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Despite its setbacks, or perhaps because of them, organized labor has an energy level that AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says he hasn’t seen before in his 50 years with the movement.

Vow of 'Bigger, Broader, Bolder' Labor Movement

Welcome to the 2019 edition of The ULLCO Sentinel. “ULLCO” is the United Labor Legislative Committee, the lobbying arm of the Texas AFL-CIO representing Texas labor unions and participating allies.

Today is Day Minus-4 of the regular session of the 86th Texas Legislature. Blastoff and the start of a 140-day clock takes place Tuesday, Jan. 8th, with the session running until Monday, May 27th, Memorial Day. 

1. Janus dealt a heavy blow to labor—but public-sector unions didn’t crumble overnight.

In June, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited ruling in Janus v. AFSCME—and it was just as bad as everyone feared. In a 5-to-4 decision, the court found that public-sector unions violated the First Amendment by collecting so-called fair-share fees from workers who aren’t union members but benefit from collective bargaining regardless.

A federal employee union sued the Trump administration Monday over the government shutdown, claiming it is illegal for agencies to force employees to work without pay.

Statement by Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy:

"If allowed to stand, today's outrageous ruling by a Fort Worth-based federal judge could eventually deprive millions of working people of a fair shot at affordable health care."

"We are ashamed that Gov. Abbott, indicted Attorney General Paxton and shadowy Texas interests that cannot abide a historic expansion of health care are undermining one of the clearest messages of the Nov. 6 election: Americans want and need affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions."

Last week was a bad week for autoworkers and the future of our domestic industry. On Nov. 26, General Motors (GM) announced its decision to halt production at the Lordstown, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Mich., assembly plants, idling thousands of workers.

A series of settlements hammered out over the past few weeks between Marriott and its striking workers in Boston and seven other cities are ushering in groundbreaking benefits that could set a precedent not just for the service industry but for workers nationwide.

The Boston agreement, reached after workers spent more than six weeks on the picket lines, marching and chanting in the wind and rain and snow, includes a roughly 20 percent increase in wages over 4½ years, a 37 percent increase in pension contributions, and six weeks of paid maternity leave, plus two weeks for spouses.

When Gary Williams began shopping for new cell phones as holiday gifts for himself and his wife Dena last year, he quickly realized it was time to switch carriers. Williams is a retired member of American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 674 and a Union Plus Credit Cardholder, which gives him access to AT&T® discounts and benefits. When he learned about the AT&T smartphone rebate available to him, choosing AT&T was a no-brainer.

Has the Republican Party’s grand experiment in union-busting finally come to an end? Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, rose to national prominence in 2011 when he passed a landmark bill dealing a blow to unions in the state and across the country. With Act 10, Walker stripped public workers of their right to collectively bargain, gutting their salaries, health care, and pensions.