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News :: Labor : Organizing
Workers Forum at BU Tonight!
11 Dec 2013
Insomnia driver becomes sixth local worker to declare union membership, speaks at workers' forum. On Friday, December 6th, Tasia Edmonds, a bicycle delivery driver at the late-night national cookie chain Insomnia Cookies declared her union membership with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Edmonds' announcement came the same night as a union picket which drew 30 labor and student activists to the store at 708 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston, near Boston University's campus.
Edmonds is the sixth Boston-area Insomnia Cookies employee to go public as an IWW member, joining Jonathan Pena, Niko Stapczynski, Chris Helali, and Luke Robinson, who were fired after initiating a strike on August 18th, and Tommy Mendes, who was fired after declaring his union membership on October 24th.

According to Edmonds, "I joined the IWW because the union is actively organizing unskilled workers, which is really important because it gives workers a chance to defend themselves against unfair labor practices. Every job needs a union, but people have to step up and insert themselves, which is what the original Insomnia strikers did. If they already had union recognition, they would be less likely to get fired and more likely to achieve their demands."

Edmonds has not been fired, according to the union, because the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency, has recently filed charges against Insomnia Cookies for the firing of Pena, Stapczynski, Helali, and Robinson for legally-protected union activity. The NLRB asked the company to reinstate the workers and provide back pay, and will hold a hearing on March 5th. "With the cities of Boston and Cambridge, and now the NLRB, watching," says the union, "Insomnia cannot fire any more of our union members for their legally-protected efforts to improve their jobs and lives."

Asked why she decided to go public as an IWW member, Edmonds says, "It seemed like the manager already knew I was a union member, and declaring union affiliation seemed the best way to protect myself that night. I was being made to stay later than my scheduled shift and I was the only driver on shift. There were 6 more deliveries. Had I not gone public and just taken the deliveries they might have blamed late deliveries on me to try to get rid of me."

Edmonds will join Pena and other area service workers and union organizers at a panel discussion Wednesday, December 11 at Boston University. According to Edmonds, "The Insomnia Cookies campaign is part of a growing labor movement, and Insomnia needs a union just like all of the other fast food companies where workers are fighting for better conditions and to raise the minimum wage. If everyone goes on strike at the same time we can make demands to higher power. We have the ability to stop production, and they'd have to stop pretending that we were working for their profit voluntarily, instead of being forced into a system of wage slavery."

-Video: Jonathan Pena and Tommy Mendes speak at picket at BU Insomnia Cookies location.

-Strikers deliver demand letter to Insomnia Cookies.

-Insomnia Strike Fund.

Contact Insomnia Union (IWW) campaign organizers

Phone Number: 617-863-7920 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BostonIWW/ Mailing: Boston IWW, PO Box 391724 Cambridge, MA 02139

This work is in the public domain.
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