since the beginning of this industry. To name a few examples, to the mid 60, McDonald was so concerned about the unionization of its e-s-employee of the San Francisco Bay, they necessitated taking a lie detector test potential employees to eliminate the union sympathizer-es. The anti-union specialist full-time chain said it had crashed "hundreds" of union organizing efforts in the early 70. In the early 80, ACORN launched a union employee-es fast food in Detroit who briefly won a single collective agreements in the fast food franchisees in the US. In the United States, the enigmatic McDonalds Workers Resistance led an anonymous guerrilla resistance against such patterns between 1998 and the early 2000. Although none of these efforts has led to a long-term organization, they played an important role in the long evolution of class consciousness in the fast food industry.
While I was organizing with the IWW at Jimmy John's and Starbucks, we learned from the experiences of those who preceded us and we created a model of associative organization operating in the fast-food industry. Notr model was built on our own strength Workers : the dependence of our boss to our work. Instead of spending millions (that we did not) to pay PR firms and employee-s full time, we focused on a long-term approach involving our colleagues to become organizers or organizers, giving them the necessary weapons to carry out their own battles, no matter where they find themselves and they, and taking all decisions together democratically. And we won. We did send our boss who stole our wages and sexually harassing our colleagues, We ended the unfair dismissal, we have installed air conditioning and repaired broken equipment. We won a strengthening of staff, we got my reinstatement after I was fired by Starbucks for organizing my workplace and, with a short strike, we even forced our district manager to issue a check for a colleague that has not been paid. During another campaign IWW, we wrote a "Ten-Point Program for Justice at Jimmy John's", bringing together the ten most important requests as identified by our colleagues, going beyond basic issues to address fundamental issues of control of the workplace. Employing an escalation of pressure means through direct action, we won payroll direct deposit, increases, paid holidays, the right of absence due to illness, consistent discipline policy and many other applications, further explained in the New Forms of Worker Organization forthcoming. None of these campaigns was perfect and the labor movement still has much to learn about the organization of low-income workers in the service, but our experience has one thing clear : workers can declare themselves independent-e-s bureaucracy corporatist unions, conduct their own battles and win.
In several cities, militant bases in the campaign for the minimum wage 15$ have already begun to build their own independent organizations bureaucracy, forging links with sympathetic-e-s that are free of all obstacles involved receive a check signed by union bosses. The class struggle did not start with the SEIU and will not end once a contract is signed, a law will be passed, that the minimum wage will be increased or that stop the union bosses to pay the bill of the campaign. The struggle continues; jobs in fast food are the jobs of the future – not just because 58% of the jobs created in the post-2007 recovery period are low income jobs, but also metaphorically – as noted George Ritzler, corporatist logic of fast food has soaked our society more broadly. We work in a McDonald, a desk, a hospital, school, a non-profit organization, the government or anyone aillers, we all saw a colleague suffer abuse or being fired arbitrarily, being forced to do more with less, being told to skimp at public expense and being denied a voice at work and in society in general. Millions of employee-es live their lives in a discreet despair, Seeing their labor disappear into the workings of the capitalist system. A system that turns against them and perpetuate the evils which they and they oppose: Workers and fast food workers see the products they use to poison their communities, bank workers see their employers provide loans with abusive if their neighbors, Hospital workers are witnesses of how the profit is set to lead the well-being of patients and teachers are drowning to see the dehumanization that standardized tests produce their student-e-s. collectively, workers produce all the ills of our society, which means that collectively we can stop producing the. And we will, more and more.
Ryan Wyatt, a striker at Potbelly's in Chicago, well described, "We do not only ask for better working conditions for us, we want to live in a better America. "
The fast food unionism can not change the fast food nation, but it can be a first step towards a movement which may the.
Erik Forman is an organizer and worker writer. You can reach him at erikforman (at) gmail.com. He is on Twitter at @_erikforman.
First issue the 5 November 2013 as exclusive content CounterPunch, republished on 17 November 2013 Redial, then in December 2013 dans l’Industrial Workers. Unionism fast food: unionization of McDonald and the McDonaldization of unions is published for the first time in French on the website of the Local IWW of Montreal, translated by Alexis Kelly and Tristan W.

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Call Forum 15-5-7

Industrial Union of Workers – IWW Montreal invites you to participate in a public forum addressing the struggle for a minimum wage 15$ /h, 5 week vacation and 7 paid sick days per year.

This will take place the 12 February 2016 the Popular Education Center in Little Burgundy and St. Henri, the 2515 Delisle, 18:00.

This forum will offer a panel where several people present different facets of this struggle, is the economic aspect, the experience of a worker at minimum wage, a feminist analysis and the experience of this struggle in the US. On the panel will be present-e-s :

minh Nguyen, researcher at IRIS
Morgane M-Parsons IWW Montreal
Daniel crawled the 15NOW (United States)
Jean-Pierre Center for Immigrant Workers-e-s (CTI)
Jacques Fontaine e-s-employed Union of the Old Port of Montreal
Kim Bouchard Action-Unemployment Movement

Following the panel, there will be a period of questions and interventions thirty minute. After a short break, group discussions will be held on the following themes :

Immigrant Workers-e-s
Women and Working Conditions
precarious workers
Housing and precarious work
Community and working conditions

This moment is an opportunity for everyone to propose actions to be taken in the coming months.

We are launching this campaign because the minimum working conditions do not allow us to live, barely survive. These claims are essential to any-worker or worker wanting a decent life, pay rent, be able to raise children and do not be caught-e by the throat as soon as unexpected happens.

If this does not solve the question of capitalist oppression on our lives, these claims will enable us, collectively, mobilize and get us the minimum that we must!

We would like to mention that this forum will be open to everyone.

“Because we are worth more than the minimum!”

Industrial Union of workers'.


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At New York, Immigrant drivers demanding dignity and end the abuses of their new employer

The 7 mars 2012, drivers Tom Cat Bakery, Members of the Campaign Focus on the Food Chain, delivered a statement Dignity representatives of the company.

[http youtube://www.youtube.com/watch?v = EEeNiHLqoNs&w=560&h=315]

See more photos of the event on
la page Facebook de la campagne Focus on the Food Chain

Like their Facebook group in here!

Written by Daniel Gross the 9 mars 2012
Published on 11 march on iww.org
Translated by “travailleurindustriel”

Members of Focus on the Food Chain working for the largest industrial bakery in New York City launched a campaign on Wednesday 7 mars. It aims to achieve respect for workers since the new owners of the plant aggressively trying to degrade working conditions. The drivers of the business Tom Cat Bakery, based in the borough of Queens, are forced to work under very abusive and suffer the threat of having their health insurance degrade significantly Directors. Tom Cat Bakery artisan bread is an important distributor for many restaurants and specialty food retailers in the New York metropolitan area.

Workers Tom Cat Bakery, mostly Latin American immigrants, gathered in Long Island City with other workers and students from support. These are all part and all groups that agree with the claims of workers of Tom Cat Bakery. These groups include the Working Committee “justice for immigrant workers” d’Occupy Wall Street, Alliance food chain workers-workers (Food Chain Workers Alliance), the United Daily Woodside (Journeymen States of Woodside), the Workers-Workers Center for Laundries (Laundry Workers Center), the employment opportunities Center in NewYork Restorations (the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York) Workers and Domestic Workers United, (Domestic Workers United).

Workers and their supporters marched together to the factory where several drivers have read and handed Dignity Declaration. This highlights the expectations that workers face administration in regard to the respectful treatment of employee-s, an affordable family health insurance and fair treatment for all workers-workers. The action was a departure incredibly inspiring for walking Tom Cat Bakery workers-workers towards justice and represents the latest effort of a growing movement to transform food processing plants and distribution warehouses.

At New York, the food processing industry and distribution provided a livelihood to more than 35 000 Workers and their families. This sector nevertheless remains increasingly characterized by a business model which is based on precarious work and abusive treatment with regard to the strength of working predominantly immigrant. Focus on the Food Chain is a campaign that works on the basis of individual membership of workers in this sector. Those latter are organized in order to promote good jobs and a sustainable local food system. The campaign is a joint project of fire Workers and IWW in the city of New York.

Tom Cat Drivers need your support in their struggle to defend their dignity, challenge the strategies of industry by private actions, and creating a food system based on human rights rather than exploitation. Please stay on the lookout for actions that will be needed in the future. To get involved and help, send email to Joseph Sanchez jsanchez [at] brandworkers.org.

Thank you to you all for what you do that can go in the direction of human rights and human dignity.

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CKUT Labor Radio | Historian Peter Cole on IWW’s black leader Ben Fletcher, Local 8 and South Africa

Listen to CKUT Labor RadI 12 minutes interview with Peter Cole, or listen to the whole one hour show.

February was Black History Month. For that reason, members of the Montreal IWW helped CKUT Radio work‘s host David Tacium to talk with history professor at Western Illinois University, Mr Peter Cole. Mr Cole is the author of Ben Fletcher: The Life and Writings of a Black Wobbly” about the IWW’s most famous black leader Ben Fletcher. Mr Cole also wrote a book called Wobblies on the Waterfront Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia about the IWW branch Ben Fletcher was involved with : the Longshoremen Union “Local 8” in Philadelphia in 1913.

During the interview, they also talk about the influence of the IWW in organizing black people in South African, a subject Mr Cole is studying now with the aim of writing a next book.

Peter Cole’s two books are available at the Montreal anarchist library Jezebel on St-Laurent Street. The chapter 4 of Wobblies on the Waterfront, “War on the waterfront”, is also online here.

Read short presentation of Local8 and Ben Fletcher…

Read more