Traits of a Good Wobbly

A good wobbly….

…is consistently on time to meetings, work sessions, trainings, and events. Attending meetings and work sessions provides YOU with an opportunity to influence decisionmaking, present ideas, learn new things, and air any grievances you may have, and it benefits the union when you share your opinions, knowledge, and skills. When a Wobbly is on time, they convey that they respect their Fellow Workers’ time and efforts, and showing respect is a key to building any organization.

…speaks up when they have something to share. Now that you’re attending IWW events on time you should share your perspective, ideas, and voice with your Fellow Workers. Your input matters! If you have something to add, think something should be changed, or just flat-out disagree with something, let people know! New ideas and talents are always welcome, so if you are looking for a way to get started with being active in the union, this is a great launchpad.

…respects meeting process. It’s important to have structured meetings. A meeting where everyone respects Rusty’s Rules of Order will almost always be much shorter and more productive than a disorderly one. Keeping the union efficient will free up everyone’s time to accomplish tasks and to spend time with friends and family. Familiarize yourself with the process and ask for assistance when you find it confusing. Everyone being on the same page makes it so the union can carry a Wobbly’s contribution further together than anyone could alone.

…stays connected with their fellow workers. A good wobbly’s participation in the IWW doesn’t stop when they leave a meeting or event. Get on the lists, get peoples’ phone numbers, make connections on social media, just don’t be a stranger! Staying connected provides you with the support network you need to organize successfully and gives you access to a great new group of comrades and friends. Be sure to keep your fellow workers up to date on your organizing, participate in online discussions, check for events, actions, and calls for support, and let your fellow workers know how to help you move your projects forward or to get more involved in local activities

…stays up-to-date on the union as a whole. At any given time, there is a LOT going on in the IWW. Wobblies publish articles, circulate news stories, share artwork, and host events. Since you’re already staying connected with your Fellow Workers a lot of this information will find you with ease. Keeping in-the-loop with Wobblies isn’t hard, so take advantage of our myriad of platforms for inter-wobbly communication! Join your local e-mail list as well as any other listservs which interest you, read your GOB and Industrial Worker, write your own articles, and discuss union activity on our various facebook pages and groups. Staying informed will allow you to help projects and campaigns outside of your branch, tell potential members about IWW projects and campaigns relevant to their interests, and connect with fellow workers across the globe in your industry or who share your background or goals. Above all, staying informed will allow you to learn from the successes and failures of past campaigns and equip you with the most up-to-date information on how to successfully organize your workplace and community.

 volunteers to join committees, work on projects, attend work sessions, and help the work along. If a new committee interests you, volunteer to join; if a standing committee is doing work you want to be a part of, attend its meetings. If you have a special skill or unique area of expertise, find a way to incorporate your unique abilities and knowledge into Wobbly work! Make sure not to over-burden yourself by signing on for too much work at once; Good revolutionary discipline means getting enough rest to prevent burnout and to stay productive for the long-run.

…pays their dues and assessments. The IWW is an anti-capitalist organization that exists in a capitalist world. This makes financial support important to the union’s operation. We know you’ve worked hard for this money, which is part of the reason we’ve always had the lowest dues of any union. Staying in good standing ensures your ability to vote at meetings, bring proposals to the table, vote in the union-wide referendum, become a delegate, be elected to officer positions in the branch and larger union, be elected to participate in union-wide committees and departments, and to take full advantage of the IWW’s democratic, rank-and-file decision making throughout its structure. Furthermore, because the IWW is member-funded, it is accountable to, and only to, its membership, rather than to outside sources of funding which can control, and corrupt organizations which are dependant upon them.

spreads the word about the one big union. The IWW is a union for all workers. Everyone (who doesn’t support the oppression of the working class) is welcome! Talk to friends, family, classmates and coworkers about what you do with the IWW and why its success matters to you and to the working class as a whole. Get people involved whenever possible by bringing your existing networks out to events they may be interested in. The diversity of what this union does is dependent on the diversity of the people involved, and it’s up to fellow workers like you to spread the word and ensure that the IWW stays as diverse, active, and revolutionary as possible.

…prioritizes organizing over pride, pandering, or politics. Nobody here is running for political office; it’s against our constitution! The environment at IWW functions should always be a respectful one, even when disagreements arise. Argue with facts as well as feelings, but argue the topic and not the person. Disagreement is healthy and, in most cases, encouraged, however allowing that to become a personal grudge isn’t a good habit to get into. A Wobbly keeps in mind that we are a union of workers organizing workplaces and won’t let a personal discrepancy hinder that. In the same way, Wobblies shouldn’t promote cliques or a party-line policy that would exclude Fellow Workers from helping the work along, inside or outside the IWW. Political debates can be fun, but they shouldn’t be a part of IWW work unless they are directly relevant to the organizing at hand. When running for an elected position within the union, be sure to focus on showing your fellow workers what makes you a good candidate rather than disparaging others, spreading rumors, or making the election a popularity contest.

practices mutual aid. Wobblies from across the world support organizing efforts and fellow workers in need however they can. It’s common practice to organize a carpool to drive to an out-of-state picket, phone and fax employers who are fighting our fellow workers’ efforts, and to donate time, services, and/or money to organizing and strike funds when needed. Mutual aid means getting help when you need it as well as giving it when you can, so expect your fellow workers to help however they can if you ever find yourself punished for organizing or carrying out a large action a your workplace.

….organizes where they stand.  Wobblies take their organizing with them wherever they go and should always work towards organizing at their own workplace. When Wobblies are out of work or looking for extra work they should join fellow workers in existing organizing efforts by salting into those campaigns.


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