IWW Events in Bellingham

Cold MillionsHave you read the novel Cold Millions by Jess Walter? It is set in Spokane during the 1909 IWW Free Speech fight. The book is the Whatcom County Library’s selection for this winter. It is a national bestseller and:

“A Best Book of the Year: Bloomberg | Boston Globe | Chicago Public Library Chicago Tribune Esquire | Kirkus New York Public Library | New York Times Book Review (Historical Fiction) | NPR’s Fresh Air O Magazine | Washington Post | Publishers Weekly | Seattle Times | USA Today 

A Library Reads Pick | An Indie Next Pick”

Check out these events! Because the book deals extensively with the IWW, a number of events IWW-related events are coming up around here:

February 15- an IWW member from Bellingham presents ‘The IWW Today’ at Village Books. You have to register [Free] to attend. As a counterpoint to all the historical stuff brought up in the book, this talk will explain how the IWW works in North America and elsewhere today, with examples of some of our union campaigns. We’ll have a literature table.
February 25th- Songs of Protest– in Deming. https://www.whatcomreads.org/event/songs-of-protest-with-jimmy-brite/  sung by Jimmy Brite from Glacier.
March 2- A live on-stage interview with Jess Walter for Chuckanut Radio Hour. Interviewer is Dave Tucker, secretary of the Whatcom-Skagit IWW branch. Questions about the writing of the book. Should be fun. You must RESERVE A SEAT- $5!

https://www.villagebooks.com/event/litlive-crh-jess-walter-030223

March 3- Jess Walter discusses his book at the Mount Baker Theater. No registration, just show up. https://www.whatcomreads.org/event/an-evening-with-jess-walter/
STAY IN THE LOOP! You may be interested in upcoming events about the IWW. If you would like to be on our ‘solidarity alert’ email list write us at bellingham@iww.org and we will add you. We send notices about local strikes and picket lines, events like the above.

Contribute to the IWW Monument in Centralia, WA

Friends and Fellow Workers!

Centralia Gofundme title image 2023-01-19

Contribute to our GoFundMe here:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/centralia-iww-monument-fund

The IWW is purchasing and installing a monument in Centralia, Washington to commemorate and honor the Wobblies who died or were imprisoned following the ‘Centralia Tragedy’ of November 11, 1919. On that day, the IWW union hall was attacked for the second time by a mob of American Legion men acting on behalf of the city’s business interests. Armed union members defended their hall. Four legionnaires were killed, a Wob, Wesley Everest, was lynched, and nine others went to prison after a sham trial that is widely regarded as a severe miscarriage of justice. Since 1919 the Tragedy’s history has been falsely told by the aggressors, who purchased their monument in Washington Park shortly after the Tragedy. After years of effort, the Centralia City Council has agreed to the IWW monument design. It will be in the park next to the Legion’s. All expenses are on the IWW. Help us purchase the 2×3′ bronze plaque, mounted on a boulder, and get it installed. The Whatcom-Skagit General Membership Branch of the IWW in Bellingham, Washington will hold the funds.

 If you would rather make a contribution by check, donations can be made to order of ‘IWW Monument fund’ and mailed to:

Whatcom-Skagit Branch, IWW
Box 192
Bellingham, WA 98227

Thanks,
IWW Centralia Committee

Starbucks Workers United Strike in Bellingham

Shuts down three stores all weekend

Union workers at Bellingham Starbucks stores at Sehome Village, Cordata, and Iowa & King struck all weekend, and kept the three stores closed. Pickets from other organizations, including IWW of course, showed up to add to the picket line. Starbucks corporate made no effort to open the stores.

The strike was a nationwide protest by Starbucks Workers United to protest continued corporate shutdown of union storesacross the country. Over 1000 Starbucks workers [I’m sorry just can’t call them ‘partners’ anymore] at 100 stores participated in the strike.

So far, Starbucks management has made no good faith attempt to bargain with the union. So much for ‘progressive’ business. Capitalism is just that; you can’t successfully window dress it because it is by its nature exploitative.

IWW CENTRALIA MONUMENT FUND

Friends and fellow workers,
The campaign to raise funds for the MONUMENT TO THE IWW VICTIMS OF THE 1919 CENTRALIA TRAGEDY is underway.

Please contribute here.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/centralia-iww-monument-fund

An ad hoc committee of Wobblies from around the Northwest are working to raise funds for an IWW monument in Centralia Washington. We want to tell our side of the story- that many union members were victims of this tragic confrontation. After years of effort by a local Wob, the town’s City Council voted in October to permit our design. We will be responsible for all expenses, including installation of the monument. The Whatcom-Skagit IWW Branch has agreed to hold the funds until we raise enough to purchase the 2×3 foot bronze plaque. It will most likely be mounted on a boulder we will have to purchase and transport to the park.

The ‘Centralia Committee’ will periodically report on the progress of this project.
The IWW monument will be right beside the statue memorializing the American Legion put up in the early 1920s called The Sentinel. [check the link, its instructive]. The Legion is the outfit who attacked the union hall as proxies for the city’s employing class.

WWU STUDENT WORKERS FORM A UNION

Students employed by Western Washington University have formed a new union, unionized as Western Academic Workers United, affiliated with the United Auto Workers. A large majority of graduate and undergraduate student employees who do research or instructional work filed for union recognition on December 2 with the Washington Public Employment Relations Commission. The Union hopes there will voluntary recognition by the powers that be, rather than forcing the unnecessary delay of an NLRB election.

Learn more at the WAWU website: https://www.wawu-union.org/

Members will not pay union dues until a contract is negotiated.

The Whatcom-Skagit IWW sent solidarity greetings, and will be there in solidarity if and when called upon. We have a number of WWU student members of our union.

Sehome Starbucks votes UNION- YES!

Baristas at the Starbucks in Sehome Village just voted to join Starbucks Workers United. The vote was 15-6. A small group of Starbucks workers from the three union stores as well as some Wobblies milled around outside waiting for the for the vote tally, which was announced at 6:25 PM.

Three down, two stores to go. Will they unionize too?

Congratulations to Bellingham’s newest Union Shop, and Solidarity forever!

Wobblies hold Everett Massacre commemoration on November 5th

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West end of Hewitt Avenue, Everett, Washington. November 5th, 2022.

Several Fellow Workers from our branch traveled to Everett last Saturday to commemorate the November 5, 1916 EVERETT MASSACRE. We gathered with Wobs from Everett and Tacoma on the old brick pavement under the railroad trestle at the foot of Hewitt Avenue to tie 12 wreaths to the chain link fence. The wreaths are in memory of twelve IWW members murdered by a posse of drunken deputies and Snohomish County Commercial Club goons on a dock a couple hundred yards away. To learn more about Bloody Sunday, the Everett Massacre, check out the story just published in the IWW’s official publication, Industrial Worker. Wobs gather for this commemoration pretty much annually.

Sunday was a clear but chilly breezy day. We hung up the wreaths and sang some Union songs from the IWW’s ‘Little Red Songbook’. A young fellow read the poem written for the funeral of our murdered comrades back in 1916- ‘November Fifth’ by Charles Ashleigh.

Grace 1 Everett crop
IWWs killed on Nov 5, 1916- Fellow Workers Hugo Gerlat, Felix Baran, William Colman, Fred Berger, Charles Taylor, John Looney, Gustav Johnson, Tom Ellis, Abraham Rabinowitz, Peter Viberts, Edward Raymond, and a Wobbly unnamed. Farewell, Fellow Workers.

Everett, November Fifth

by Charles Ashleigh

(“…and then the Fellow Worker died, singing ‘Hold the Fort’…”– From the court testimony of an eyewitness, referring to the murder of FW Hugo gerlot.)

Song on his lips, he came;

Song on his lips, he went:–

This be the token we bear of him, —

Soldier of Discontent!

Out of the dark they came; out of the night

Of poverty and injury and woe,–

With flaming hope, their vision thrilled to light,–

Song on their lips, and every heart aglow;

They came, that none should trample Labor’s right

To speak, and voice her centuries of pain.

Bare hands against the master’s armored might!–

A dream to match the tools of sordid gain!

And then the decks went red; and the grey sea

Was written crimsonly with ebbing life.

The barricade spewed shots and mockery

and curses, and the drunken lust of strife.

Yet, the mad chorus from that devil’s host,–

Yea, all the tumult of that butcher throng,–

Compound of bullets, booze and coward boast,–

Could not out-shriek one dying worker’s song!

Song on his lips, he came;

Song on his lips, he went:–

This be the token we bear of him, —

Soldier of Discontent

we-never-forget-blood-sunday-image-rsz

‘Drive-by Soapboxes’ by the IWW in Bellingham

Whatcom-Skagit IWWs have been standing along busy streets at rush hour to promote the union idea, and the IWW’s brand specifically. We have been along Lakeway, Holly and James. We get lots of waves and honks and ‘solidarity fists’. Sure, a few fingers too, but not very many. People stop to talk to us; we have leaflets they can take with them. Keep an eye out for us on a street near you and wave and stop by to say hello.