Chicago Workers Collaborative Explores New Organizing Model

by Bill Barclay

Leone Jose Bicchieri

This month’s Talking Socialism podcast features Leone Jose Bicchieri, Executive Director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative (CWC) talking with Bill Barclay.  The discussion provides a fascinating account of how a part of the labor movement – and CWC most definitely considers itself part of the labor movement – fights for the rights of the large and growing number of temp workers, helping these workers, many of them recent immigrants, to gain a voice in the workplace and the community. CWC’s model is not that of charity, simply providing services to temp workers, but instead asks that the workers themselves make a commitment as evidenced by the dues requirement the CWC asks of all its members.

Bicchieri describes CWC’s three pronged approach as a focus on the 350,000 plus temp workers in northeast Illinois, the establishment of community based workers’ centers that have formalized organizational structure with benefits for the whole family covered by member dues, and “bringing down barriers” that seeks to built links between Latino, white and African-America workers. The model integrates the workplace and the community, recognizing that to be successful, contemporary labor organizing must involve both of these venues. One of the most exciting current campaigns involves CWC in close cooperation with the “Warehouse Workers’ for Justice” (WWJ) campaign to organize the huge transit centers in the Joliet, Illinois area. WWJ was founded by UE after the Republic Windows sit down in 2008.

This is a great episode.

Chicago DSA has been doing monthly “Talking Socialism” podcasts since Dec 2010. We’ve covered a broad range of topics beginning with what is wrong with the US economy– and how to fix it to current perspectives on socialist feminism and on to celebrating the success of the anti-death penalty fight in Illinois with stops along the way to analyze the right wing women’s movement in the U.S. and abroad as well as a lively discussion of LGBT politics four decades after Stonewall . The complete list may be found here

Chicago DSA’s Michael Baker is the usual host of the series (at other times Bob Roman has served to introduce the podcast). Our goal is to make the podcasts a conversation rather than a standard interview; thus we often have two people talking with little or no intervention from the host.

Bill Barclay is a member of the  Chicago DSA Executive Committee and Co-Chair of Greater Oak Park DSA.  He is active with the Chicago Political Economy Group.

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3 Responses

  1. The correct URL for the complete list of “Talkin’ Socialism” programs is http://www.chicagodsa.org/audarch6.html.

  2. [...] Jose Biccieri is the Executive Director of the CWC. On a recent podcast, he elaborates on a three-pronged approach they use to accomplish their goals by integrating work and community and providing benefits that temp workers would not otherwise [...]

  3. [...] Jose Biccieri is the Executive Director of the CWC. On a recent podcast, he elaborates on a three-pronged approach they use to accomplish their goals by integrating work and community and providing benefits that temp workers would not otherwise [...]

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