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Unity against white supremacy & the Confederate flag

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Stand Against Racism and White Supremacy!

On Saturday morning, September 5th, supporters of the Confederate Flag – a symbol of white supremacy – will attempt to rally at the State Capitol building. We will be there to confront them.

History has shown that if you give organized racists and fascists an inch they will take a mile. We can’t just ignore them, hoping that they are too dumb or harmless. Organized fascists and white supremacists are weak in Minnesota only because anti-racists and anti-fascists have actively opposed them.

In the wake of the growing movement against racist violence, we must stand united against white-supremacist backlash.
Working-Class people of all nationalities and ethnicities need to unite against White Supremacy.

Please join us at the State Capitol on Saturday, September 5th to say “No!” to the Confederate Flag and “No!” to white supremacy.

-The Twin Cities IWW General Defense Committee

When: Saturday, September 5, at 8:30am
Where: Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

Call for workshop proposals for 4th Annual Social Justice Education Fair

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From Classroom Struggle TC
Dear students, parents and caregivers, educators, and community members,
We are now accepting workshop proposals, due September 4, 2015
We’re looking for quality workshops of all types by students, parents, school staff, educators, after school workers, and community members for this year’s theme *Decolonizing Our Schools: Building Asian, Black, Brown, and Indigenous Power*. Check out our website for more information about the theme and to submit a proposal.
Interested in getting involved in the fair in other ways too?
Sincerely,
The Twin Cities Social Justice Education Fair Organizing Committee

Black Lives Matter (at work)

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In the months since the many protests of Black Lives Matter, there has been a society-wide discussion about the issues BLM has raised. This discussion has happened, most visibly, on television, and the comment sections of news sites or Facebook. But they have also been happening at work. The Organizer asked members of the Twin Cities IWW about what kind of conversations have come up at work, and here are a couple responses.

Aaron, call center worker

Black Lives Matter, but maybe not so much to my weight-lifting, protein-shake consuming coworker. We work together in a call center, and now that we’ve escaped from our busy season, we have a lot of downtime. Most of my conversations with this well-meaning guy, whom I’ll call Andrew, center around sports, particularly the inadequacies of all of Minnesota’s various teams. The day after a grand jury in Missouri failed to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, however, our lighthearted banter took on a decidedly more serious tone.

Andrew is the epitome of a suburban guy: polos and khakis are his fashion, clean shaven and well groomed is his face, and simple are his thoughts. Andrew doesn’t like talking about politics or current events and finds reading the news depressing. So it was very out of the ordinary to hear him talk about something like the Michael Brown case. Predictably, his argument went along the lines of “Michael Brown committed a crime, police have to do their jobs, Michael Brown shouldn’t have run at Darren Wilson, Michael Brown’s race is totally unrelated to this shooting.” I’m a Wobbly in secret at my job, so I tried to keep my arguments about systemic racism and classism to a minimum. Instead, I asked Andrew questions. Would Michael Brown be dead if he were white? Would Darren Wilson have been indicted if he were black?

My asking him questions didn’t radically change his opinion, but he did become noticeably quieter and more contemplative after. The talk of sports dropped off for a time, and he was bringing up the issue of racist policing regularly. I think forcing Andrew to really examine his reaction to the case, to come up with actual reasons for why he supported Wilson and labeled Brown as nothing but a dead criminal, was a small victory. He might be a meathead, but at least he’s one who reconsidering his complacency with a system that so completely devalues the lives of people of color.

Juan, warehouse worker

When the BLM stuff first started getting coverage, especially locally, people in general took a cautious approach conversationally at my work. As the protests became more disruptive, people’s opinions became more obvious. Not a huge surprise, but there were major racial differences when it came to how BLM has been viewed. White coworkers were some of the most vocal and scathing critics, saying a lot of what we’re familiar with by now. More than one of them claimed they would run down protesters in their car if they personally came across them, blocking the street. One of my white coworkers repeated this even though I told him that I and many people I know have been going to the rallies. We got into a pretty heated argument which ended with me threatening to snatch him out of his minivan if I saw him creeping up behind a BLM rally. This may seem harsh, but multiple people have attempted to ram their vehicles through marches here and I think expressing an intent to do so is a death threat.

Although many of my white coworkers were anti-BLM, I was pleasantly surprised by one older guy who is part of my social circle at work. He drives a Harley, lives in a trailer park and used to live a pretty rough life. Assumptions might tell you that he would be the type who is most against a movement like BLM. But to the contrary, he always asked me about the marches and rallies and was excited to hear that people were willing to stand up to police brutality.

My black coworkers have been almost all passively or vocally supportive. They talk about the marches positively and don’t let the disruptive nature of them get in the way of that support, unlike many of the whites. One black coworker even went to the Mall of America rally, and was excited and enthusiastic to tell me about it. He was one of the few people I told about the rallies and marches beforehand, and then described them the next day. Interestingly, he cites my example of attending this stuff as motivation for him volunteering in the search for Barway Collins, a young black kid who had gone missing. I didn’t immediately get the connection, but it does make sense. To him, the BLM movement isn’t just about police brutality, it is about the affirmation of young black lives, no different than volunteering in a community wide effort to locate a missing child. I think this unintentional lesson I learned from my coworker was important and humbling.

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

pGrwmpGwVsoYqMS-800x450-noPad 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. 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”, he reported. “But, the cops almost completely ignored him.” According to the IWW member, 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”, he said. “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.

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