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what happened with the transerv strike?

any news?
could someone post an update. no news at the wobs home page.
transerv update 26.Nov.2002 13:41

dystopiamembrane

as far as i know....
i was present the final day of the strike...
at about 2p, the lawyer friend arrived. he had a typed statement
offering an unconditional return to work.
all bike messengers present signed the letter and marched up
to the offices to submit.
the boss received the letter and they returned to the picket
line...soon the strike ended and they went to a bar...
the understanding was that the boss would of course say no..
then they could file for workers benfits, etc.
don't know the response, but given the fact that they
lost much business through inability to perform the tasks and
the fact that the messengers themselves went to clients of transerv
to tell them of unfair business practices..i'm fairly certain
that he said no....
so...that's where it ends...
-dmg, IWW member

who works for transerv now? 26.Nov.2002 23:43

ol' joe h

so who are the messengers that are riding for transerv? Are they wobs? They have new labels on their bags but no IWW patches. I want to know if they are scabs or if they are fellow workers. Should i give em' a thumbs up or scoul? can anyone else offer more info?

The low-down on the Transerv messenger strike 30.Nov.2002 18:09

Wobbly Messenger iu540@iwwpdx.org

After eight days of a well supported and publicized strike it became evident that Transerv management was more willing to drive their business into the ground than deal with its workers on civil terms. After agreeing their point had been made, the messengers offered an unconditional return to work on October 25. Management said they would "assess their needs" and get back to them.

Transerv swallowed its pride and on Sunday hand-delivered letters informing two workers that they could return to work. Three more were permanently replaced and put on a preferred hiring list. The three temps who were brought on in order to break the union (but who struck) were told they were fired on Monday.

Throughout the strike public support and solidarity from the messenger community was amazing. At times 30-50 messengers, many of whom got their start at Transerv, joined the picket line. The picket was largely respectful
and only one of five walking scabs returned for a second day and continued crossing the line after it was explained to them what was happening.

The company had clearly demonstrated its willingness to go to any length, even destroying its income and client base, to smash the union. In the past six months, management had already alienated many clients with the byproducts of their attacks on their workforce. The strike was a desperate final attempt by union members and supporters to compel the company to act rationally and fairly.

Workers are far from broken, and in fact stronger as a result of standing together instead of allowing themselves to be fired one by one. The messengers are actually very relieved to be out of a such an unhealthy working environment, watching maniacal bosses drive a sinking ship. Although it is hard to verify accurately, it is estimated the company lost up to 40% of their business in the week of the strike and continue to lose clients while trying to run a messenger company with inexperienced, incompetent walkers, and the lack of the best dispatcher in town (whose firing prompted the strike.) The company is also still facing outstanding discrimination, harassment and wrongful firing charges, with potentially more to come.

The strength demonstrated during the strike was groundbreaking. Across the industry workers and clients are pulling together providing those who stuck their necks out with work at other companies. Messengers are now talking about worker control, and beginning to assert themselves elsewhere in the industry. More workers have the inspiration to approach their bosses, not to mention with the confidence of knowing a whole industry is backing them up. Workers from as far away as Montreal, where a car recently killed a messenger, have sent their support and regards. Best of all the obstinancy of the bottom feeding monster Transerv has stood as a concrete demonstration
to the other bosses in the industry. One of the shops has informed messengers that they are reconsidering their policy of misclassifying bikers as independent contractors, and taking them back on as employees.(with all the legal protections and benefits this brings).

Bikes at Transerv have been replaced with walkers (apparently the problem isn't the treatment of workers, it's the bicycle sending impulses of independent thought through our seats) so there is no way they could ever
maintain the same level of service. Considering this, as well as the fact that the company sacrificed a huge portion of their business by not responding rationally when the public was made aware of its despicable labor practices, the strike's impact will continue to be felt. Transerv is still experiencing problems resulting from their gross misbehavior, unreasonable choices, and inexperienced and unskilled workers.

Many of the fired workers are also setting up the framework for a collectively run messenger company.

The strike has opened doors that messengers were not even aware of three weeks ago. Rather than be picked off one by one, workers took a stand together. Even as a minority in the workplace, the messengers disabled the company. When the company did not respond, the union alerted the (largely
unaware) public to the appalling conditions of messenger work in Portland, and sent a message to bosses across the industry. This strike shows that even a small group of committed workers have strength. Workers successfully
fought back, without official recognition, and the union has gained a foothold across the industry because of it. The Transerv strike is an example of the power of workers' solidarity and should stand as a springboard for the struggle of messengers and all wage-slaves everywhere.
Our position in this industry is stronger than ever.