On April 20th, 25 people from across the Occupy spectrum and other supporters came together at Judson Church for a one day training in workplace organizing. Facilitated by Occupy Your Workplace members and the Industrial Workers of the World, this training focused on the strategy and tactics of worker-directed organizing on the job to build power and improve working conditions.
The training covered all the stages of an organizing campaign such as gathering contacts and mapping the workplace to understanding the social dynamics at work, and the building of an organizing committee and taking action. Participants worked on their organizing skills by conducting one-on-one conversations that covered the concepts of AEIOU - Agitation (uncovering workers’ grievances) to Education (the possibility of collective effort) to Inoculation (anticipating the employer’s response). The training concluded with a discussion of the final steps, Organizing (bringing more workers into the collective effort) and Unionizing (declaring the workers’ union and bringing the demands to the boss).
The trainers illustrated all the organizing steps with real examples and anecdotes throughout the discussion. Special emphasis was given throughout on the need for workers to assume responsibility for their own solutions for workplace problems, and that organizing can occur with or without an official union’s support. Whatever form workers take in organizing their workplace, it’s essential they play a leadership role themselves and always strive to create more skilled and confident organizers.