Monday, 13 February 2012

Young Workers United


The last post focused on the output of the Recomposition website and more specifically what is meant by solidarity unionism as practised by the IWW.

Interestingly, as I finished typing that piece I came across news on the site that the Sheffield local of the IWW has unionised a branch of Pizza Hut. This is very interesting news given the new inpenetrability of the fast food sector in the UK. What is it that the IWW has that UK trade unions do not - I think many of us could hazard a guess?

Hot on the heels of this development came contact from a colleague at the Labor Studies centre at Univ. Coll. Berkeley in the US.

In an innovative partnership with a fledgling youth-based labour organisation the Center had helped to create a video-based course 'Eye's on the Fries'. More details of the course are here:

The group, Young Workers United, are based predominantly in California and monitor the activity of the fast food and restaurant sector. One of the interesting areas of activity is a booklet that YWU produces rating a wide range of local eateries based on social justice factors and carrying (or not) a quote from an employee.

The activity of the group ( is well worth reviewing, and you can donate online.

Whilst the hard work of the UK trade union movement needs to be applauded in maintaining a vigorous approach to engaging with and organising young workers, something radical is missing in its approach.

Part of the answers lays outside of the UK and can be seen, as discussed in prior posts, in countries in Latin America and the US.

A significant answer to the conundrum is relatively simple, or not in the case of the UK, in that youth-based labour movements are organised by young workers for young workers and is able to resist an inherent bureacracy which manifestly hinders and plagues Western trade unionism.

In addition, these movements appear able to appear and grow in the face of austerity and in sectors where any form of worker organisation is prone to attack. On that basis these developments need our support and are worthy of monitoring for evidence of what works and what can be transferred.

Any comments on this post are very welcome.

In Solidarity.


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