Wobblies Returning To Soapbox in Everett

October 17, 2016

Events in Everett, Everett

Got an email from the office of the Whatcom-Skagit Industrial Workers of the World advising of this event coming to Everett on November 5th…


The IWW will be back in Everett November 5th for the first time in nearly 100 years.

Members of the radical Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW; also known as Wobblies) will gather in Everett, Washington at 1:30 PM on November 5th to commemorate the murders of as many as 12 members of the union on that date in 1916. The commemoration is organized by IWW union branches in Seattle and Bellingham. IWWs and supporters will gather at 1:30 PM to lay wreaths at the memorial located at 1001 Hewitt Avenue then parade to the ‘speakers corner’ at Hewitt and Wetmore. The parade will complete the journey that was intended for that November day one hundred years ago. Wobblies and friends will soapbox on Speakers Corner and music will be played in honor of the fallen union members.  The public rally and march is open to all interested in workers’ history and in improving wages and working conditions in Everett.

                In 1916 the IWWs were returning to Everett in defiance of the city’s de facto ban on free speech. Wobbly free speech fighters were previously badly beaten and run out of town by deputies and a mob organized by the Everett Commercial Club. Over 300 Wobblies were among the passengers aboard two commercial ferries, the ‘Verona’ and ‘Calista’ sailing from Seattle to Everett. A vigilante gang organized by Sheriff Donald McCrae and Everett mill owners met them at the dock. A fusillade of shots rang out. The ‘Everett Massacre’ left 5 IWWs and two vigilantes dead. Seven other IWWs were missing. Everett residents reported that bodies of these unidentified missing IWW members were recovered from the water later. Around 50 men on both sides were wounded. While it isn’t known for certain who opened fire, the circumstantial evidence points at the sheriff’s men, many of whom had been drinking. IWWs had no reason to jeopardize their intention of marching to Speakers Corner, and violence against members of the radical union was common in the Northwest.

The free speech fight began when IWW members from around the northwest converged on Everett to support a strike by an AFL mill workers union. Wobblies were singled out for arrest at as they spoke on behalf of the strike and against capitalism at a popular spot for public speakers, the intersection of Hewlitt and Wetmore. This street corner was the destination of the 300 IWW members aboard the two ships when they were shot down at the dock.

“The Everett Massacre should be remembered because this same kind of injustice repeats itself every day that protesters and fellow workers are imprisoned, injured, or murdered” said Randall Jamrock, General Secretary of the Chicago-based IWW. “Folks are persecuted and arrested for being poor, radical, or racial minorities. It can be stopped when we unite the working class & unemployed.”

The IWW’s November 5th Everett Massacre commemoration marks the return of the Industrial Workers of the World to Everett after nearly 100 years. The IWW has an active union presence in cities all over the Northwest, the US, Canada and Great Britain. Chartered IWW organizations are in Germany, Australia, Greece, Taiwan and Iceland. Members are employed in virtually every industry. They join IWW as individuals or by organizing workplaces. The union organizes workers by their industry, rather than specific trades, which is the meaning to the term ‘Industrial’ in the IWW name. Regardless of their specific job, workers organized into the IWW are all members of the same shop union. In a restaurant, for instance, the cooks, servers, delivery drivers, and dishwashers all belong to the same member-controlled union, rather than a variety of competing unions based on trades, and that local union is in the same industrial union as the workers employed by the food wholesale businesses. The union is openly opposed to capitalism and does not affiliate itself with any political parties.


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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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13 Responses to “Wobblies Returning To Soapbox in Everett”

  1. hello Says:

    “The intersection of Hewlitt and Wetmore”

  2. pbird Says:

    Mark, I would be lot more sympathetic to the teachers needing to spend their own money for supplies if I didn’t know that the school districts waste tons of money on extra office staff and other nonsense. They SHOULD spend the money they get on the kids, teachers and supplies, not “administration”.

  3. Mark Quinn Warren Says:

    The streets should be filled with workers who support the union.

  4. Wa-fix Says:

    Unions are completely outdated and are really just job killers nowadays. Unions should be banned frankly, they no longer serve a purpose. Look how bad the teachers union, especially in the Everett School District is failing.

    • Eleanore Says:

      unions are NOT out dated you don’t know what you dribble about

    • Mark Quinn Warren Says:

      Public education has NEVER been fully funded and the cons want to cut it every year. What other occupation does the worker have to supply all the supplies Does the surgeon supply the stitches? Does the Boding worker supply the material? Why does the teacher have to provide supplies?

      Its past time to pay teachers the salaries of CEO’s and let the CEO’s live on a teachers salary.

      • Skankhunt42 Says:

        No it isnt. CEOs built their companies with hard work. They have their own costs and supplies and have people to pay and share profits with. They have way more people to manage than you, have laws to follow and contracts to make.

        That statement you made basically says its ok to steal from the rich because i chose a job that i knew wasnt a paying profession.

        Maybe if you were a CEO or owner of a large business you could get better pay.

        I work at a warehouse, man. I bust my butt more physically than any teacher to provide products to people while my boss collects a larger check. I am fine with that because I’m not a socialist turd who cant accept that i wont make as much. I have crap healthcare and crap pay and dont get vacations. Especially not 2 or 3 months worth.

        There are plenty of teachers who have taken advantage of the system and walked off with a fat check after being fired thanks to unions. Happens at least once a year a seattle teacher will have inappropriate contact with a student and walk with nice pay. Where elae can someone get fired, but get the union to come to bat for them.

        I hope you arent teaching our kids your personal political views in the classroom. If so, i guess the state gets what it pays for.

    • Dennis Says:

      No matter what a person’s politics are, or how they feel about unions (I’ve never been a member of one) the US Constitution is clear. The government has no ability to “ban” any lawful form of Free Association. Whether the Everett School District is failing or not, it cannot be laid at the Teachers Union alone. But, I’ve digressed. Unions are legal entities. Personally I’m glad to see the Wobblies publicly honor an important part of Everett’s history. It’s an event all of us should honor since the event has shaped the history of the region. Actually I’m surprised there are any IWW organizations still left! They too are part of the story of our region and in the shaping of worker’s rights on a national level.