Workers Gather for 2022 IWW Organizing Summit

Workers Gather for 2022 IWW Organizing Summit

2022 NARA Organizing Summit Report

On October 1-2, the Organizing Department Board (ODB) held the 2022 North American Regional Administration (NARA) IWW organizing summit in Chicago. Fellow Workers came from across the Union to share their experiences and expertise in every aspect of workplace organizing. We discussed challenges and hurdles, shared new ideas and approaches, and built solidarity across industries, branches, and borders. 

Workers discussed organizing in large and small workshops that focused on issues like improving our one-on-ones, the challenges of adapting our organizing model to online spaces, and how to approach committee work like handling grievances. Small sessions allowed more conversation on topics including organizing industries without a traditional shop structure like gig work, high-risk workplaces with dangerous COVID exposure rates, grant-funded workplaces and non-profit organizing, and the unique barriers to building solidarity in tipped workplaces.

The ODB presented some very informative sessions like an analysis of lead intakes and follow-ups presented by the Survey and Research Committee (SRC). We heard about ways to build a branch memory by creating an archive of member interviews. One of the most lively discussions came in a presentation on how we develop and use External Organizers in campaigns, and how the Union and each branch can build up our external organizer program.

What was the best part of the summit? Our Fellow Workers. As another FW and veteran organizer wrote: 

When you’ve “seen it all” what is there to be excited about? Our organizers. I am so happy to say they have inspired me. I am happy to say that I met organizers far better than I am, younger than I am, newer than I am, who I want to learn from and this event gave me the opportunity to take some of their wisdom with me. [Interwob

For my own part, it was an amazing experience that showed how strong Solidarity Unionism really can be. While our victories are not as public as the headlines we see from other campaigns, we got to share, discuss, and unpack stories of big and small wins from campaigns across the Union. Everyone at the summit had taken the Organizer Training 101 and had experience in organizing campaigns, so we all came with questions and everyone helped offer answers.

We all know that An Injury to One is an Injury to All, but the flip side to that is every win for one is a win for all, and every question one worker has finds an answer that helps us all. 

What’s the next step for every one of us? Organize!

Sign up for an Organizer Training. If you’ve already done the OT-101, start a campaign or contact the ODL to ask about working as an External Organizer. If you’ve taken the OT-101, sign up for the OT-102. If you’ve got some campaign experience, help the work along as an external observer for another campaign.

The NARA Organizing Summit is presented every two years. Ideally, during the off years we have the chance to organize regional Organizing Summits. 

How does a 2023 Cleveland Great Lakes/Rustbelt Organizing Summit sound?

Wobbly depicted leading an IWW organizing summit

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