Industrial Workers of the World

international union founded in 1905

The Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, is a world-wide radical labor union. Members of the IWW are often called "Wobblies".

Industrial Workers of the World
FoundedJune 27, 1905 (1905-06-27)[1]
Office locationChicago, Illinois, USA



The IWW was started in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, USA[1][2] at a big meeting of many unions. For its first few decades, the IWW had many thousands of members who led many of the most important fights against bosses. The United States government and other unions often worked together to enforce more conservative labor relations. Partly because this happened membership dropped and there were few members for many years after. Today the IWW has grown back to a few thousand workers and has members in most continents of the world.[3]

The IWW pushed many unique ideas when it started. It disliked the American Federation of Labor's way of splitting workers by what kind of work they did even if they worked on the same job. Instead, it believed that all workers should organize together in "one big union" in their industry and as workers altogether. The IWW also focused less on winning contracts and more on giving workers more power against bosses on any job they work at.[source?]

The IWW believes that workers themselves should have control over their work, as opposed to bosses. In that regard, they are anti-capitalist. The preamble of the IWW's constitution begins, "The working class and the employing class have nothing in common."[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "People & Events: The Industrial Workers of the World". PBS. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  2. Reider, Ross. "Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)". Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  3. "Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.)". Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  4. "PREAMBLE AND CONSTITUTION of the INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.