1-Women's Issues Part and Parcel of Labor's Legislative Session

2-Texas AFL-CIO and Texas AFT Calls for Rejection of Nomination to Pension Review Board-Roll Out Letter Campaign to Texas Senators. 

3-'Bathroom Bill' Moves to Full Senate

4-Like Pics? Follow the Texas AFL-CIO on Instagram on your Smartphone. @texasaflcio

1. Yesterday was International Women's Day. The Texas AFL-CIO joined the AFL-CIO in honoring working women around the world.

   While this day is a point of focus, the Texas AFL-CIO routinely takes legislative stances on issues that are important to women.

   The United Labor Legislative Committee has formally supported the Equal Pay bill. ULLCO supported bills that would expand the rights of women to breast-feed on the job and in public buildings and supported bills that would exempt feminine hygiene products from the sales tax. 

   In fighting SB 13, the bill that would take away the economic freedom of public employees in Texas to voluntarily use payroll deduction to support the labor organizations of their choice, we have noted that working people exempted from the bill are in occupations heavily occupied by men. Working people harmed by the bill tend to be in occupations where women are well-represented or even a large majority, including teaching, nursing and social services.

   The larger struggle continues. Women still do not have power commensurate with their numbers in the Texas Legislature, in Congress or, throughout history, in the White House. Women are still under-represented in the upper echelons of corporate and union management. But women are now more likely than men to earn college and many advanced degrees, and that is a trend that bodes well for change.

   This day is about much more than the biological fact that none of us would be here without women. It's about recognizing the land-mines for women that men simply do not have to navigate around and resolving to respect differences and do better. 

 Krissy O'Brien of AFSCME Local 1624 and Ana Gonzales of Workers Defense Project

Krissy O'Brien of AFSCME Local 1624 and Ana Gonzales of Workers Defense Project

   AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler issued this statement: 

   The AFL-CIO and its 12.5 million working people are proud to celebrate International Women's Day. Today, and every day, we stand in solidarity with working women in the wake of unprecedented hostile rhetoric aimed at women by elected leaders and attacks on the rights of all workers. As we join union women and allies at the Women Workers Rising rally, we send a clear message to politicians: the status quo is not working and it is time for you to pay attention. 
   Every day, women workers are subject to sexual harassment and violence on the job. Women workers are indispensable, yet we still are paid less for doing the same work while also taking on greater responsibility in our homes. On International Women's Day, we recommit to fighting for equal pay, paid family leave, affordable child care, health care and, most importantly, dignity and respect on the job. 

2. The Texas AFL-CIO and our Sisters and Brothers at Texas AFT are calling for rejection by the Texas Senate of Josh McGee as Chair of the Pension Review Board.

   The Senate must confirm McGee by a two-thirds vote if he is to continue at the agency. Deadline is the end of the legislative session on May 29.

   Why would organized labor go after McGee in the nominations process? Because he works for a former Enron trader who is trying to end traditional pension benefits in Texas and because it is highly inappropriate, as a result, for him to be in a position that is supposed to oversee the health of traditional pension systems

  Oh, and Do Something! The link is in the second paragraph:

  Remove the Fox from the Pension Henhouse!

  Send your letter now telling your senator to vote "No" on putting a fox in the pension henhouse! (
  Houston-based hedge-fund billionaire and former Enron trader John Arnold for years has mounted an attack on public pensions providing guaranteed lifetime benefits that you cannot outlive-pension plans like your Texas Teacher Retirement System. Arnold's attacks have been aimed at state and local pension programs around the country. His Laura and John Arnold Foundation has been one of the main channels for this effort. 
  Now Arnold has opened a new front in the war on pensions. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has nominated a functionary of the Arnold Foundation to chair the State Pension Review Board, which oversees public pension funds in the state, including the Texas Teacher Retirement System.
  The Texas Senate still has to confirm this appointment, by a two-thirds vote, and that process begins March 9 with a hearing in the Senate Nominations Committee. Let your senator know you do not want to put an anti-pension fox in charge of the pension henhouse at this key pension-oversight agency of Texas government.
  That Arnold Foundation nominee to chair the Pension Review Board is foundation vice president Josh McGee.  McGee has made a name for himself by claiming that the superior cost-effectiveness of defined-benefit pensions (like TRS annuities) is a myth and arguing that defined-contribution plans are a good option for workers-as well as a way for public employers to cut their retirement obligations.
  McGee has been criticized by the authoritative National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) for presenting "fundamentally flawed" research that misrepresents the performance of public pension programs. McGee's claims are contradicted by NIRS data and other empirical evidence showing defined-benefit pensions can deliver a target retirement benefit at half the cost of a defined-contribution account.
  The Texas Senate has the power to reject McGee's appointment to a full six-year term. Tell your state senator now:  The McGee nomination does a disservice to the public employees and people of Texas, and McGee's appointment merits a "no" vote when it comes up for Senate confirmation.

3. To no one's surprise, the Senate State Affairs Committee sent SB 6, the "bathroom bill," to the full Senate.

  The Austin American-Statesman offers a final count of witnesses who testified: 

  A Texas Senate committee approved the transgender bathroom bill at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday, almost 21 hours after the start of a public hearing that drew hundreds, most of them in opposition.

  The 8-1 vote by the State Affairs Committee - with only Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, opposed - sent Senate Bill 6 to the full Senate, where a vote is likely to be taken next week.

  During the hearing, 253 witnesses spoke against SB 6 - many of them transgender Texans or parents of a transgender child - while 29 urged the committee to support the measure, according to a count by the American-Statesman.

   Read more:

4. Do you like pictures?Do you have an Instagram account? Follow the Texas AFL-CIO on Instagram for the latest picture moments occurring in the Texas labor movement. 

Instagram is a simple way to capture and share the world’s moments. Follow your friends and family to see what they’re up to, and discover accounts from all over the world that are sharing things you love. Join the community of over 500 million people and express yourself by sharing all the moments of your day––the highlights and everything in between, too.

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