Workers at the Socialist Rifle Association recently concluded negotiations with management over their first union contract, also known as a collective bargaining agreement. This follows workers’ request for voluntary union recognition in March, which was granted by management, as per the SRA’s bylaws. The union, known as Socialist Rifle Association Workers United, is organized with the Industrial Workers of the World.
“Being that this is our first collective bargaining agreement, we will be going through a learning process, deciding what works in it and what doesn’t,” says Lucas Hubbard, a union member who led the negotiations. “This isn’t the last contract we will ever sign with our employer nor do we assume it to be perfect. We must assume that any agreement between management and staff will be an evolving one, based on mutual respect and concern for health and safety.”
Key demands of the negotiated contract include a sexual assault prevention and response program, as well as workers’ rights to union representation at any meeting wherein matters affecting staff pay, hours, benefits, advancement or layoffs may be discussed.
With a union contract in place, workers will now shift focus to ensuring the provisions of the agreement are met.
“Currently, we are working on assuring the promises acquired by the collective bargaining agreement are fulfilled,” says Hubbard. “We need to remain diligent and powerful, lest we lose what we have fought months for. Continued solidarity is what drives a union. If we rest on yesterday’s victory, we will lose the ground we have won.”
In considering which union to organize their workplace with, workers at the Socialist Rifle Association, which is headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, were attracted to the IWW’s politics and storied history.
“The IWW seemed to be the most ideologically aligned with our mission at the SRA: working class solidarity, intersectional empowerment and defense of those under the heel of capitalism,” says Hubbard. “The IWW has been fighting for labor rights for over 100 years, and we hope to join that fight.”