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Van Isle Wobs travel to Edmonton for Organizing Summit

June 6, 2011

On Thursday May 26 a committee of organizers and members from the Vancouver Island General Membership Branch took off on a road trip to Edmonton, Alberta, to attend the annual IWW Organizing summit. This year’s summit coincided with the chartering of the Canada Regional Organizing Committee (CanROC) and there was excitement and discussion about the opportunities open for cross-Canada organizing now that we have a more localized organizing setup.

Upon arriving in Edmonton early Friday morning the members found their billets and slept off the drive before attending a casual social at the Playhouse, a local anarchist community centre, where beers & battle stories were shared over a fire in the backyard as the sun went down. IWW members from as far as Regina were in attendance.

Saturday commenced at 10:30 am with introductions & a timeline for the discussions and roundtables that were planned for the next two days. There was time for sharing our successes & failures and we had time to learn about what the IWW is up to across Canada. Lunch was provided by members of the Edmonton GMB and was followed by discussions of organizing strategy. After a long day of interesting discussion, a barbeque dinner/party was held and even more Wobblies showed up (some had been unable to attend the conference due to work or time constraints but were able to make it in the evening for the dinner). A short acoustic set by one of our musically inclined Wobs was followed by good eats & great conversation.There was a great mix of folks at the party and we only suffered one injury from an overzealous knife.

The next day and seven stitches later, the Wobblies were back in the classroom (the summit was held in the U of A campus) and mostly ready to get back into the circle discussions. Topics of the day included: regional organizing strategy, considerations about organizing students & student workers, discussions on specific campaigns and updates on Canadian labour laws (especially a recent court decision suggesting that non-certified unions require bargaining in good faith). The meeting was wrapped up by 4pm and the wobs scattered around Edmonton with their hosts to get into some trouble before they had to return.

Early on Monday morning the ragged crew from Vancouver Island packed back into their ride and made a speedy return back to the coast. They were able to catch the evening ferry back to the island. The crew was happy to have had such a great road trip but were happier still to see the ocean and to get to sleep in their own beds that night.

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