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Worker’s Organizing Committee

There were many late night meetings, often on Friday night.  This was the time when most employees could attend, when the store was closed or staffing was low.  We met on East Burnside on 9th or 10th in a building that was being renovated.  It was a neutral site.  The meeting place was provided by the Workers Organizing Committee.  I don’t remember if there was a rent charge for our use there. 

These late evening meetings were where the detailed organizing work was done.  This was where we identified supporters, no votes, and those who had not been identified or contacted.  We had large white paper organizing charts detailing where people worked at different stores.  We worked to identify, who could contact, in the next week, that person who was neither a supporter or a known no vote. The organizing charts were then updated and new assignments were given to people.  We had a rating system to identify supporters, undecided and those who opposed forming a union. The meetings began after 8 or 9 p.m. and sometimes lasted until mid-night.  

These meetings had an agenda; a discussion of current issues, then a question and answer period.  Afterwards, the organizing committee members spoke about their conversations and what they were hearing from co-workers since the last meeting.  Authorization cards, the cards used to request a Union election were collected at the meeting.  

Here we also often talk about the next newsletter and what it should contain.  What were the current questions people were hearing?  What issues we needed to address?  And then, how best to get the newsletter distributed to the different stores and into the employee’s hands? There was also training and role plays on how to engage employees who were potential supporters.  The charts were updated each time we met along with a count of the authorization cards, calling for a vote.  These meetings and this work proceeded for months through the winter.