Come to an exciting class this Thursday as we switch gears from the Black freedom and Black Power movements of the 1960s-1970s and jump back in time to another social movement: the US labor movement and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union. We will look at local history and discuss the IWW textile workers strike in Little Falls in 1912, the unions’ presence in Utica as well as the tumultuous Lawrence textile strike. The IWW formed in 1905 at a time when most unions were mainly focused with organizing white, male, US-born, skilled workers. The IWW sought to organize all workers into “One Big Union” that included workers of all ethnicities, genders, and industries. The union transgressed many racial, gender, and immigration barriers in its early days and caused the ire of business elites and the US government which worked to repress the union through raids, imprisonment, deportation, and sometimes death. Union activists affectionately referred to the IWW as “the greatest thing on earth” and took the saying “an injury to one is an injury to all” quite seriously as evidenced by the union’s commitment to international working class solidarity.
The discussion will mostly center around labor, workers’ rights, unions, and workplace organizing, with a special focus on our experiences as young workers. This class will build up to the IWW union organizer training this weekend at the Freedom School.
Class will start at 6:30 and dinner will be served at 6:00