Monday morning Catch-up

Nothing like a Monday morning to make you feel like you’re starting anew. So, take out your calendars and mark a couple of activities down:

Thursday, October 28, the TC Workers’ Center’s Unemployed & Underemployed Support Group will host special guest speaker Helen Ranck of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Helen will be talking about dealing with financial matters during hard times. The U&U group meets every Thursday in the Workers’ Center from 4:30 — 6:00.

The League of Women Voters asked us to pass along this information: Barbara Bartoletti, an experienced and respected advocate, will talk about influencing legislation in Albany. She will be presenting Making a Difference in Albany Saturday, October 30 from 1:00 — 2:30 in the Borg Warner Room of the Tompkins County Library, 101 East Green Street, Ithaca.

A loyal reader passed along a New York Times link to a Minneapolis unionization effort by workers in a string of JimmyJohn’s sub shops. These workers, like some Starbucks workers in the recent past, have chosen to organize with the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies. As you can see in the article, the IWW is demonized even more than other unions for its non-apologetic belief in radical political change. More traditional unions have not sought to organize fast food workers, thinking the minimum-wage employees are short-term and will not hang around the workplace long enough to keep the union alive once the hard work is done. However, our marketplace is changing. In many cities, people have long careers in workplaces like JimmyJohn’s. Thanks to the IWW for offering support for these workers.

You might be surprised to find out that Helen Keller was a proud member of the IWW. Here’s a reprint of a 1916 New York Tribune article that attempted to show that Keller was a hardcore Wobblie, committed to occupational safety and economic justice. Too bad we continue to see her as only a sweet positive-thinking humanitarian (which,  of course, she also was).