Workers in the first IKEA / Swedwood factory in Danville recently filed for union elections after witnessing unsafe workplace conditions, low wages, forced overtime, and various other violations.


July 27, 2011 – Danville, Virginia: Swedwood Workers Vote Union YES!

[ ]


Dear Fellow Workers of the IKEA/Swedwood Factory in Danville, Virginia,

The Richmond, Virginia General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) would like to offer our solidarity and support for your recent decision to seek union representation with the Wood Workers Division of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers.

The State of Virginia has a long history of attracting companies that count on weak labor laws, which without a union can leave workers vulnerable to exploitation. This is why, more than ever, it is important to encourage workers in all industries to unite in class struggle. With an organized working class we can build a labor movement that successfully demands dignity and respect, not only at our respective workplaces, but also in our communities.

Every time we organize and form a union, the power of the working class is magnified.  It will be through education and organization followed by direct action that an emancipated working class will emerge. United, we can realize not only increased wages, better and safer working conditions, health care, and paid vacations, but also, quality union jobs, better schools, social services, and the enforcement of civil rights, for all workers.

In the coming days, as you weigh the choice to elect union representation, know that in a ‘right to work’ state such as Virginia, unions can not collectively bargain for ‘union security’. This means there would be a contract provision negotiated whereby agreeing that all workers who receive economic benefits of union representation also share in the cost of maintaining their union.

In a ‘right to work’ state, workers can “choose” not to pay into the union, escaping their financial obligation to support their union and fellow workers, pay nothing, and still receive all the benefits. The employing class of course supports the ‘right to work’ law because it does for them what they can’t do themselves, financially drain unions, so they don’t have the resources required to protect their fellow workers and further organize.

So, vote union, pay your dues, and demand democracy in the workplace.  As the labor movement grows, so will our strength, and ability to demand the eventual abolition of the class and wage system, effectively removing the means of production from the clutches of the bosses, and placing those means into the hands of the workers, where it belongs.

In Solidarity,
Richmond Industrial Workers of the World

[download] Solidarity Letter .PDF