Mark Ross, the well-known Wobbly troubador got the festivities started off with stirring renditions of the IWW classics "Union Maid" and "Solidarity Forever" while accompanying himself and the crowd on his boss-terrifying banjo. During the singing a crew of hard-hats at work remodeling the building abandoned by Sacred Heart hospital took a long break and leaned on the guardrail to watch.
The action was taken in solidarity with the IWW members who find themselves jobless after some pretty low double dealing from the bosses at what purports to be a politically progressive feminist bookstore. The workers received termination without notice. Their health benefits, negotiated as part of the union agreement, were also terminated. They should have continued for a year under the existing agreement.
The former worker's co-operative has been undergoing some financial difficulties recently. "The board of directors seems to think that it can fix its money problems by mistreating the people who get the work done,'" said one member of the picket. Others expressed surprise over the conflict between workers and management at a progressive concern. "I guess this should show people that progressive feminist capitalists are still capitalists," said Ben Tyler of Chicago who attended the demonstration after hearing about it from a friend. "I'm glad to see people in Eugene standing together for labor, because it seems to be something people here forget about since it is supposed to be a nice liberal college town."
The four locked out workers presented a list of workers demands including:
- A public apology forom the board of directors of the bookstore for untrue statements made to the media
- The board's immediate resignation and return of the bookstore to a worker's cooperative structure
- Termination compensation as was promised
- Health benefits continued for one-year.
The IWW asks that you contact Mother Kali's Books in Eugene to express your solidarity with these fellow workers. Their phone number is (541) 343-4864, email firstname.lastname@example.org.