Philippe B is the finance committee chair of the Industrial Workers of the World. In addition, Philippe is the treasurer of the IWW’s Canadian Regional Organizing Committee and the Ottawa-Outaouais IWW. Industrial Worker recently spoke with him about the duties of the IWW’s Finance Committee. The interview below has been edited for clarity and length.
Industrial Worker: What does the IWW’s Finance Committee do?
Philippe B: The committee is mostly responsible for the annual budget. Most of our tasks are in spring and early summer, when we go around each of the other committees and ask them to give us their budget requests for the next year. We have to make sure we have all that information to present to the IWW’s General Executive Board.
It is very important, because if committees don’t make requests, they’re not going to have any funding. If they don’t have any funding, well, they’re not going to be able to do their jobs. A good example would be the IWW’s Organizing Department Board, which is responsible for getting leads, attributes and resources for union campaigns. If they don’t make a request, they’re not going to have the money to do that.
What’s the most important work you feel like you’re doing for the IWW?
I have to bring sound financial advice on what to do with the membership dues we are collecting. In recent years, the union has been getting more and more dues per month. It is important to put that money to work for the membership, so that we’re capable of having more success in organizing campaigns and have more organizing campaigns in general. Finance plays a core role in this. If you don’t put the dues you collect to that use, well, you’re probably not going to grow and have that many more opportunities to organize.
How does the IWW’s Finance Committee go about making decisions?
The IWW’s Finance Committee doesn’t have any sort of decision-making capacity. It only serves in an advisory capacity to the IWW’s General Executive Board. When we get a budget from a committee and they ask for amounts that we think are too low or too high or not appropriate for what they’re doing, we cannot tell them no. We say, “We think you should change this, please.” Then the General Executive Board asks to see it, and they are the ones, at the end, who vote on it.