As of March 13th, 2021 the Socialist Rifle Association Workers United (SRAWU) have been affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World. The SRAWU is a union for the paid staff and volunteers of the Socialist Rifle Association (SRA), a US-based firearms organization that aims to provide working class people the information they need to be effectively armed for self and community defence. The staff and volunteers of the SRA are committed to the goals of their organization, providing a safe space for marginalized communities to explore firearms education and mutual aid. While the reputation of the SRA is that of radical democracy and a vigorous pro-labor attitude, their workers deserve to exercise that right to organize and put their ideology into practice.
Industrial Worker recently spoke with Lucas Hubbard of the SRA about the organizing efforts and victories of the SRAWU.
“The workers of SRAWU depend on their jobs to survive. Part of our demands were a larger say in the staffing process and to have a voice when the issue of our budgets came up. It would be ruinous to the workers to see a political shift in the SRA that causes staffing cuts. This is an issue that might even lead to homelessness for some, so we demanded a seat at the table.”
For Hubbard and his fellow workers, it is important to have a say in the direction of the SRA, because they will be the ones who are directly fulfilling administrative work orders and creating an environment where the SRA can meet its goals and continue to create these communities of safe firearm ownership, solidarity and mutual aid.
“We did have a [Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention] policy enacted before the contract, so we count that as a win but what grew out of it is possibly more of a security for the workers; some workers had reported being harassed by individuals within the SRA for fulfilling work orders demanded of them by management. To help prevent this in the future we demanded that management and the Organizing Committee, the SRA’s executive body that governs the organization day-to-day between Assemblies, make it very clear that they were responsible for the outcomes of their work orders and that they were executing the will of our Assembly, so that if a worker was harrassed for doing their job that they would be protected.”
Initially SRAWU had a hard time getting their contract applied but they kept at it, persevering past unexpected changes in staffing, and have since succeeded in making sure their contract is firmly upheld by the SRA. “At this moment it’s smooth sailing but we have discovered some rough patches that we weren’t expecting,” Hubbard said, noting the short 1 year duration of the Collective Agreement.
“As this is our first contract with the employer we opted for its term to be slightly shorter than it would have been otherwise so that we may revisit pain points we discover as soon as possible while maintaining stability in the contract.” The SRAWU will be renewing the contract and expanding its influence as the SRA continues to expand, “As the organization grows so too does its staffing needs. As we grow we hope to provide more and more solidarity with workers around the world through mutual aid and direct action.”