IWW Canada

The Industrial Workers of the World in Canada is a union that believes solidarity and democracy in the workplace and across all industries can change our jobs and the world. Please contact your nearest branch to join and organize for a better life.

If you are not near a branch, email rst.canroc [at] gmail.com for how to join the Canadian Regional Organizing Committee (CANROC) and build a branch locally. For more information about the IWW’s ideas, history and culture or our union newspaper, the Industrial Worker, visit www.iww.org.

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Street Labour Organizers Get National Media Attention

Fellow Workers organizing with the Street Labourers of Windsor (SLOW) gained national media attention – positive and negative – this last August for its stand against iron spikes on Windsor planters. Panhandlers of SLOW said the initiative, led by the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, targeted panhandlers and interfered with their ability to make a living.

The union is also known as the Windsor Panhandlers and Buskers Union, who IWW members first learned about in the January/February edition of the Industrial Worker newspaper. (See the article.)

Here is a list of coverage as it has unfolded to date:

July 15, 2015: Windsor Independent article: Fallen through the cracks: Who are Windsor’s Panhandlers?

August 19, 2015: Windsor Star and National Post news article: Windsor’s panhandlers and street performers unionize for ‘rights everyone else has’ (includes video).

August 20, 2015: Yahoo News Daily Brew article: Windsor panhandlers, street performers unionizing

August 20, 2015: Vice Canada news article: Windsor Panhandlers Want to Unionize

August 21, 2015: CBC report: New Windsor union includes city’s panhandlers and buskers (includes CBC radio interview)

August 26, 2015: Calgary Herald editorial: Unionized Begging. This screed completely misses the point that all people need to be treated with dignity, regardless of how they make a living.

November 18, 2015: Windsor Star: Solidarity Forever: Windsor panhandlers’ collective to open Union Hall on Tecumseh Road.

November 18, 2015: CBC News website: Street Labourers of Windsor Set Up Union Hall

Disclaimer: This article does not represent the official policy of the IWW Canadian Regional Organizing Committee.


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Toronto IWW: Working for Each Other, Working for Ourselves Summit

Working for Each Other, Working for Ourselves

Toronto IWW is happy to announce Working for Each Other, Working for Ourselves: A Revolutionary Public Service Worker-Organizer Summit, to be held October 3rd and 4th 2015 in Toronto, Ontario. Working for Each Other will draw together grassroots workplace organizers from around North America. A major component of today’s economy, the public services are often hit first and hard by austerity and other cut backs. As workers, we need to organize ourselves to fight these battles in the community centres, grocery stores, clubs and office towers where we work for the benefit of other people.

To pitch us a workshop

Do you have a story to tell, skills to share, strategies to discuss, research to present or other contribution to make to the organizing of public services? Have you organized a union, job committee, direct action, general assembly or otherwise created more democracy on the job?

We are currently soliciting proposals for workshop, panel, talk and facilitated discussions from IWW members and non-members alike.


In order to make this event as accessible as possible, we are also seeking donations, both in-kind and financial, to help cover travel and other costs, especially those related to accessibility.

How to attend

Registration for participants will open sometime in July. See below for ways to keep track of developments.

Keep in touch with us

Facebook fb.com/WorkingForEachOther

Twitter @Work4EachOther

Join our announcements-only mailing list

Check out our website workingforeachother.org

Email us workingforeachother@iww.org

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Windsor Wobbies Build Street Solidarity

Windsor IWWWindsor Wobblies Build Street Solidarity

For the last year-and-a-half, the IWW in Windsor has been working on a campaign to organize panhandlers and buskers in the downtown core of this border city. The campaign started out as the Windsor Street Solidarity Committee and in late 2014 has expanded to form the Windsor Panhandlers and Buskers Union.

In late November 2014 I had the pleasure of sitting down with Fellow Worker (FW) Richard from the Windsor General Membership Branch (GMB) and one of the main organizers in the Windsor Panhandler and Buskers Union. He explained how the campaign started: “At first we really just did what were basically patrols with branch members around downtown.” At this point they called themselves the “Street Solidarity Committee.”

“We would check in with people, help each other get in touch with people on the street and get them in touch with our organizers if there were any problems.” Through their organizers on the streets and the patrols, they managed to recruit a handful of members who added numbers to their committee.

“Eventually we started dealing a bit with the police; if there was a problem with a member we would talk to the member and then the police, and then if a local business complained, we would speak to the business. Then we would try and work out a deal where the buskers and panhandlers could stay.” Richard described their interactions with the police as generally adversarial but not overtly hostile. Holding up two hands, he illustrated this relationship by lightly bumping them together. “We try not to run into each other too hard too often so that we can still cut a deal,” he said.

One of the problems Richard described was helping members deal with businesses that asked the police to remove the members from public property near their store. However, they also have one larger campaign under their belt. In 2013, one city council member tried to bring in an anti-panhandling measure called “Care Meters.” These are basically parking meters that collect money for charities. Usually they go hand-in-hand with restrictions on panhandling to certain parts of town during certain times of day.

Richard described how they tackled the issue. “We decided to organize a public meeting on July 1, 2013, to discuss our side of the issue. We had some speakers talk about people’s rights, about police violence, and also about addiction issues.”

Before the meeting the same city council member who was pushing Care Meters was confronted while harassing an IWW panhandler downtown. “Well, he just called the others in the union and we had four Wobblies down there right away,” Richard said. The scene of the altercation just happened to be across the street from the Windsor Star offices (the local daily newspaper) and the event made the front page the next day!

“This brought a lot of attention to our public meeting and attendance was really good. We had people speak on addiction problems, on issues facing First Nations people, and accessing services for people on the streets,” said Richard.

When the city council met to discuss the motion on the Care Meters, the only speaker to the motion was the city solicitor, who told council members that the bylaw would probably be overturned if someone brought forward a Supreme Court challenge. Richard was beaming when he told me this part: “After that you could hear a pin drop in the council chambers. The motion died on the floor with no one voting for it or even speaking to it.”

Now the Panhandlers and Buskers Union is back to building their membership up through smaller actions and building power on the street from what they describe as small victories. They hold a business meeting every two weeks to check in with each other and work on how they deal with the police and local businesses, and they even keep regular office hours. This is definitely a campaign worth watching.

This article appeared in the January/February Industrial Worker.

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Toronto’s Harm Reduction Workers Unite!

TORONTO, ON – Harm reduction workers from across the city announced today that they have formed the Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Union (THRWU), an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Workers from South Riverdale Community Health Centre and Central Toronto Community Health Centres are the first to announce their affiliations with the union, and have demanded that their managements recognize the union and commit to negotiating with them. The Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Union is the first of it’s kind in the world.

Harm reduction programs are services or policies designed to reduce harms associated with drug use (or other potentially risky behaviours) without requiring the cessation of use. The low rates of HIV transmission amongst injection drug users in Toronto today can largely be attributed to the work of activists who established the first needle exchanges in the 1980s. Since then, continuing efforts have lead to the 45 programs currently contracted by Toronto Public Health to distribute harm reduction materials and information in the city. All of these programs rely on the labour and participation of harm reduction workers, including the expertise and knowledge of many workers who use (or have used) drugs.

The city’s harm reduction programs are run by agencies with the mission to advance social and community justice, often through bettering access to employment security and other poverty-reduction measures; despite this, the workers who provide these key services are all too often denied job security themselves, and work in precarious and low-paying positions that keep them in poverty.

“As we face increasingly corporate management structures and austerity budgets, as well as the continuing toll of the war on drugs, stigma, and poverty, we realized we needed to organize ourselves as workers, to make our voice heard and push harm reduction forward”, says harm reduction worker Max Ducsharm. Ducsharm is one of 50 employed, unemployed, and student workers doing a variety of jobs – from community workers and program coordinators, to supply kit makers and outreach workers, who have so far signed up with the THRWU. He says organizing is ongoing, with plans for more workplaces to announce their affiliation with the union in the weeks and months to come.

In a rare move, the union has opted to forgo certification with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, choosing instead a ‘do-it yourself’ model of unionism. Rather than relying on government officials, lawyers or professional union staffers, THRWU members will advocate directly on their own behalf. It’s a strategy that fits broadly into a growing movement of ‘solidarity unionism’ that seeks to innovate strategies to make gains for workers in a context where traditional, Labour Board-certified unions are unable or unwilling to do so. “Labour Board certification is not an option for many workers and it didn’t make any sense for us,” said Peter Leslie.

In addition to workers, such as those without status, independent contractors and others who are legally excluded from certification, many other precarious, temporary, and casual workers face nearly impossible hurdles to Labour Board recognition. Leslie explains, “We’ve been divided by workplace for too long. We wanted an organization that could harness the power of all harm reduction workers, regardless of where they worked. We also didn’t want people’s union membership to be dependent on being employed in an industry where people are often between jobs or trying to eke out a living by holding multiple casual positions.”

“We are a union of some of the most marginalized workers in our city. We’re fighting for better jobs and better services. We’re building a movement from the bottom up.” says THRWU member Frank Crichlow.

Visit their Facebook page or website http://thrwu.org/ for more information.

Donate to their campaign.

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CANROC Statement on Education Workers’ Struggle in Ontario

Fellow Education Workers,

The Industrial Workers of the World Canadian Regional Organizing Committee urges Ontario rank-and-file teachers union members to keep struggling for justice and respect on the job.

The rank-and-file of Ontario’s teachers’ unions have borne the brunt of this struggle with Ontario’s Liberal government for a fair and equitable contract, negotiated freely and under conditions of respect and solidarity.

The government’s decision to repeal Bill 115 is meaningless, particularly as it intends to enforce the two-year agreement it forced on teachers. Taking the knife out does not heal the wound.

The Industrial Workers of the World in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada urge the rank-and-file to keep up the fight on the job and within your own union. We see rank-and-file members adopting a more effective approach by continuing to network at the grassroots level and keep mobilized in the workplace. Instructors should continue to take action as necessary to make the imposition of this contract a mistake the government will not forget.

There is also organizing work to do within the teachers’ unions. The news that the Toronto District 12 of the OSSTF donated $30,000 to Liberal leadership candidates in December 2012 demonstrates a serious breach of faith with its members. Attempting to use union funds to curry favour with the very members of the Liberal cabinet who voted in favour of Bill 115 is an ineffective way of fighting this government and its allies.

Similarly, the decision to stop the work-to-rule tactic on extra-curricular activities on the hint of a promise from the new premier puts the interests of the Ontario Liberal Party over the interests of the union’s membership. We urge union members to hold their officers accountable for these blunders.

Our members and working class Ontarians support the teachers and educators in our schools. We know what it is like to face austerity and demonization by this province’s government and its allies. Solidarity and political independence is the hard road to victory and we will see you on it, Fellow Workers.

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Labour Martyrs – CKUT 90.3 FM Interviews Larry Gambone

Canadian Labour Martyr pamphletOn September 20, 2012, CKUT 90.3 FM Off the Hour’s Labour News interviewed Fellow Worker Larry Gambone about his pamphlet, They Died For You. He speaks about what happened with the Ginger Goodwin assassination as well as how his branch members are standing in solidarity with the Quebec student strikers.

The interview starts at 2:56. Listen to the streamed version or download the MP3.

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Order your 2013 Solidarity Forever Calendar Today

2013 IWW CalendarRemind yourself every day of our labour movement’s victories, tragedies and ongoing struggle for working class emancipation and justice!

The Canadian IWW Literature Department is now offering the 2013 Solidarity Forever Calendar for $12 plus postage. Fill out the form and send it to us! CANROC Literature Order Form

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Windsor Wobblies Form Canada’s Newest IWW Branch

IWW members banded together and formed a General Membership Branch in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

The Canadian Regional Organizing Committee issued a charter to the branch on May 6, 2012.

Windsor members have also formed a Windsor Button Cooperative, which received its IWW shop card in November 2011. This new workers cooperative produces buttons for the labour movement, activists and other organizations.

We congratulate these Fellow Workers as they build the IWW in Windsor. We urge working class people in the Windsor area to contact the branch, get involved and support their campaigns.


IWW Windsor General Membership Branch
c/o WWAC, 328 Pelissier St
Windsor, ON N9A 4K7
Phone: (519) 564-8036
E-Mail: windsoriww@gmail.com
Website: windsoriww.wordpress.com/

Windsor Button Cooperative
Email: windsorbuttoncooperative@gmail.com

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Industrial Workers of the World Declare Solidarity with the Quebec Student Strike!

Members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) across Canada stand in solidarity with students and workers across Québec who are taking a courageous stand against rising tuition fees and the government-backed capitalist attack on the working class in the age of austerity. Continue reading

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Solidarité avec la grève étudiante québécoise!

Les membres du Syndicat Industriel des Travailleuses et des Travailleurs (SITT-IWW) de l’ensemble du Canada appuient solidairement toutes les étudiantes et les étudiants ainsi que les travailleuses et les travailleurs du Québec qui s’opposent courageusement à la hausse des frais de scolarité, cette offensive capitaliste contre la classe laborieuse soutenue par le gouvernement à l’âge de l’austérité.

En bloquant les cours et en descendant souvent, et parfois par centaines de milliers, dans les rues, les personnes qui se mobilisent dans la lutte au côté des membres de notre syndicat qui s’y impliquent activement montrent au reste du Canada que l’action directe peut réellement porter fruit.

Le SITT réclame par la même occasion que la police cesse d’attaquer les médias indépendants du Québec, particulièrement Concordia University TV (CUTV). Leur travail de transmission vidéo en direct est essentielle aux changements démocratiques que nous encourageons.

Le SITT réclame aussi que le gouvernement provincial abroge la loi spéciale 78 qui suspend la liberté d’expression, la liberté d’assemblée et le droit de ceux qui luttent de défendre leurs choix par rapport à l’avenir que devrait avoir l’éducation au Québec. Le gouvernement doit entendre et reconnaître les bien fondés des revendications du mouvement et y répondre lors de négociations et non pas de légiférer de manière répressive pour mettre fin au conflit et rétablir la “paix sociale” par la force.

Le Comité Canadien d’Organisation Régionale du SITT (CCOR) encourage les membres et les branches locales à faire des dons à des associations étudiantes, dont l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (ASSÉ), et aux médias indépendants, dont CUTV. Le CORR les invite aussi à se joindre autant que possible à ceux et celles qui défendent les lignes de piquetages et qui se mobilisent dans les rues en solidarité avec cette lutte pour le droit à l’éducation et la liberté.

Au bout du compte, les étudiantes et les étudiants conjointement avec les travailleuses et les travailleurs ainsi que les professeures et professeurs sont en train de bâtir un puissant mouvement de solidarité qui marquera le Québec. Cette forte union nous permet d’espérer qu’un jour le système d’éducation puisse être contrôlé par ceux et celles qui y travaillent, y étudient et y enseignent dans le but de favoriser universellement le développement social et humain plutôt que de l’asservir à une sinistre logique de rendement monétaire qui profite aux banques insatiables et aux capitalistes de tout acabit.

Si tu es intéressé(e) par ce que tu lis, contacte-nous. Cela ne t’engage a rien, et sois sur(e) que nous n’en parleons ni a tes collegues, ni a ton patron. Si tu decides de te syndiquer, nous serons la pour t’aider.

Pour rejoindre un(e) délégué(e):



*Partout au Québec

* Ottawa-Outaouais

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