Contacts: John Patrick, Rick Levy,
or Ed Sills, (512)477-6195
Texas AFL-CIO: Don’t Mourn, Organize!
Texas AFL-CIO President John Patrick issued the following statement in response to the election:
No sugarcoating it. The national results are a disaster. A self-serving corporate huckster rode to victory on the jet fuel of racism, anti-immigrant xenophobia, sexism and demagoguery. In spite of Donald Trump’s pseudo-populism and claims to represent the working class, his victory is rooted in efforts to divide and undermine our communities.
We now begin a period where the most basic freedoms and protections will likely be under severe and concerted attack.
In light of the looming sea change in the federal government, the Texas AFL-CIO lays down this marker: You can be damn sure the Texas union movement will continue to fight for the rights of working people. But in these times, that is not enough. We will keep building a broader, bolder, more inclusive labor movement that respects all workers. We will fight alongside allies to protect workers who are immigrants, religious minorities, women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ members whenever they come under attack.
Resistance will not be easy, but Texas union brothers and sisters have never shied away from a fight. Combating hatred and demagoguery requires courage and a willingness to recommit to putting ourselves on the line, perhaps in ways we have never done before. We will meet that test. Really, we have no choice.
Though there is no cause for real celebration, the results in Texas actually bucked the national trend, and the labor movement played a significant part in that. Texas union members conducted tens of thousands of one-on-one conversations on doorsteps and in workplaces in targeted districts and regions across Texas. In direct mail and digital advertising, we talked about the stakes of this election for working families.
We talked minimum wage and paid sick leave for full-time employees. We talked improving public education, job training and equal pay. We talked civil, voting and human rights. Our advocacy was not and will not be just about politicians on the ballot, but about what it takes to provide a fair shot to every working family.
Candidates who ran on these and other pro-worker issues benefited from our support, and some won tough races that went against the national grain. We were one of four states in which Hillary Clinton significantly out-performed President Obama. Texas voters narrowed the margin of statewide Republican victory. Together with our allies, we flipped four seats in the Texas House. We made significant strides at the county level, particularly in Harris County.
As we painfully assess what lies ahead, we remain proud of the efforts of Texas union volunteers and their families in this election. In the context of the Trump wave, the Texas results suggest real change is not only plausible, but likely to arrive sooner than anticipated if we continue to fight and organize together for working families.
The Texas AFL-CIO is a state labor federation that includes 237,000 affiliated union members who advocate for working families in Texas.