Claim your Respect at the PA Supermarket!

Saturday 28 October in the afternoon, in front of the rue du Fort branch of Supermarché PA, there was a crowd of about twenty people. Union banner and distribution of leaflets to customers and passers-by, the SITT-IWW continues its Demand your respect campaign in solidarity with Evan, a former grocery store worker who had a hard time working for them.

Having worked at the branch on Avenue du Parc between October 2022 and August 2023, he does not emerge completely unscathed... From the moment he is hired, the workplace is not free from homophobic remarks or harassment towards employees. The work itself is not without risks either.. After months of enduring an unpleasant work environment, Evan puts his foot down in July and contacts his manager to ask that certain behaviors stop. In August, he must again give a letter to his manager, this time to ask not to be put again in a position where their health and safety could be in danger. Human resources, who usually seem to free themselves from a number of responsibilities, meet him and tell him that he is fired. The reasons given are ironically similar to his own criticisms of his managers.

He will file complaints with the CNESST and when an agent contacts him to follow up on his file, the latter mentions to him in passing that the PA Supermarket is regularly the target of complaints from workers. A small request for access to information from the CNESST allowed us to confirm this. : since 2004, there are more than twenty complaints for dismissal without just and valid cause, prohibited practices, psychological harassment, etc. which were filed against the branch where Evan worked. Almost no judgment appears, we can therefore assume that the employer always prefers to settle this confidentially with out-of-court agreements, so as not to leave a trace.

So far, five actions were carried out to put pressure on Supermarché PA to encourage it to offer financial compensation, a new employment record and an apology to Evan. The employer still has not proposed or offered anything, except sending a formal notice to Evan and a member of the union. We will therefore continue our solidarity campaign with our fellow worker!

Unemployed men and women invite themselves in front of Trudeau’s office!

The Industrial Union of Workers invites you to the Rally as part of the National Week of the Unemployed, Wednesday, November 1st. Hereby, we endorse the call of MASSE and its allies to mobilize for unemployment insurance reform.

Autonomous and united movement of the unemployed (MASSE)
1100 Crémazie Boulevard East (Justin Trudeau's constituency office)
Wednesday November 1st at 11:30 a.m.

As part of National Unemployed Week, the Autonomous and Solidarity Movement of the Unemployed (MASSE) and his allies, including the Interprovincial Alliance for Employment Insurance, invite you to a rally in front of Justin Trudeau's constituency office in Montreal.

The goal is to send a clear message to the Prime Minister : we can't wait any longer ! For too long, your lies continue to keep the unemployed insecure!

The government can no longer afford to postpone unemployment insurance reform. We demand an accessible plan now, just, universal and non-discriminatory.

Too long to wait for unemployment insurance reform : It's starting to smell like rotten apples!

Let's take action !

Owen King discusses the importance of tackling specific demands early in a campaign.

Unlike most unions, the SITT-IWW does not ask its members to go through the courts to obtain justice. Legally speaking, bosses never have an interest in having a union set up in their company. Several organizers in campaigns at Amazon and Starbucks were fired because of their union activity, even if the right to unionize is protected by law. In these two situations, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took a long time to react; in the case of the campaign at Amazon, judge ruled in favor of organizer Gerald Bryson, who was fired, but only after warehouse workers voted in favor of the union. If these campaigns lasted, it’s really because organizers continued to mobilize their colleagues, not because the law was on their side

Since workers cannot count on laws to protect them, the objective of OT101 is to teach them to build collective power with their colleagues: putting pressure on the boss, by disrupting production in the workplace, by eating into profits, or even by appropriating the power exercised by the boss. This is because it teaches us to rely on our own abilities, those of our colleagues and those of our committee instead of depending on lawyers and bureaucracy that this training is difficult.

Media rarely feature stories of union organizing, which complicates our task; we don't have many examples to illustrate our points. And even when journalists talk about workers' struggles, They will talk much more about elections and legal conflicts than about strikes and direct actions. Jonah Furman's latest weekly newsletter («Who Gets the Bird ») is a good example: the section on strikes is at least half as small as that on elections in one of the big national unions, even if the author took the time to do his research. It is even rarer to see stories of employees who succeed in changing things in their workplace without negotiating a collective agreement or who do something other than strike. (like signing a petition or making a march on the boss).

This lack of examples of direct actions carried out by workers also complicates the task of the organizing committees which followed OT101 when the time comes to gain the trust of their colleagues in order to carry out the first direct actions of a campaign. In all workplaces, you will find people ready to join and build the union the first time they are contacted by the committee; in fact, most SITT-IWW organizing committees take shape when these people come together and follow OT101. But there are also people who could be led to join the union after discussing it with a committee member., and this is where the lack of examples poses a problem. Finally, there are people who need to see direct action taking place successfully in their workplace to be convinced to sign their card. These categories are described in detail in the section Know the Union, Hear the Union, See the Union of text Weakening the Dam (“Weaken the dike”). I can say from experience that most workers fall into one of the last two categories: They need to “hear about the union” and “see the union” in action to become interested in it.

In a campaign focused on direct action, you can't just tell your colleagues that the law protects their right to organize with their colleagues to defend their interests or that signing a membership card is enough to support their local union. You must prove to them that collective action can lead them to victory. This means they will have to get into the ring, with workers in one corner and bosses in the other. If you fail to take direct action successfully, you may not be able to convince the majority of your colleagues to really get involved. If your committee does not take action in the early stages of the campaign, your limbs risk getting stuck in a fatal gear.

The fatal gear

The goal of OT101 is to learn how to build a committee. Several steps must be followed before taking action: find the contact details of your colleagues, meet them face-to-face and assess their engagement, do social mapping of the workplace, etc. However, it happens that the development of the committee comes at the expense of direct action.. This becomes problematic if, for example, the committee prefers to recruit more colleagues than confront their boss. If they did not follow OT101, committee members could invite colleagues they have only spoken to a few times to come to a committee meeting, and try to convince them to join the union during the meeting.

A priori, there is nothing wrong with wanting to recruit more members. Workers need strength in numbers, and a large committee allows this force to be channeled. That said, committees sometimes fall into a dangerous trap: they will not take action until they have enough members, but they cannot recruit new members if they do not take concrete actions. If you organize yourself solely with the aim of establishing a balance of power when negotiating a contract, it won't be a problem; in this scenario, direct action is seen as a last resort if you cannot reach an agreement. In our vision of things, On the other hand, we view direct action as a way to give confidence to your colleagues and their committee.

If committee members fail to mobilize in direct actions, the campaign may hit a wall. If this does not lead to any concrete action or victory, the organizers will become discouraged, leave the committee and maybe even quit their job. Consequently, committee members will start using one-on-one meetings to recruit new members instead of taking the time to talk with colleagues about their problems and ways to overcome them. Since the committee will no longer be able to attract more members than those who already know the union, the campaign will die down once all these people have joined the union, will have exhausted themselves with the task and will have ended up leaving.

How to fix this problem?

To get out of this vicious circle, a specific problem needs to be addressed. We already take precautions to avoid negative repercussions from our small actions, for example by ensuring that committee members do not reveal the existence of the union or hold meetings with colleagues who are not involved. On the other hand, an action can be a success even if it is only carried out with a minority of employees. In one of the campaigns where I was an external organizer, a committee of four workers managed to obtain salary increases and days off through small-scale actions. The administration asked employees what changes they would like to see in their workplace and the committee members, as well as a few other employees supportive of the campaign, presented the problems that the committee had deemed to be priorities. The bosses gave in to the demands (particularly those relating to salary and sick leave), but they never heard of the organizing campaign. Why? Because the committee members decided to tackle issues that their colleagues had at heart, that they involved those who were not part of the committee, and that they carried out direct action that seemed feasible to them in relation to a demand that they thought they could win.

If two people manage to coordinate a direct action that involves their colleagues, they form a more solid committee than a group of 10 people who do not take concrete actions. Since we did the action described earlier, we have 50% more colleagues who support the campaign and the committee has been completely renewed; new members have taken over, and the original members were able to take a break.

It is these small actions that, later, will give us the confidence to go on strike and assert bigger demands. Even this may seem complicated at first, it is up to the committee to establish its calendar according to its needs. Professional unions, on their side, are subject to conditions imposed by a third party, whether it is the date of the elections or the composition of the bargaining unit responsible for negotiating the collective agreement. Representatives will be elected (or not), and the collective agreement will be adopted (or not) : there are no half measures or wiggle room.

A small committee can win victories quickly or learn from mistakes. These victories can also allow the campaign to grow beyond a single workplace; in the case of the union I discussed earlier, committee members who won pay raises and sick leave became trainers for OT101 and act as mentors for external SITT-IWW organizers. They help other workers set up their own committees and achieve their first victories. This is how strong, supportive unions can take root across an industry.

Owen King is a SITT-IWW member and game industry organizer in Seattle.

Why form a union even if you have a dream job ?

I have a good job, Really ! She would make a lot of people jealous and I know it. I make a very good salary there., I have a schedule that suits me and very human bosses who care about respecting their employees and that the employees respect each other. Without pranks, this is not a bullshit parade ! My days pass quickly; I feel stimulated, I have challenges to face, opportunities for advancement, “relaxed” moments that mean I’m not too stressed either, I have no work to take home and, the icing on the cake, I am neither boss nor executive ! All this with a DEP.

I have a really good job, and I'm not the only one.

Indeed, the trend in recent years to make work cool and well paid to get our hands on employees because of the labor shortage has paid off big for many of us, of which me, and this whether we are in a unionized environment or not. However, I am still convinced that my colleagues and I must unionize with the IWW. I am also convinced that capitalism brings nothing good to my life, even if I am one of the people who are “relatively” privileged within it. Finally, I am convinced of a third thing : it’s that too few people think like me and it’s a time bomb. Why ? Well let me explain it to you in a few points. !

  1. My colleagues

If my job is a dream job, this is unfortunately not the case for all of my colleagues. Obviously I can't just tell myself that if things are going well for me, too bad for the others and they just have to manage to improve their lot. They have the same needs as me, regardless of their studies, their skills and job performance. Everyone must therefore have enough at the end of the month to live adequately..

2. The “surplus value” that is stolen from us

The capital gain", to explain it roughly, corresponds to the part of the value of the work we accomplish that our bosses and the company keep for themselves. Very simply, it’s the company’s profit and a good part of the bosses’ salary, and this money comes from OUR work; not theirs !

that being said, we learned a few months ago that the company I work for made profits equivalent to almost 25% of the average salary of its employees this year, and this despite very large investments. It doesn't matter that we are already well paid., we know that we are still being robbed legally for almost 25% of the value of our work ! So we still suffer a huge injustice based solely on the fact that my boss was his father's son and thus inherited the family business.. This legal theft and the system that allows it (capitalism) must stop.

Transforming my workplace into a cooperative would allow us to get our hands on this money and use it either for ourselves, either to help our community (who, in the neighborhood where I work, would really need it, believe me !)

3. The “good days” will not last forever

If things are going well for me and most of my colleagues at the moment (and this without even having to form a union, I remind him), it’s not because we are better than others : It's just a question of context !

Indeed, periods of labor shortage AND economic prosperity are not the norm and do not last forever. The company I work for is currently in a very specific niche that allows it to do great business today.; but what will it be in five or ten years? ? If the labor shortage ends and unemployment soars, what interest will our employer have in bringing out all the drums and trumpets to attract and retain us? ? No. And if we haven't formed a union by then, how are we going to defend our achievements ? We simply won't be able to.

And if solidarity unionism taught me anything, it’s when everything is going well that you have to prepare for the storm, not when you're right in it. It is therefore imperative that people who are in a situation similar to mine understand this. : We have nothing special; we are only lucky and this luck will not last forever. Let's be ants; not cicadas !

4. Damn infinite growth

I became an anti-capitalist about ten years ago when I understood that :

a) Infinite growth on a planet with finite resources = inevitable resource depletion and self-extinction.

b) Capitalism has no choice but to grow to survive.

So, no matter how much we reform capitalism to make it more “just” and “green”, this problem will persist since it is at the heart of its operation. Without going into the details of why (because that is not the purpose of this text), the main thing to remember is that the revolutionary unionism of the IWW is not, for me, not just a matter of social and economic justice; it is a necessary act to end capitalism and ensure the survival of our species and many others !

Strangely, this point is perhaps paradoxically the most neglected and the most important of all. I can understand why though., since “saving the planet” is not an immediate need, unlike earning enough money to pay our rent or eliminating sexism and racism in the workplace. So we say to ourselves that we will take care of it later. Yes, more… however, we must not forget it either, because the longer it takes us to get out of capitalism, the more we have to rebuild on landfills, cultivate dead and arid soils, and the more animal and plant species essential to our survival we will have lost forever. It’s great that me and my colleagues are doing 70 000 $/an, but if we go to bed at night telling ourselves that our children will have nothing left to eat in 40 years, Are we really happy? ? Of course not.

That’s why we need to kick out my bosses and all the bosses in the world., to create a reasonable economy, resource-based and environmentally friendly. It's a question of survival !

In summary

Even if we have excellent jobs, form unions (especially if they are revolutionary) and fighting is a necessity. It is a necessity, because our colleagues need us, because our bosses still steal a lot of money from us, because the unions prepare us for the difficult days and because they will perhaps allow us to avoid our self-extinction.

So, if like me, you have a good job, form a union anyway ! Because contrary to what Pierre-Yves McSween would tell you : You really need it !

To contact us :
Email from SITT-IWW Montreal

Anonymous author

Discomfort at holiday parties – A few wobblies tips to help you deal with the situation

By Anarkitty

The holiday party season is fast approaching. It's well known, it is for most leftists a period dotted with very pleasant moments, but also many situations that will make us cringe and to which it is not always easy to know how to react. Should we systematically denounce each problematic word or gesture and risk alienating everyone? ? Should we let it pass and then become a bad ally? ? Is it relevant to debate with our conspiratorial cousin who will not change his mind anyway ? These are all questions that many of us, including me, have arisen more than once.

interesting thing, the wobblie in me has recently realized that there are great similarities between many of these situations and those one encounters day to day in an IWW labor organizing campaign. Indeed, during a wobblie campaign, the challenge of both bringing everyone together AND getting them to support the idea of ​​building a union is daunting ! It forces us to constantly educate our colleagues and intervene in their problematic behaviors, all this without antagonizing them. It's not simple, and for this task, we have acquired over the decades a great experience on the practices to adopt and those to avoid. I share with you some of them, I hope so, may be useful to you !

  1. Ask questions and listen to the answers

Human beings generally have the defect of being very easily wrinkled. Tell them that you don't agree with them and they will feel confronted., will want to defend their ideas and will almost always fall into “jousting” mode. Their purpose will no longer be to discuss and/or learn, but only to win. This will usually lead to a dead end, see (and studies show it) strengthening their starting positions.

To avoid falling into this abyss, the best thing we've learned to do is simply ask questions, listen to the answers, go further with other questions and lead the other to find the answer by him or herself. A golden rule that is often repeated is that of " 80% / 20% which consists in giving 80% speaking time to the other and to keep only 20% for himself.

This method also has the significant advantage of greatly improving the understanding and retention of information in the other person.. Indeed, since the person we are talking to will have done the reasoning themselves leading to the conclusion we wanted, she will necessarily have understood it for real and will not have just nodded her head pretending to have grasped.

Be careful though, it is essential to be in good faith with this approach. We are not Socrates. The goal is not to ask questions with a mocking tone to ensnare the other and/or to ridicule him or her; it's more about having a real conversation and, mostly, to avoid leaving in an unsolicited lyrical flight which will generally prove to be counterproductive.

  1. One-to-one conversations

Have you ever noticed that it is much easier to change a person's mind by debating with them when there are no other people in the conversation? ? If yes, this is a good observation and it is again due to this ugly fragility of the ego. It is therefore better to address a problematic situation or discuss a political issue alone with the person concerned rather than confronting it in front of everyone.. Furthermore, this avoids obtaining the disastrous title of “social justice warrior” (or the very fashionable "woke") who, usually, ends up being counterproductive because no one listens to us anymore and considers what we say. Finally, it's very risky, MUCH less to deteriorate our relations with the person himself or the other people present who would have witnessed the scene.

  1. Aggression and social pressure

Because no rule is absolute, there are obviously situations in which intervening by setting the problematic person aside is not the right thing to do. Among those, any situation where a person insults, intimidates, attacks etc.. another obviously requires immediate intervention to put an end to it. Those where a person says or does something that hardly anyone will defend can also be an exception., since by directly addressing the problem, there is a good chance that others will support us and that social pressure will have an immediate and long-term effect on the problematic person. Furthermore, since everyone will have witnessed it, it usually helps to “raise the bar” for future situations by demonstrating that this sort of thing will no longer be tolerated. Finally, it also makes it possible to show people who would have said nothing that when we dare to get up to speak all together, our collective power is greater than our individual power.

  1. The alcohol

It would be difficult to write a text about the discomforts of holiday parties without mentioning alcohol.. I will not dwell on this subject since it is rather obvious : If you believe that tense situations can occur, it is better to plan ahead and always keep in mind that moderation tastes better.

Of course, we can't control other people's alcohol and drug use., but can make an effort on ours.

  1. The power of vulnerability

*This one is not from the IWW, but of a person who is dear to me, I've seen it used often and its power hits me every time. Yes had to slip a word.

Our society always asks us to be “strong”. It teaches us that showing our vulnerability is to be avoided. Or, this is completely wrong. If someone says something to us that hurts us to the point where we have to hold back tears, the best thing to do can sometimes be to embrace our emotion and the discomfort it will generate and start crying. Contrary to anger, this response will tend to elicit empathy from others, to make the person who hurt us very uncomfortable and to generate a lot of introspection in them, especially if it is an empathetic person who has only been awkward. She will usually open up to us, will listen to us, apologize and grow from it. Our relationship with her is also much less likely to come out of it deteriorated..

Be careful though, it should not be an emotional manipulation technique ! The idea is not to pretend to cry to make another person feel uncomfortable, but good to dare to do it if it happens naturally. Also, if the person who harmed us is not in good faith, it is likely that the power of vulnerability does not work. I do not consider that it is absolutely necessary to hide our emotions in front of this kind of people.. It's up to you to make the decision that seems best to you..

  1. Choose your fights

Some people are reasonable, others not. In absolute, it is very likely that everyone can change their mind, but in reality, it depends a lot on the relationship we already have with them and their intentions. for example, the classic case of the person who starts a conversation with us for the specific purpose of “triggering” us and then laughing at us is one where hoping for a constructive discussion is frankly naive. religious fanatics, the conspiracy theorists and political activists who approach us to try to convince us are usually not in good faith either. Generally (but that's just a personal opinion), I would say that any conversation with a person who refuses to answer our questions is a waste of time. I take this opportunity to mention at this precise moment that this whole article aims globally so that we ourselves are not those people who are counterproductive and extremely unpleasant 😉

And There you go ! I hope these few tips, methods and guidelines can be useful to you to manage the uncomfortable situations that will occur in your holiday parties this year, but also in all the other uncomfortable situations that you will encounter in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, consider joining the IWW if you haven't already and/or register for our next organizer training 101. You'll find out it's not just a union, but also of a very beautiful militant school and human relations.

Have a good holiday season and rest well 🙂 !


Tuesday the 25 October from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Organizing Committee of the SITT-IWW Montreal branch invites you to a workshop “How to make the social and physical map of your workplace”. The workshop will take place in the presence of the local, the 3340 Ontario Street. To register, please complete the following form :

Cartography, or “mapping”, is the first step when we start to organize our workplace. Important work that allows us to have an overview of the internal dynamics on our work floor, but also to know who to mob. A practical workshop where together we will draft the physical and social mapping of our workplace. And bonus, tools for researching information on our bosses will be shared.

We hope to see you there in large numbers !

The employee activist's complaint

The employee activist's complaint:  how to fight capitalism with capitalism

In recent years, we live in a crisis of activism. Many organizations struggle to recruit and engage new members. We only have to look at our own membership rate, that fluctuates with the seasons, and the difficulties encountered when the time comes to take action to realize that the[1] The IWW is coming, her too, the effects of this same crisis. Although the explanations for this phenomenon can be polysemous, most people recognize that, more generally, this situation is linked to a crisis of collective action. Faced with increasingly corporatist unionism, some activists simply no longer hear the call to mobilization. As a solution, the right thinkers of this world, of which some belong Wobs, found a revolutionary solution to this problem: paid activism! I know, I know… this debate has been going on for ages and is constantly brought to the forefront, and in a nauseating way, in our collective discussions. Even though many of us are losing patience with these endless senseless exchanges, I believe it is important that we pause for a moment to settle this matter once and for all so that we can, in the future, focus on our common goal: force social transformation by dismantling capitalism.

At first glance, this proposal may seem simple and consistent with the values ​​of our organization. After all, work done is work that deserves to be paid. Quite simple, is not it…? Sadly, This is not the case. If some members, of which I am part, oppose paid activism, it is that this proposition clashes with the deepest values ​​that inhabit us and causes cognitive dissonance[2] more than we can tolerate. Beyond the ideologies that oppose each other in this debate, I believe it is important to contextualize it in order to highlight certain more technical obstacles to consider before establishing paid activism in an organization like ours.

For many years, I got involved in my “imposed union”. Army of leftist fervor, I thought I would be surrounded by people who share my values ​​of solidarity, of mutual aid and concern for the common good. Through defeats and frustrations, I eventually realized that the rise of individualism, combined with the Rand formula, have ensured that modern unions are nothing more than corporatist institutions aimed at maintaining the status quo while convincing the working class to accept corporate mediocrity (believe me, this mediocrity is even more ironic when you work for the public or parapublic service). Our elected union officials have become navel-gazing civil servants more concerned about their re-election and their bonuses than the common good.. So I made the choice, to counter the torment of my union cognitive dissonance, to disengage (although I cannot unaffiliate) from my home union to get involved in my chosen union. Like all of you, I make the voluntary and conscious gesture of paying my monthly contributions because I believe in it and not because this amount is automatically deducted from my pay. So you understand that, when our members come up with “innovative ideas” such as paid activism, I can't help but be wary of the creeping corporatism that has already engulfed many so-called left-wing institutions.

The arguments against paid activism are numerous and of several types. As a starting point, I propose that we revisit the founding principles at the base of our organization. To do this, you will have to go and collect your little red notebook entitled Préambule, constitution & general regulations of the industrial union of workers[3] that you keep carefully under your pillow. I invite you to read the first sentence of this document, cornerstone on which the IWW rests: The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. By agreeing to pay some of our members, who would in fact become our “employees”, don't we become bosses? By supporting the idea of ​​paid activism, Are we not voluntarily becoming what we despise most?? maybe I'm a little naive, but I find it difficult to see how we will be able to continue to campaign for the abolition of employers while being a boss.

By continuing to read the preamble (1 page – 6 paragraphs – 10 phrases – 27 lines), you will notice that in addition to all the times we can infer the thing, it is textually mentioned at 2 times that our first demand, to eliminate capitalism, is D'ABOLISH EMPLOYEES. Are we really going to pay people a salary so that they can campaign for the abolition of wage employment?? How are we going to chant, with complete credibility, «Down with wage-earners! » while paying a salary to our activists…? Let us recall here that, during his university studies, the great leftist Pierre Carl Péladeau felt so challenged by the Marxist doctrine that he changed the spelling of his name to Pierre Karl... This is proof that bosses can be socialists !!! As a solution to this problem, I propose to save the time it would take for us to radically redefine who we are in order to better fulfill our role as boss and to use the same technique as this great man who inspired us so much.: let's simply change the c for a k in Kapitalism and conclude that we have achieved our dream of social transformation. At the same time, it will also be necessary to change the spelling of credible to kredible, and coherent for koherent… You see, it's all arranged!

For many, the debate ends here. When we recognize that financial compensation for our involvement in the IWW is diametrically opposed to the founding principles of our organization, the debate becomes obsolete. However, I can't help but ask the question: what is the interest of a person in getting involved VOLUNTEERLY and of their own free will in an organization which aims to abolish wage employment while demanding a salary for this same involvement?? Why seek to modify an organization incompatible with our ambitions so that it corresponds to our ideals rather than simply looking for another organization which better corresponds to our vision of the world?  It's about as relevant as handing out leaflets about veganism at the Calgary Stampede. (you Calgary, there yet, I do not know anymore!). However, the distinction between activist and employee is very clear. My work is what I do. My activism is who I am. Even though I love what I do, that I feel pride in my profession, and that I chose to work in a sector that matches my personal values, my work does not define me. I don't live to work; I work to live. For those who are wondering, I am going to take the liberty here of saving you the costs of a consultation with a guidance counselor.. There is a profession where you can defend your ideological positions to your heart's content while earning a very good living. All you have to do is fill out the membership form available on the AQL website. (Quebec Association of Lobbyists) and voila! On the other hand, of grace, when it's done, please at least make sure that you are not applying for a job with an organization that will ask you to make representations aimed at your self-abolition…

Notwithstanding that paid activism is antithetical to our intrinsic values, a good number of technical obstacles present themselves to us. Continue, if you really want it, reading your little red notebook. You will notice, like me, that a complete rewrite of our regulations would be necessary. Although I do not wish to make an exhaustive list of inconsistencies caused by the “salaryist” demands of certain, a few examples still deserve to be highlighted.

In the first place, remember that article II of our general regulations, relating to membership, specifies that in order to be eligible, members of our organization must adopt goals and principles consistent with those of the IWW. Even more, it is stated that actions clearly harmful to solidarity or in contradiction with the objectives and principles of the SITT-IWW can lead to the exclusion of a member. I believe here that the incompatibility has already been widely demonstrated beforehand and that we agree that paid activism is not part of our objectives or our principles...

Thereafter, the article III, relating to our structure, reminds us of the importance of democratic organizational practices and transparency on the part of the organization. Concerned about wanting to protect us from corporatism, our union is run by volunteers and not by an employer party. What will happen to this democracy when we have to manage our employees? How will we be able to maintain the principle of equal rights cited in Article IV when we have established a hierarchical management structure between members?? It's true that role-playing games are popular, but I'm really not sure how we are going to play the role of unionist and boss simultaneously. I imagine it would be a bit like trying to sing Bohemian Rhapsody solo.

As if the absurdity of paid activism had not been sufficiently demonstrated, let's keep scratching this sticky wound a little longer. Article VII of our regulations warns us against the use of our universal label. As we have determined that our stunning purple symbol will never be delegated to employers, our merchandise committee risks finding itself in embarrassment since the second the first paycheck is signed, we will all have to give up our favorite t-shirt. Anyway, like paragraph c) of article II of page 15 specifies that no member of the SITT-IWW can represent a corporatist union, we all just voluntarily sent ourselves to the penalty box (insert slow clap and recall procedure here).

So far, the arguments raised are more related to the ideals and collective values ​​that we wish to convey. Sadly, ce genre d’argument, no matter how well worded it is, do not join the fauxchists, or this new militant bourgeoisie which, under the guise of socialism, only reinforces a capitalist system aimed at maintaining power in the hands of the ruling class. So, as there is no question here of recognition of workers' rights, but of maintaining the privileges of certain, I will allow myself to respond to the capitalist greed of the salary demands of our volunteers with a capitalist argument. Although present worldwide, The IWW currently only has about 12,000 members.. Let's assume that all our members are up to date with their contributions and that they contribute, on average, 22$ per month (which is not the case but let's go with a favorable estimate), our global annual budget, all branches combined, represents approximately $3,000,000. Although this sum may seem enormous for simple workers, we can see that our budget is actually smaller than the expense accounts of many CEOs (nonon Pierre Karl, not you; we know that you are a Marxist). Once our operating costs are covered, it is not difficult to guess that the amounts available are very limited. Add to this the salary of militant parasites seeking to cannibalize our organization with salary demands., the amounts remaining for our collective actions would be comparable to the average salary paid to people incarcerated in private prisons in the United States. At this pace, we will quickly become comparable to a corporate organization such as Autism Speaks, where the majority of expenses incurred are in salary, in advertising and fundraising campaigns while less than 4% of their annual budget is used to help people on the spectrum and their families. In light of this simple mathematical calculation, the question is valid: in an organization focused on the common good, isn't paid activism becoming the most opportune way to miss our target?? How is allocating the majority of the collective resources we have to a few individuals not capitalism in its simplest expression...?

All that being said, it seems clear to me that in addition to making our mission useless, paid activism only solidifies the capitalist labor relations we oppose. Furthermore, this only reinforces the increasingly corporatist positioning of organizations and accentuates the division of labor. Finally, in addition to diverting the debate from the real issues, to siphon financial resources from an already precarious organization, the innovative solution of paid activism will only have served to invalidate the very essence of our existence and exacerbate the crisis of activism. For my part, if this proposal were to be accepted, as long as I contribute to maintaining a system that I hate and become a caricature of myself, my last act before terminating my membership in the IWW would be to insist that all of our employees be women. Like this, we will be able to save 30% on our payroll. Pierre Karl will have something to be proud of us.


[1] The use of the feminine is a deliberate choice. Deal with it or talk to your therapist.

[2] And psychology social, cognitive dissonance occurs when people are confronted with information that is not consistent with their beliefs.

[3] It would be interesting if we thought about revisiting this name. Firstly, the use of Workers refers to a dichotomous model which is, in my opinion, outdated and disconnected from the multiplicity of gender identities of our members. Beside, the systematic prioritization of the masculine in our texts only reminds female workers, in a very subtle way (as if society was not already fully responsible for reminding us of this), that we will always be one step behind our male colleagues.

Manifestation of the 1st of May 2022


(English below)
Revolted! In front of the bosses who refuse to give us a living wage! In front of the owners who seize a social right in order to enrich themselves! In front of governments that see migrants as fraudsters!

Another pandemic year to suffer the ravages of the capitalist economy. Another year where the economic imperatives of the corporate class have taken precedence over the well-being of working people. That is why the Industrial Workers Union – Montreal section still has three demands: a significant increase in the minimum wage to $22/h and an improvement in our working conditions, rent control and social housing, and status for all!The Industrial Workers' Union and several associated organizations invite you to a picnic and demonstration on Sunday May 1 2022 12:30 p.m. at Emmett-Johns Square, behind Papineau station. We're in front of the boss class and we're standing, ensemble. International Workers' Day is an opportunity to develop our ties, to share our struggles, to revolt to build a better world.__Also, we invite you to participate in the demonstration of the Convergence of anti-capitalist struggles (CLAC) which takes place after, at 5 p.m. instead of “Canada”, under the theme “Colonial and ecocidal: capitalism is war! ». Here is the link to their website:

Participating groups :
STTAB- Home Bonneau
Montreal North Housing Committee
Eastern unemployment committee
Coalition Against Poverty Hochelaga
Plateau accommodation committee
Syndicat TRAC union

Outraged! Against bosses that refuse to give us a decent wage! Against landlords that take away a social right in order to make money! Against governments that see migrants as frauds!

Another pandemic year during which we suffered the devastation of the capitalist system. Another year during which the economic interests of the business class crushed the well being of the working class. That’s why the Industrial Workers of the World – Montréal still demand: a significant minimum wage raise to 22$/hour and better working conditions, rent control measures and social housing, and a status for all!SITT-IWW and others invites you to a picnic and demonstration on Sunday May 1st 2022 at 12:30 PM at Place Emmett-Johns, behind Papineau station. Against the employing class, we stand together. May Day is the opportunity to meet, share our struggles and rebel on the way to building a better world.___Also, we invite you to participate in the Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes (CLAC)’s protest happening after, at 5 PM at Place du ” Canada », with the theme “Colonial and Ecocidal, Capitalism is war!”.
Here is the link to their website:

STTAB- Home Bonneau
Montreal North Housing Committee
Eastern unemployment committee
Coalition Against Poverty Hochelaga
Plateau accommodation committee
Syndicat TRAC union

COVID-19 : save the furniture, fight and prepare for after

If for two or three short weeks, the federal and provincial governments have announced and put in place certain measures to help (partially) to workers, unemployed, so as to promote containment, Legault's latest press conferences suggest the end of the honeymoon.

It was to be expected, business as usual, the State will favor the economic interests of their friends the bosses, big investors, the rich, and this to the detriment of workers, as per usual. The CAQ is talking about returning to school as early as early May, while we are far from having “defeated” the pandemic or even from having a vaccine, because we have to do something with the children of workers if we force them to return to work…

Why would it be any different anyway?? It has always been like this. The crisis will simply have had a magnifying glass effect : our conditions were already crap, they will not magically become better.

Limit the damage and claim…

This is why currently, the union environment (and part of the left) should be in “damage limitation and advocacy” mode. Saving furniture with a view to knowing it, the crisis will certainly not prevent bosses from getting rich on the backs of their employees. We just have to look at certain companies and industries where we continue to squeeze returns as if nothing had happened., even more so if we have a workforce that has fewer resources to defend itself (workers with precarious status in particular). 

We need to demand salary increases and improvements in our working conditions more broadly., as in certain businesses it was seen, and especially, arrange so that it is not temporary. Because it is not true that we are going to give 2$ more to supermarket cashiers to better withdraw from them in six months, and. Now is not the time to feel guilty about asking for better conditions or to fall into the nationalist romanticism of Legault Inc.’s “war effort.”

Limit the damage and claim, it also means refusing work. No question of returning to work because our bosses are worried. They don't normally give us more bonuses when things are going well, why then would we put ourselves in danger when we are in the middle of a pandemic? I hope, where I fantasize, teachers' unions which will block these potential returns to class which above all sound like a shit plan…And not just in education, but in the community, in health, in construction, in retail, etc.

…pass messages…

It’s also the time to train and get organized. Quebec does not have a worker or union culture that is transmitted very strongly. At school, we do little or no political education and even less on social struggles. Um, am, It’s time to put some effort into it.. And it will have to come from the base, because anyway, we know it, the deadbeats at the head of the union centers are too attached to the status quo and their privileges to convey more radical ideas.

It's time to send messages, to provide popular education, to agitate our colleagues and to give ourselves the means to do so. Write texts, provide training and workshops, supporting young people in militant learning. Prepare the world to defy the special laws and injunctions that will continue to rain down as soon as we put pressure in the right place.

…and prepare for the aftermath…

And we have to think about what's next, because the nightmare is not going to end with a possible deconfinement (which itself risks being long and progressive, according to the needs of the bosses…). If we are already capable of being alert enough to avoid passing authoritarian or draconian anti-union laws through the ranks (as most states do in times of crisis), we will still be handed a hefty bill as a sacrament.

Nothing new in what follows, but just looking at our social net : if panic grips our hospitals, our CHSLDs (most of them private and more), our CLSCs or our community organizations, It’s because governments have been succeeding one another for decades to put the ax to it.. It is not a sad coincidence that we are not able to test sufficiently, that we leave people on the street in the middle of a pandemic, that we don't have enough equipment. And it’s not a health crisis that will change that, capitalism obliges.

Legault and Co. are already making him soar : it's going to be expensive. It is not true that governments will (era)introduce a capital tax or higher taxes for the richest. Non, after social distancing measures, it will be those of austerity which will be violent, not just a little. We are going to be asked to tighten our belts in bad weather.

And our health system which will have already struggled through the crisis, going to eat another smack. In education it will be the same. The benefit programs we contribute to will not escape this. Health and safety achievements, working conditions, name it, everyone will taste it.

We must therefore prepare to rebuild and strengthen our union movements, social and left. It doesn't happen by snapping your fingers and there will be obstacles. Already as I mentioned above, there will be left-wing “elites” to try to control the mess and the frustration that it will generate. What form will it take?, I do not know. But we better start thinking about it.

COVID-19 : The IWW Montreal-demand the suspension of payments of rents and mortgages

MONTRÉAL, the 30 mars 2020 – The crisis coronavirus hit us hard and as usual in these difficult times, the first to pay the price were workers. Only a week after the start of social distancing measures, there were over a million new unemployed and new unemployed across the country.

Despite support programs announced by the different levels of government, it seems that the funds will not be distributed in time for the beginning of April. Thus, several hundred thousand people will have to choose between eating or paying the rent or mortgage. If taken containment measures are for the health of everyone, we believe it is important to remember that the housing and food are also vital needs and should be considered human rights.

In this sense, IWW Montreal-demand the suspension of payments of rents and mortgages for everyone. The spokesman of the union, Coline says Left : « Si, the base, we already have some discomfort with the fact monetize a basic human need like housing, this exceptional situation forces us to demand that governments take extraordinary measures. It is also that, public health ! »

Solidarity with the strikers rent

Since the state is slow to implement measures concerning the right to housing for all and all during this crisis, a rent strike is in the process of setting up a coast to coast. The IWW-Montreal wishes to publicly announce it up in solidarity with the strikers tenants, and that those who will be adversely affected by their owner will contact our Solidarity Committee to help defend.

« We will support our members, and any person who will suffer the consequences of participation in the rent strike, by need or solidarity. Be assuré.e.s that our union will respond if this crackdown are exercised by owners ! "Says Ms. Gaucher.

The IWW-Montreal also directed its allied organizations to take principled positions on the suspension of mortgages and rents during the crisis, to lobby all levels of government, and preparing solidarity with the people who will have to resolve to make the rent strike. There is no secret recipe, is uniting we will successfully defend the rights to housing and food for the whole of the working class, or unemployed.

Always on the side of those who fight

The Industrial Union of Workers and Workers - Industrial Workers of the World (SITT-IWW) is an open union to all members of the working class, or that they are salarié.e.s, unemployed, étudiant.e.s or retraité.e.s.

The mission of the ISTC-IWW is to organize workplaces, industries and communities. We want to both improve our living conditions in the immediate, but also a world without bosses. A world in which the production and distribution will be managed and organized by the workers, so that the needs of the entire population are met rather than just those of a powerful minority of exploiters and owners.

Photo credit: Cedric Martin