A few days ago I celebrated my 82nd birthday. Today I am
speaking about one of the groups I am proud to be a part of
and that will shortly celebrate its 102nd year. This group
about to turn 102 is called the IWW, or better known as the
Industrial Workers of the World. Wobblies for short.
The IWW was formed back in 1905 and is the true
defender of union solidarity. Today we can thank this
group, for representing the spirit of the US labors movementís
best contributions to society. For example, the
brave folks of the IWW fought hard and won the eighthour
workday. Unique to this group was the willingness to
organize women and minorities…..All workers.
The credo was and still is: An injury to one is an
injury to all
The Wobblies were willing to be involved in direct
action and defend fellow workers, and to impede the business
of abusive companies as necessary. Throughout history,
from its origin in the early 1900s through a resurgence
in the 1960s and continuing into the year 2007, the IWW
has always been innovative and resilient.
I am thankful to be a member of the newly reemerging
IWW. One Big Union. Thankful and hopeful that the gains
made by labor in the past such as the 5 day work-week,
the eight-hour day, child labor laws, and the ability to form
a union remain important today. Some see Unions as bad
for business, but based on my years of Union membership
and leadership I know the importance of solidarity, boycotts,
direct action and strikes to make gains for the workers
and their families.
The IWW is as vital to democracy today as it was 102
years ago. At 82 I am hopeful that the younger members of
the labor movement will continue to make progress as we
did at the beginning many years ago!
To let you know who we are and what we are about the
IWW has a presence at Urbana Farmerís Market. Come by
and say hi and find out how important a labor organization
can be to preserving and securing fair wages, job security
and health care benefits for its members. In todayís
society, with an ever-shrinking middle class, the IWW may
be our best hope.
We are proud to have a branch of the IWW right here in
our own community: The Central Illinois General Membership
Branch of the IWW meets every second Saturday
of each month, at 1pm, in the Family Room of the Independent
Media Center inside the old Urbana Post Office.
(Entrance on Elm Street).
Remember our credo: An injury to one is an injury to
all. Let us stand together and stop the exploitation of
working people! Visit us this Saturday at Urbana Farmerís
Market and find out why we continue to proudly say “Solidarity
The preceding commentary was heard on public broadcasting
station, WILL-AM 580, during “The Public
Square,” a weekly 3-minute opinion piece from any member
of the community on any subject of interest to him/her.
“The Public Square” airs at 4:45 pm and 6:45 pm Fridays.
Commentaries are archived on WILL’s website. To submit
a commentary of your own for broadcast, visit