Industrial Workers of the World
What We Are:
The IWW is a directly democratic union led by its members. That means we, the workers, make all decisions and have the final say.
We are organized industrially, rather than by trades, and use a solidarity unionism model.
We are versatile and use a wide range of tactics to achieve our goals. Instead of relying on contracts and labour board elections, we use direct action and solidarity to win better conditions and defend union members.
Our structure is horizontal, and all union officers are recallable and accountable.
Our union is open to all workers regardless of their employment status. A worker is someone without the power to hire or fire.
What We Are Not:
The IWW is not involved or affiliated with any political party or group.
Our union is not run by high-salary union bosses or bureaucrats who make decisions on your behalf.
We are not stifled by union bureaucracy or top-down leadership.
To learn more:
Check out “The One Big Union” pamphlet (https://www.iww.org/resources/one-big-union.pdf)
About the Toronto IWW
The Toronto IWW is a union open to any worker from all industries in the Greater Toronto Area. Our members work in many industries including education, transportation, social work, restaurants, tech, retail, health care, construction, and media. The IWW was founded in 1905 as an answer to the limitations and failures of mainstream unions.
How is the IWW different from almost every other union today?
We Are Member Run and Democratic
The IWW is organized “horizontally,” led and run by the members themselves. There is no union president and there are no bosses. All branch officers are unpaid volunteers, elected and recallable by the members. Every member of the IWW has a say and a vote on any decision that affects them.
We Practice Solidarity Unionism
Our power as workers comes from standing and fighting together in solidarity. Most other unions rely on legal frameworks that are stacked against workers. Instead, we keep the fight on the shop floor through direct action. We believe that a worker controlled union is the way to winning better conditions and workplace democracy.
We Organize Across Industries
Our aim is to organize every worker in any given workplace into a single union. We don’t divide workers into different unions based on job description or craft. This wall-to-wall organizing strategy gives us the most leverage to win our demands. It allows us to support each other across industries and protects us from being pitted against each other by our bosses.
We Don’t Rely On Contract Negotiations to Win
Direct action is at the heart of our organizing model. We don’t rely on labour contracts to win demands. If workers ever decide the legal route is best for them, we will support them to win the best contract possible. However, a contract is only as strong as a union’s ability to enforce it. Our focus will always be on building worker solidarity, capacity and organizing skills.
We Know Every Worker is Worth Organizing
We practice Solidarity Unionism which is direct, democratic, and caring. Other unions are run like a business. They rely on lawyers and staff to provide a service, who often make more than the workers they represent. These unions need to consider the return on investment whenever workers want to improve their working conditions. That expense is no guarantee of a win at all, and it also means that smaller shops and lower paid workers are often left behind. We do it because we care. We want to share our experience, teach you skills and show you how to win.
Organize With Us
If you’re in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and want to organize at your job, fill out our Organizing Intake Form. Outside of the Greater Toronto Area? Contact the IWW Organizing Department Board here.
Toronto Station P
PO Box 45
Toronto, ON M5S 2S6