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SEATTLE ACORN WORKERS STRIKE!

Field Organizers Organize with IWW, Public Interest Workers IU 670, Seattle WA, USA

Media Please Contact: 206-227-4525

1) Press Release
2) How you can help
3) Post first-day-strike update
4) Article by striking worker
5) IWW Contact Info

1) Seattle Office shut down Monday morning after employer refuses to recognize union.

(Seattle)-Workers At Seattle ACORN went on strike this morning, after nearly all of the employees asked management for union recognition with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and head organizer Doug Bloch refused to recognize the union.

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is a progressive community organization that promotes labor rights, and locally they have been working on access to utility assistance for low income people, tenants' rights, and other neighborhood issues. Recently, ACORN workers and members demanded expanded utility assistance programs from mayor Paul Schell at his State of the City address last month.

Workers organized a union in the IWW, in response to unpaid overtime, late or short paychecks, no breaks, and a lack of safety and sexual harassment policies. "Everyday as organizers we go out into neighborhoods and get people to organize to demand better living and working conditions, and when we tried to do that in our own office we were denied that right. It's hypocrisy", says Alexa Gilbert, one of the striking workers.

ACORN workers are asking for 40 hour weeks, that all earned wages are paid in full and on time, that break time is allowed in conformance to Washington State law, and other safety and harassment policies.

After meeting with Bloch at the ACORN office in Burien, workers saw the need to strike, walked out with 25 supporters, and began their picket line.

2) How you can help: Keep the phone and fax going off the hook:

Tell then your first and last name, what organization you are from (union local, community organization) and that ACORN needs to recognize the union and honor the demands of their workers in Seattle:

Doug Bloch, Head Organizer and manager:
206-354-4313

Seattle ACORN office:
206-723-5845 e-mail: waacom@acorn.org
fax 723-8658

ACORN National:
504-943-0044, fax 504-943-3842

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3) Update: Workers continued to strike the employer, after asking for union recognition a second time. Members of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters, Ironworkers local 86, and Boilermakers asked the boss to recognize the union, and voiced their support to the striking workers. IWW members in Seattle continue to mobilize members to join the picket, and ACORN members have expressed support for the union, by participating in the job actions and walking the picket line. As of 1pm, 100% of the workers are on strike!

Regular pickets are being held at the office site from 11am to 5pm at:

134 SW 153rd St. Suite D Burien, WA 98166
(Directions from Seattle: Take Hwy 99 south to Hwy 509, take the Burien Exit, take left on 1st Ave S, turn right on SW 153rd St.)

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4) Article by striking worker

On our Demands....

Here at the Seattle ACORN, organizers feel over-worked, unhealthy and tired. Why? We work too many hours. Why are we working a 54 hour week with no overtime pay?! No wonder we get sick more often then we ever have before. We don't have enough time to spend with family, partners, and friends or time for any activities that are not work related. More than that, our low-energy level undermines our ability to work hard organizing in the neighborhoods and community.

After organizing a union through the IWW, we have drafted several demands for our head organizer, Doug Bloch. We are demanding a 40 hour work week, with flex time. We are demanding that our pay checks be on time and be paid in full. We are demanding that when ACORN hires new staff they must inform the prospective workers of staff quotas, the canvass and fundraising schedule and how "raising your own salary" works before the prospective worker in hired. We are demanding that the health insurance benefit be activated on time. We are demanding that there is absolutely no tolerance of sexual harassment, and that there is a statement of employees rights and responsibilities posted in the office. We are demanding that no one get fired for unionizing. We are demanding that a new safety policy be drafted that a) allows workers to work in pairs if they feel the need to and b) creates a clear policy of response to harassment incidents that occur in the field.

ACORN publicly fights for fair labor practices and a living wage. It is time it recognized these rights for its own workers. By demanding recognition of the union, we are doing for ourselves what we do for ACORN members everyday. We are willing to strike to make our voice heard. As a "social justice" organization, ACORN should respond by allowing a unionized workplace.

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6) Contact the IWW in Seattle at:

5215 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle WA 98107
206-706-6250, or e-mail bp172@scn.org
Media Please Contact: 206-227-4525

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