TODAY'S FAIR SHOTS - Tuesday, March 21st 2017

1-Working People Take Legislative Opportunity to Advocate for Higher Minimum Wage

2-Facts on the Minimum Wage in Texas

3-ULLCO Endorses Bills on Human Trafficking, Texting While Driving, 'Buy American'

4-'60 Minutes' Talks to Workers Forced to Train Their Replacements Under H-1B Visas

5-Join State Employees on Their Lobby Day at the Capitol; Bus Rides Available


1 - The House Business and Industry Committee yesterday heard bills that would raise the minimum wage in Texas and otherwise provide working poor Texans a fair shot at success when they work full-time.

   In addition to the Texas AFL-CIO and some affiliates, the committee hearing included representatives of Fight for 15, the Workers Defense Project and the Center for Public Policy Priorities. 

    The Texas AFL-CIO convened a news conference that featured several of the bill authors. Reps. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, Chris Turner, D-Arlington, Armando Walle, D-Houston, Lina Ortega, D-El Paso, and Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, all spoke. 

   All were eloquent. Walle poignantly discussed a childhood in which his single mom labored at a fast-food restaurant near minimum wage and struggled to support the family. It was "misery," he said.

   At the committee hearing, all bills, including measures to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 or $15, let cities set their own minimum wages and protect tipped workers' tips from employer confiscation, were left pending. 

   The United Labor Legislative Committee has endorsed all the minimum wage-related bills. Texas AFL-CIO Legislative Director René Lara testified on behalf of the Texas AFL-CIO. 

   The state labor federation posted this news release in conjunction with the news conference:

2. The Texas AFL-CIO also posted a fact sheet on the proposal to raise the minimum wage:

3) The United Labor Legislative Committee yesterday took action on bills involving human trafficking, texting while driving and "Buy American." ULLCO:

   ENDORSED HB 491 by Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock (companion is SB 1433 by Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio), which would correct an omission and make those convicted of continuous trafficking of persons subject to mandatory registration as sex offenders.

   ENDORSED HB 62 by Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland (identical bill is HB 160 by Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville; companion is SB 31 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo), which would outlaw texting while driving statewide and include related state actions to discourage the unsafe practice. This bill, which ULLCO has endorsed in the past, won approval in the Texas House and is pending on the floor of the Texas Senate.

   ENDORSED HB 2780 by Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall (companion is SB 1289 by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe), a "Buy American" bill that would establish a preference in state construction projects for iron and steel that is made in the U.S. if it meets certain cost criteria. "Buy American" legislation carried by Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, contains similar provisions. These bills focus solely on U.S. iron and steel.

4. '60 Minutes' Talks to Workers Forced to Train Their Replacements Under H-1B Visas

   When the H-1B visa was created in 1990, it was intended to help the U.S. attract and hold onto the best and brightest foreign graduates - like engineers and scientists - and provide a pathway to citizenship. At the time, members of Congress promised U.S. workers would be protected. 

   The video discusses how President Trump used H1-B workers, only to do an about-face upon realizing that advocating against the visas could be advantageous politically: 

5. Brother Claude Cummings of the Communications Workers of America passes along word that the Texas State Employees Union is running buses from various points in Texas to TSEU's lobby day on Wednesday, April 12.

   You can take the ride and ask lawmakers to make the working lives of tens of thousands of state workers better. The TSEU Lobby Day, which includes a march and rally, are always one of the labor highlights of any legislative session.

   This is a chance to bring TSEU's top issues to lawmakers. You get a full briefing in advance, but the benefit to working people is that lawmakers see people from their districts making important points about the livelihoods of state workers.

   Go to the following link to sign up, review the agenda and select the city from which you will take the bus:  http://cwa-tseu.org/?page_id=6156