So we marched, the media came, we yelled about SEPTA and how some of the bosses in the business district won't take a stand to protect our fellow workers against the cost of living increase, and reduction in public transit services. 50 workers, many South Street workers, most in the union, some not, and our allies, (otherr IWW branch members, family, friends, fellow workers, etc.) rallied at one end of the street, stepped off the sidewalk and made our way down through the South Street commercial corridor. Our flags were bright and colorful, our chants powerful over a megaphone, our banners, red, green, blue, reading "Industrial Workers of the World," and the "South Street Workers Union." Our signs read, "raise our wages, not our fares," "No Blood For Septa!," and "a meal or a busride is not a choice!"
We had previously collected over 90 signatures from bosses in different shops along the corridor in the following couple of weeks. 6 stores refused to sign, or stalled on signing. Our march intended to visit these bosses. The first stop - Whole FOods Market, the most anti-union store around. As we approached the front of the behemoth natural foods market, I peered into the window to see my disgruntled boss with his arms crossed, face red, and clearly disturbed. Before we can march into the store to demand his signature, he cut us off at the front door. We asked him where the signature was, and he stated it was going through the legal department of the company. We told him he'd better have it soon, as we intended on picking it up again. We left, and he was clearly disturbed.
The next stop was "Dominoes Pizza." AS we approached, the manager stepped outside. We askes for his signature, and the crowd got loud, "Sign The Petition!!!" we cried. He walked inside with our union brother, and quickly glanced over it, and put his John Hancock on the bottom. Our union brother came out with hands in the air, victoriously!
Onward - Tower records. At this point we came into the denser parts of the commercial strip. The shoppers stopped to pay attention, and looked onto our activities quite astounded. Some were supportive, especially seeing our clear message about SEPTA. (It's a hot-button issue throughout the city currently.) Our delgate went inside Tower Records, and looked for the management. We chanted a bit, and he emerged with a victory again!
We took off toward the art store chain, "Pearl Arts and Crafts." Our brother approached managers inside, but they refused to sign. We shamed them for a bit and moved on to Wawa.
Wawa's managers wouldn't sign either. The manager even hid for a bit, probably attempting to call a higher-up on the phone in their office or something. Either way, no dice. So the end result - 98 bosses signed the petition claiming their stance AGAINST SEPTA's proposals to cut services and raise fares. 2 of these bosses were previously reluctant, but caved in when the union showed solidarity and strength. Our campaign against SEPTA's proposal will now step up after we develop a better relationship with our new contacts in these new stores. We will invite them to an open meeting for all south street workers, concerning SEPTA's proposals, union workers or not. From there we will develop a battle plan for the future. Until then, we'd like to extend our love and thanks to all of our fellow workers showing solidarity and mutual aid. You are all inspiring!
Pictures of the march are on the way. Look out for em. also, the corporate media gave us AMAZING coverage, even FOX was awesome!!!