How did you become an organizer? Are you a grassroots organizer, or a paid staffer?
I've been a grassroots organizer within Starbucks with the Industrial Workers of the world since October 2008. I began organizing because I've always strongly believed in the power and right of an organized workforce. I began organizing specifically with the IWW after outreaching first to the Afl-CIO and finding little to no interest in organizing the high turnover service industry, and learning that the IWW had been helping workers organize at starbucks since 2004. In August of 2010 myself and several coworkers took our local organizing drive at starbucks public, since going public, and after a 5 month smear campaign by starbucks, I was terminated from my employment. I still continue to organize at starbucks, as well as being actively involved in several other campaigns under the Nebraska IWW.
Since losing my job at starbucks, which I am fighting through the NLRB, I have found it difficult to find new employment, as I'm sure is the case with many due to the current state of the economy. I also believe this is partly due to how public of a presence I was with our organizing drive at starbucks. I've even been openly recognized and called out as a union organizer during job interviews. In light of this, I have begun applying for organizer in training positions with some of the larger Unions out there, AFSCME, Unite Here, SEIU, ect.
So I would like to know how you became an organizer? What campaigns have you worked on, with what organizations, and what advice might you give to someone looking to have a go of making a career of it?