IWW General Headquarters, Chicago, IL. May 2, 2016
The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee announces that the Texas prison strikes initiated by IWW members have achieved their desired short-term results and that the first phase of planned long-term strategic strike actions is drawing to an end. The strike actions began on April 4, 2016 and spread to at least a half-dozen locations.
IWW sources within the Texas prison system report that even with lockdowns and other forms of coercion against those who refuse to work as slaves, the strikes have resulted in Texas Department of Criminal Justice authorities now giving more prompt attention to prisoner’s previously ignored grievances. Organizers are now ready to pause and regroup while considering their next move in the struggle for humane treatment. Despite lockdowns and corporate media blackout, an IWW Union member was able to get a strike report outside, stating that “Since this strike action started the prison administration has been much more responsive, and we have had a much easier time getting our grievances addressed.” She shared that the administration just ignored grievance complaints before the strikes began, but now they are addressing them with unprecedented speed. This confirms the power of Union direct action in the form of organization, strikes, and work slow-downs.
The IWW is actively organizing prisoners into the newly formed Incarcerated Workers Industrial Union #613, now the largest prisoner’s union in labor history. Membership is currently free of charge, being underwritten by donations from Union members and other supporters seeking an end to the legal slavery and inhuman conditions of imprisonment. IWW prison organizing is now actively taking place in Germany, the United Kingdom, and across the United States of America. Encouraged by the Texas IWW action, prisoners in Alabama have announced that they will begin a similar strike starting on May 1, 2016. The Alabama action is being organized by the Free Alabama Movement, which includes IWW members in their ranks. The IWOC predicts that as the Union organization grows strikes will become more frequent and more widespread until fundamental change is affected. Visit iww.org, click on IWOC, for more in-depth information.