Today's Fair Shots - April 25th, 2017

1-All Signals Point to War on House Floor Over 'Sanctuary Cities' Bill

2-Ironworkers Obtain Impressive Maternity Leave Benefit

3-Sylvia Daves Honored in Senate Resolution for 50 Years of Service to Texas

1. The Texas House will debate SB 4, the so-called "sanctuary cities" bill, on Wednesday. Yesterday, House Democrats served notice that they will fight the bill at every turn, taking the extraordinary step of rejecting a proposed Calendars Committee rule that would have set a deadline for the filing of proposed amendments. That means any and all relevant amendments may be proposed throughout the debate.

  The House version that is scheduled for floor consideration is considerably less far-reaching than the Senate's bill, but would still create an environment in which immigrants, both documented and undocumented, would face a likelihood of unequal treatment by law officers. Many community police officers, who rely on cooperation of immigrant communities in their work, are opposed to the bill. So is the United Labor Legislative Committee.

  Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, who is making a mark as a freshman in the Texas House, said Sunday she is fasting through Wednesday's debate in protest against SB 4, the Dallas Morning News reports:

 Photo from the Dallas Morning News

Photo from the Dallas Morning News

  State Rep. Victoria Neave went to Mass at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas on Sunday and took a Communion wafer. She said it's the last meal she's going to have through Wednesday.

  That's when the Texas House is set to debate the so-called sanctuary cities bill, which Neave opposes. The bill would ban cities, counties and universities from adopting "sanctuary" policies that prevent local law enforcement agencies from asking about a person's immigration status or enforcing immigration law.

  "I want people to know how terrible this law is," said Neave, a Democrat who represents District 107, which includes parts of Dallas, Mesquite and Garland...

  Neave said fasting was a spiritual matter for her and that she hopes others would join in protesting the bill.

  "At this point, we're hoping for a miracle," she said.

  Read more:

2. In the world of unions, the best news is the news that ordinarily doesn't get covered in the news: a smooth negotiation leading to a signed contract, for example.

  The Iron Workers managed to get coverage from Buzzfeed recently on a related type of development. This time, the union obtained a cutting-edge deal that provides women in the union - about 2,100 of them - six months of maternity leave.

 Congratulations to all on a contract provision that, as the article explains, makes as much sense for the industry's bottom line as it does for working people:

  The membership of the 130,000-strong Ironworkers union is an overwhelmingly male crowd, but the approximately 2,100 women members just won a benefit that would be prized by working women across the country: Six months of paid maternity leave.

  The leave, designed to be taken prior to delivery, complements six to eight weeks of post-delivery leave.

  "The challenges of physical work associated with the ironworking trade create unique health challenges that can jeopardize a pregnancy," the union said in a statement announcing the benefit, noting that paid maternity leave "is virtually unheard of in the building trades."

  The numbers put maternity leave for iron-working women on par with corporate employees at tech companies like Etsy, Adobe, Spotify and Cisco. Netflix and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are among the only companies that offer workers more paid parental leave, according to data gathered by Care@Work, which specializes in family benefits.

  Bill Brown, CEO of Ben Hur Construction Co., called the benefit "an investment, because we want our well-trained ironworker women to come back to work."

  Using back-of-the-envelope calculations, Brown estimated that training a new ironworker costs $32,000 over the course of a four-year apprenticeship, during which time the workers are also paid regular salaries.

  "So when you add payroll to 32K a year, and you lose a woman worker, you're out more than 32K," he said. "Then you have to train another person to take their place, so it's a 64K proposition if you lose one female apprentice.

  "To protect our investment, if we wanted women to stay in our industry, we had to do something."

  Brown acts as co-chair of the Iron Workers labor-management working group, which came up with the plan for six months of paid leave along with Iron Workers General President Eric Dean.

  Read more:

3. If you can remember back to the days when former Texas AFL-CIO President Joe D. Gunn was the labor representative on the Texas Employment Commission, you know the name Sylvia Daves. Sister Daves yesterday celebrated 50 years of service to the State of Texas, a career that accelerated upon Gunn's recommendation that she receive a promotion out of the stenographic pool.

  Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, honored Daves in Senate Resolution 635. The Texas AFL-CIO joins in congratulating Daves on her service to the state:

  WHEREAS, The Senate of the State of Texas is pleased to recognize Sylvia Kay Daves of the Texas Workforce Commission for her 50 years of exceptional service to the state; and

  WHEREAS, Sylvia Daves began her career in state service on April 21, 1967, as a member of the stenographic pool at the Texas Employment Commission; she was quickly promoted to administrative technician at the request of Commissioner Joe D. Gunn; and

  WHEREAS, She went on to serve under several commissioners representing labor, and after TEC became the Texas Workforce Commission, she eventually worked as a project administrative technician with the Integrated Enrollment and Services Project; since 1999, she has served as an administrative assistant in the Grant Administration department; and

  WHEREAS, Talented and resourceful, she has handled her many responsibilities with efficiency, dedication, and scrupulous attention to detail; she is known for her versatility and support of her co-workers, as well as for her willingness to take the initiative to further the mission of the agency; and

  WHEREAS, An exemplary employee, she is respected and admired by her colleagues, and it is truly fitting that she receive special recognition for her commitment to public service; now, therefore, be it

  RESOLVED, That the Senate of the State of Texas, 85th Legislature, hereby commend Sylvia Kay Daves on 50 years of outstanding service to the people of Texas and extend to her best wishes for continued success in all her endeavors....