The past few months have laid bare a reality that all too many knew all too well. Confronted with a deepening crisis and a threat to profit, the bosses have kicked into overdrive their exploitation of a working class that has had nearly every last drop of profit wrung from it already. The bosses have taken the opportunity to increase the intensity of labor, laying off so many workers, and increasing the pace of productivity for the few who remain. They failed to provide protective equipment and implement safety protocols. And they not only won’t implement hazard pay for those who need to remain on the job to keep us all safe and fed, but they turn around and gouge us on prices of the goods we produced, stocked, and sold just hours before.
This deepening of austerity and heightening of exploitation hasn’t gone unnoticed by us, and it also hasn’t gone unchallenged. In ever increasing numbers, workers in all sectors have begun to see the power in collective action, and have begun to wield that power against the boss for better wages, safety measures, and hiring practices. By all accounts, when we step up and organize collectively, we win back what the boss has tried to take away, and then some.
Despite still increasing coronavirus cases, and a complete lack of adequate response by our government to provide the services we need to contain the pandemic, we’ve begun to head back to work. But we aren’t returning as we were when we left – we know now that we can organize to win, that we can shut down our workplace to fight just not for our own interests, but in the interest of the entire working class.
To support this return, DSA SF has produced a handful of zines that we think will be helpful to you and your co-workers as you start to organize on the job:
Why do we need a union?
The core of a union is nothing more than a means to take power from the boss and put it in our hands – the hands that make the company run, not profit off it. This zine will give an overview of what you’re fighting for as workers when we seek to unionize, what we’re up against from the boss, and what we stand to win if we succeed in forming a union.
Know your rights organizing in the workplace
Capital and the state have relentlessly worked to dismantle the rights you have as a worker to organize at your job, but they haven’t yet succeeded in removing all protections previous generations of workers have fought for. This zine will lay out exactly what you can do and say when organizing a union, what your boss can’t do to try and stop you, and what to do about it if something happens.
How do I talk to my coworkers about unionizing?
Building trust, sharing common experiences, and agitating against the boss are all essential skills in organizing your workplace, and there are few ways to do it better than having 1:1 conversations with other workers. This zine will orient you on how best to approach difficult organizing conversations and build power collectively through the 1:1.
5 Steps to Underground Organizing
The process of organizing a union isn’t complicated, but it is hard work. This zine will guide you through all the steps of organizing your workplace. You’ll learn to make a list of your workplace, build your organizing committee, do soft and hard assessments, and finally, go public and take your fight to the boss.
If you’re thinking of organizing your workplace, you might have to take the first step on your own. We know it can be daunting to have that first 1:1 conversation, to openly oppose your boss for others to see, or to begin the work of mapping out your workplace. But remember you’re not alone – you’re not fighting merely for your own benefit, but for the collective empowerment of every worker at your job. Every worker has something they’ll fight the boss for, and if you help each of them realize it, they’ll fight for the union side by side with you.
DSA SF is here to help too. We’ve helped other workplaces build organizing committees, like Anchor Brewing and Tartine, and run solidarity campaigns alongside organizing drives to help workers get the goods. Whether you’re looking for help overcoming an organizing obstacle, a venue to share your organizing experience with, or a place to bring your organizing skills to more workplaces, we’re here to make that all happen. You can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Solidarity forever.