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The Texas Legislature has approved a "Buy American" provision for water projects that would establish a preference for iron, steel and manufactured goods produced in the U.S.
The provision is included in HB 4 by Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, and Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, a major water development bill and one of the key pieces of legislation in the 2013 session.
Rana Plaza, the Bangladesh factory that collapsed three weeks ago, killed more than 1,100 workers, many of them young women. This tragedy adds to the more than 1500 Bangladeshi workers killed in preventable fires and building collapses since 2005. Documents found at the factory show that the workers produced for big names in global retail revealing the link between poor workers in Bangladesh and major retail brands.Obviously, the government must improve local laws and their enforcement to stop these tragedies, but brands must also take responsibility for their supply chains. They must be held accountable to the tragedy that happened in their supply chain. Read more >>>
Marcus Hedger will have to wait even longer to get his job back if Senate Republicans continue to block President Obama’s bipartisan nominees to serve on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Call your senators toll free at 1-888-264-6154 and tell them to confirm the board nominations now. Hedger was illegally fired in 2010 from his pressman’s job at an Illinois printing company for his union activities on behalf of his fellow union members in the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamsters. Last September, the full NLRB—two Democrats and one Republican, at the time—ruled he should get his job back with back pay. Read more >>>
Most voters agree that big corporations and the wealthy should start paying their fair share in taxes. But, of course, big corporations and the wealthy don’t want to do that. They want to pay less, and they are used to getting their way. So what do you do? Some people in Washington think the answer is a “grand bargain.” In a “grand bargain,” Republicans agree to stop protecting millionaires from having to pay a single penny more in taxes. In return, Democrats agree to cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Read more >>>
A “Buy Texan, Buy American” bill that promotes more manufacturing jobs in Texas has won final approval in the Texas Senate.
If signed by Gov. Rick Perry, the measure would become the first in many years to require the state to prefer in-state and domestic purchases when cost and quality considerations are equal. Read more below.
Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller called for Texas to improve workplace regulation as part of a response to the deadly West Fertilizer explosion.
The House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee began legislative hearings on the West explosion. The committee was told, among other things, that a report on the cause of the April 17 blast will be issued some time around May 10.
The Taxi Drivers Association of Austin became the first such union to affiliate with the AFL-CIO in Texas when it received its charter today from the National Taxi Workers Alliance.
The union will advocate for workers in a job that too often offers one-sided arrangements that make it difficult to earn a decent living. High fees, penalties and risk accompany long shifts and the luck of the draw in a demanding job.
The TDAA has affiliated with the Texas AFL-CIO and the Austin Central Labor Council as well. Organizing activity is under way in other Texas cities.
The union issued the news release below during a charter ceremony at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. If you need a ride in Austin, be sure to ask for a union cab.
A unanimous 146-0 vote in the Texas House sent a "Buy Texan, Buy American" bill to the Senate for further consideration.
The bill by state Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, applies to state purchases and would establish a preference for goods manufactured in Texas and in the U.S. HB 535 has the strong support of the United Labor Legislative Committee.
Q&A with Saru Jayaraman
The partition that separates diners from the inner workings of the restaurant industry toppled for Saru Jayaraman shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Fekkak Mamdouh, one of the headwaiters of the restaurant housed on the top floor of the World Trade Center, approached Jayaraman seven months after the attacks. His former boss deemed him and his former crew “not experienced enough” to work in his new Times Square restaurant. Jayaraman, a 27-year-old organizer of immigrant women, took up the case to advocate for the displaced workers, organized protests and won—most of the workers were awarded the good jobs their former boss promised.
Jayaraman and Mamdouh formed Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United in April 2002 and were flooded with stories of workplace atrocities in New York City and, eventually, across the country. We spoke with Jayaraman earlier this month about her new book on the ills of the restaurant industry, Behind the Kitchen Door.
The 2013 Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Program Application has expired. Read more >>>
For Lapronda Eason and the other building service workers at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the link to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--who died in Memphis in 1968 advocating for the rights of city sanitation workers to form a union--is as real as the job they do every day.
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The time for immigration reform is now, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. This will be a focus for labor in 2013 as the country needs to create a common-sense immigration process with a road map to citizenship. Read more >>>
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