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May 26th school board action #studentsnotsuspects

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From Classroom Struggle Twin Cities

Upcoming MPS School Board Action, #StudentsNotSuspects:

Join the Social Justice Education Movement (SJEM) and the Coalition for Critical Change and come out to the upcoming special school board meeting to demand an end to cops in schools. At this meeting, the school board will determine a proposal for its contract for School Resource Officers (SROs).

May 26th, 6:00pm
Davis Center
1250 W Broadway Ave
Minneapolis, MN 5541
Facebook Event: please share widely!

You can also show up with us to one of three upcoming budget forums to demand that the $500,000 going to SROs be reallocated to support restorative, transformative, and non-punitive programs. Visit the MPS website for date, times, and locations. We hope to see you there!

April 30: May Day Eve social and panel

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Join the Twin Cities IWW on April 30th for a May Day eve event! Members from some of the branch’s campaigns and projects will be on hand to speak and there will be snacks and May Day activities.

When: Thursday, April 30 @ 7PM

Where: 2 East Franklin, Suite 1, Minneapolis, MN

Mall of America worker trespassed from job after Black Lives Matter protest

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by x372712

On May 1st, the 36 people will go to court for a pre-trial hearing, on charges relating to the Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America on December 20th. For one defendant, though, the punishment began before the protest was over.

Tadele Gebremedhin was a worker at the Microsoft Store at Mall of America. It was a well-paying job, and Tadele was good at it- he knew every product in the store and was one of the location’s most valued employees. All that changed, however, during the police crackdown against the Black Lives Matter demonstration. Tadele was arrested during the protest while trying to return to his job from his lunch break. Served with a trespass order that forbids him from entering the Mall, he has been unable to go to work since. Despite being promised that he could receive an exception from the trespass order so that he could go to work, all his attempts to get the exception have been ignored or rejected by the Mall. Tadele has spent the last four a half months unemployed.

Tadele says that he never intended to take part in the protest, much less be arrested during it.

“Protesters started arriving at the mall at 2 PM, which was the same time I took my hourly lunch break.” said Tadele in a written statement. “From the beginning of my break my intentions were to grab lunch and purchase a hat with one of my co-workers.”

During his break, however, the rotunda and parts of the second floor began to fill with protesters and lines of riot police. Tadele found it difficult to return to work as the Mall went into a ‘lockdown’.

“Around 2:30 PM … my co-worker and I started walking in a circle on the second floor but then we were told to leave The Mall of America by officials even though we worked there.”, Tadele said. “We informed the mall officials and the Bloomington police that we were not part of the protest- but, me personally I do support the protests, as it is my right to support something I believe in.”

At this point, Tadele and his coworker tried to explain to the police that they needed to return to their job. Their break was 20 minutes from being over, and the two wanted to get back to work on time.

“I personally approached one of the officers and asked if I could go back to my job but he completely ignored me.”, said Tadele. “I turned around and asked another official the same question with my work badge but I was denied again. I tried this approach for the last time–but the last thing I remember was six Bloomington officers jumping on me yelling, “Arrest him!””.

After being tackled and handcuffed by the six officers, Tadele was taken into a network of tunnels away from the publicly traveled part of the mall. There he was handcuffed and made to sit on the floor against a concrete wall with other people who had been detained. Emmett Doyle, a local IWW member who was arrested while acting as a marshal, said he met Tadele in those tunnels. They were put in the same police van together.

“He kept asking to speak to his boss, so he could at least tell his boss where he was”, Emmett reported. “But, the cops almost completely ignored him.”

According to Emmett, Tadele was not the only non-protester profiled and targeted by the police.

“In our van there were five men, and only two of us had been involved in the protest”, said Emmett. “The other three- Tadele included- had been caught in the police sweep. All three were black and Hispanic men who had been near the protest and got targeted by the crackdown”.

After being directed into the police van, Tadele and the other people arrested were driven into a parking lot in Bloomington out of walking distance of the Mall. The only directions they were given were to the nearest Blue Line station. It was after dark when Tadele was released, on a December night with a sweater and no coat.

Like the other people arrested, Tadele was given a trespass paper saying that he would be arrested if he entered the Mall of America again for a year. However, Tadele says that before he was released, he was told by the officers present that he would receive an exemption to allow him to work.

“I was promised that I would receive a permit from The Mall of America to continue working at the Microsoft store.” Tadele said. “I guess that wasn’t the case because the next day I was denied for the permit and ever since then I have been jobless for about 4 ½ months now. This has been very hard for me, I have been struggling both mentally and financially”

One other MoA worker was arrested while trying to get to work during the protests. She has received the exception. Tadele, however, has requested it repeatedly and not received it. After it became apparent that he would not be able to return to work, Tadele resigned from the Microsoft Store. He reports that his supervisor and the company want him back, and even offered to transfer him to California. He couldn’t make the move, however, due to a lack of funds.

Sign the petition: Let Tadele Return to Work!

New Junior Wobblies website

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Junior Wobblies Camp will be back bigger and better than ever in summer 2015! We are excited to announce that camp will be in session August 15th-19th at our new location, Camp Holiday in Deerwood, MN! Please check out our website and stay posted to hear updates on JRWU Camp 2015.

What is Junior Wobblies camp?

Every year families from across the United States and Canada gather to share a summer camp like no other. Junior Wobblies is the children’s camp of the Industrial Workers of the World. A chance for our children to gather together and explore the themes of our shared working class history, culture, and struggles, both historical and contemporary, in a safe and loving atmosphere embodying the themes of solidarity and mutual aid. This camp gives children a chance to find their own place within the movement and their own identities as Junior Wobblies. Located in an outdoor setting and facilitated by devoted volunteer organizers and counsellors it is a chance for children and adults to have a family holiday experience while at the same time building relationships and reinforcing their ties to the broader class struggle.

Our new website can be found at http://juniorwobblies.wordpress.com/

15 Per Hour at UPS

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From 15 Per Hour at UPS

We hear people talking about it every night. “Shit, we should be making a hell of a lot more than we do for working this hard!” “They’re gonna have to pay me way better if they want me to do that!” And we all agree, but we also know that words alone won’t turn into raises. So last month some sturdy friends of Screw Ups braved the icy terrors of winter to collect signatures on a petition calling for a $15/hour starting wage at UPS, and a corresponding $5 raise for everyone. We weren’t surprised by the positive responses–nearly 100 signatures at both the Minneapolis and Eagan hub!–and it was great to see people getting fired up about making a real improvement to our jobs.

Making a push to raise wages at UPS without waiting 4 years for the next contract is certainly ambitious. But we all know how big of a difference an extra $5 per hour would make in our lives. And let’s face it; lots of us won’t even be working here in four years. We deserve better wages now, not when (and if) union and company negotiators feel like it. That’s why we’re going to fight for it. Nobody is promising we can make it happen. But we are promising to fight for it.

Whether you’ve been at UPS for a week, or a decade, or longer, you know that they always demand MORE. More accuracy, more speed, more sacrifice. This is especially true during peak season, when UPS relies on us most to keep the operation running and their profits flooding in. Year after year, we make billions of dollars for the company, and what do we get in return? Poverty wages (and the occasional pizza at break). This is what UPS thinks all of our hard work is worth. But we’re willing to bet that most of the time, and especially at Peak, the effort you put into your job goes far beyond what most people working part time jobs for $10 (or $11, or $12, or more) an hour give.
If we want to stop the daily wishing for higher wages, we have to get serious about it. We’re smart enough by now to know UPS won’t just give us things when we ask nicely. We have to show them what we’re worth. Show UPS what you think $10/hour work looks like, and they might start to understand what we’re worth. Keep it up, and they won’t have a choice but to find a way to show that our work is actually important to them.

It is going to take a big group of us putting pressure on UPS to get this raise. If you want to join in and work for better wages, we want you to get in touch with us! We are ready to start moving forward, and there are a few ways you can get involved right away. Check us out at www.facebook.com/15dollarsUPS or send an email to screwups[at]riseup.net.

Employing & Empowering More Staff & Teachers of Color: Petition to Minneapolis & St. Paul School Boards

From Twin Cities IWW Education Organizing Committee

Minneapolis and St Paul students, educators, parents, and community, please sign and share this!

We need more staff and teachers of color who bring creative, critical, powerful things to our schools.

Sign the petition here: http://tinyurl.com/empowerMPS

Action in solidarity with Amazon workers in Poland

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From ScrewUps Newswire

In January 2015, UPS part-timers affiliated with the Screw Ups newsletter in Minneapolis, USA took actions in solidarity with striking Amazon workers in Poland. We stopped scanning Amazon packages and spread campaign propaganda to Amazon customers in the USA with pro-zsp stickers attached to their packages.

The Polish Amazon workers have faced harsh working conditions and “irregularities”, like late pay or lack of payments for some parts of their salary. ZSP, the union at Amazon Poland is fighting to get back pay for workers and to improve the overall working conditions.

Working at UPS, we see thousands of Amazon packages shipped every day to customers all across the United States and beyond. Amazon relies on a massive workforce to fulfill all of these orders. Despite their enormous profits and plans to expand their business further, Amazon workers across the world still struggle to make a living. As UPS workers, we know this feeling all too well. While we work for shit wages and low hours, UPS continues making record profits. Just as we fight for better conditions at work, we took these actions to support Amazon workers struggling to improve their lives as a gesture of Solidarity. An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

For more information on the ZSP campaign at Amazon Poland, visit:
http://zsp.net.pl/zsp/english.

Work Peoples College picture (circa 1937)

Work Peoples College, Duluth, circa 1937

Here’s a picture of Work Peoples College attendees in Duluth, Minnesota, circa 1937. For more information on the historical WPC, check out “Educate, Organize, Emancipate: The Work People’s College and The Industrial Workers of the World” by Saku Pinta. For information on the current WPC, visit their website.

Picture source: The One Big Union Monthly (September 1937)

First issue of the Incarcerated Worker

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Introducing a new publication from the Industrial Workers of the World, the Incarcerated Worker! Over the last year or so, some prisoners in the U.S. and outside supporters have gotten together and formed the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee to address concerns such as prison labor and conditions.

CONTENTS

  • The IWW by Sean Swain
  • Biographical Profile: Dennis S. Boatwright, Jr. by Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
  • Understanding the Role of Prisoner Intellectuals by Dennis S. Boatwright
  • Forgotten Warrior Waits on Death Row By Isa Abdur-Rasheed
  • Lynching: Then and Now By Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
  • Induced Failure By Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
  • Crime and Punishment by Bomani Shakur
  • A Flicker Turns into a Flame: Alabama’s Prisoners want change by The Free Alabama movement

PDF AVAILABLE HERE

Anti-police brutality protest shakes things up at the Mall Of America

lushworkersLush workers walk out of the store in solidarity with Black Lives Matter at the Mall of America on Dec 202014. Photo: Nick Kozel

Last month, Black Lives Matter, which has led a number of protests, marches and rallies after several high-profile police killings of black males nationwide, organized a rally at the Mall of America. Prior to the rally, the Mall of America and City of Bloomington police waged a war of legal threats through the media, instructing protesters to gather somewhere else, or risk arrest.

The rally went on as planned, and since then, 10 organizers have been charged with a variety of misdemeanors, along with the City of Bloomington promising to seek restitution for police overtime and other costs. You can support the 10, by contributing to their legal defense fund here.

The following article appeared on the front page of January/February 2015 Industrial Worker, which is our official newspaper. It is an account from Twin Cities IWW member, x378436, about the Mall of America rally.

Anti-police brutality protest shakes things up at the Mall Of America
by x378436

On Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, a protest organized by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis aiming to shut down the Mall of America took place. The demonstration was part of the ongoing movement against police brutality and structural racism in police departments nationwide. Thousands of protesters crowded into the rotunda of the largest shopping mall in North America with banners proclaiming solidarity with Ferguson and “black lives matter.” Chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” echoed through the mall and sometimes got loud enough to shake the windows. Protesters who showed up a little late were greeted by members of the Bloomington Police Department dressed in head-to-toe riot gear and plainclothes mall security guards. Several members of the Twin Cities IWW were present and a few were arrested when they tried to break through these police lines set up to block protesters’ access to the rotunda and the other half of the mall. An entire section of the mall was entirely shut down, with all the shops closed. Many food court workers walked off their jobs and stood with their hands up while still wearing their Auntie Anne’s Pretzels or Dairy Queen uniforms. Employees at the animal-friendly cosmetics shop, Lush, stood outside their store with their hands up in solidarity with the protesters. Many employees who were trapped inside their shops by the barricades that mall security guards set up stood by the shop windows looking out at the protests and raised their fists in support.

For a few hours, the Mall of America was partially shut down and the people who worked there seemed totally fine with it, and even supportive in some cases. Whether or not food court workers who abandoned their posts and joined the protest could be called a “wildcat strike” is up for debate, but it certainly speaks volumes that this is an issue that resonates with so many. It resonates enough with people that they are willing to refuse to work and instead take action against a white supremacist police state. Previous Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area have linked the Service Employee International Union’s (SEIU’s) Fight for 15 and Fast Food Forward campaigns with the movement against police violence. McDonald’s workers, still in their uniforms, blocked highways and led chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Some of them participated in die-ins on the highway or in the middle of busy intersections. The fact that many people of color who experience the brunt of police violence also make up a considerable amount of those who work at low-wage fast food and service jobs speaks volumes about the white supremacist capitalist system that we find ourselves living in today. It is the hope of this Wobbly and many others within the general antipolice movement gaining traction that we can link direct action against bosses who exploit us for our labor and pay us menial compensation with direct action against a State which uses violence to enforce a white supremacist and patriarchal social order.

Actions like “Hands Up Don’t Ship” (a symbolic protest by rank-and-file workers at the United Parcel Service [UPS] hub in Minneapolis in which workers refused to ship packages from Law Enforcement Targets Inc.) and these spontaneous walkouts by food court workers at the Mall of America are just the beginning of what is hopefully a new movement: a movement which can begin to combat both the mistreatment at the hands of the employing class and the mistreatment at the hands of the police; a movement that can bring working-class people together regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation and fight for its emancipation. The Twitter personality “@zellie,” who has been extremely active in reporting what has been going on in Ferguson and also in New York in response to the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, said “If you ever wondered what you would be doing in the Civil Rights Movement, now is the time to find out.” Let us all find out together. In the face of such blatant disregard for the lives of people of color in this nation by the police, inaction on our part is complacence.

The labor movement of the 21st century cannot avoid the presence of white supremacy or patriarchy in our society. It must combat them as well as combat capitalism. Then and only then will we begin to see a much less miserable world, one in which all of us will be free to carve out our own destinies free from the confines of wage labor, patriarchal subjugation, and white supremacist marginalization. Wobblies of the world, let’s get to work!

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