Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Artifact: IWW Membership Button

An image of a round membership Button for the Industrial Workers of the World. The button is gold along the edge and green in the center. The outer gold ring reads "Local No. 8. MTW February 1917. The center has the letters IWW mixed with three stars, and the number 1370.

For most of a decade, anyone who wanted to work on the Philadelphia waterfront had to be a member of Local 8. In order to ensure that only fully paid-up members worked, Local 8 distributed a new button monthly. When an employer hired someone not wearing the proper button, Local 8 members were known to stop work until that person paid his dues–demonstrating the Wobblies’ commitment to direct action on the job.

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