While as a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), I also worked as a custodian. I joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union in 1989 after being told that I couldn’t join the union representing custodians (AFSCME) because I only worked part-time during the academic year. The IWW was a much better fit for me and I have been a member ever since (see the “Union Shop” page).
After UCSB, I moved up to the Bay Area and met my future coworker and one of my closest friends, Clif Ross, through the IWW. Clif was a printer who had some equipment in his garage and a printing press at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Berkeley. The idea of learning a trade appealed to me. Also, both Clif and I didn’t want to work for, or be, bosses. So, we talked about starting a printing cooperative where each of us would be an equal worker-owner and we would democratically run the business. Clif patiently taught me the basics of offset printing. Together, with another friend of mine from school, we began New Earth Press in 1991. New Earth Press, a successful IWW union shop specializing in environmentally responsible offset printing, lasted until 2000 when people went their separate ways.
I bought out New Earth Press, changed the name to Evergreen Printing, and have been running it as a one-person shop since 2000. I kept the union shop card and the focus on environmentally responsible printing, upgraded the equipment, learned prepress, expanded into digital printing, and have been going strong for 20 years.
My commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of my business, working in the most ethical way I can, and providing the highest quality product with an unsurpassed attention to detail have been the foundations of my printing business for nearly 30 years.
– Dave Karoly