Labor Says "It's Up to Us!"

The Texas AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE) Conference was over at noon on January 21. We heard major labor and political leaders speak. We studied the recommendations from central labor councils across the state, including those from Dallas, and we plotted the way forward in this critical election year. There will be complete coverage, including the list of endorsed candidates, on http://texasaflcio.org. Candidates of special interest to North Texans will be reported on our website, http://texasaflcio.org/dallas.

In an important way, 2022 is not about individual candidates in specific races. Texas President Rick Levy, in his opening remarks, asked this: “Are we going to maintain a democratic form of government?"  He said, “This is a moment when we are going to call the question on what this country is!” He called on unionists and all our supporters to work hard on block walking, phone banking, texting, social media posting, and every available method to keep freedom and voter rights in America. Levy emphasized the central role of labor: “Who is going to do this if we don’t?”

Liz Shuler

Other speakers took the same stance. National AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said, “Together we are mobilizing nationwide… on voter rights.” She, too, called for the highest levels of participation: “Democracy lives in action!”

The crisis for freedom and our rights was underlined by other recent news. Republicans succeeded in defeating national voting rights legislation. Headlines screamed that Texas applications for vote-by-mail were being held up because of the new voter suppression laws. The Texas Secretary of State claimed that voter registration forms were in limited supply. The fight is on and will rage until November!

Retirees Are In the Fight

The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans (TARA) sent a demand letter to Texas Secretary of State John B. Scott on January 21. It stated that his decision to limit the number of voter registration forms his office provides to TARA and other voter registration organizations is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”).

National Alliance Executive Director Rich Fiesta said, “This is another example of blatant voter suppression in Texas. Any cap on the number of voter registration forms provided to voter registration organizations is concerning and impedes our ability to conduct our work.” A copy of the letter is available here.

TARA held its biennial convention on January 19. Delegates committed to preserving freedom and voting rights. Guidelines for registering and vote-by-mail applications are on https://texas.retiredamericans.org/category/blog/.

MORE ACTIONS COMING UP

Jan 28: Dallas Civil Courts scheduled to resume jury summonses

Jan 31: Deadline for applications for Texas AFL-CIO scholarships

Jan 31: Deadline for Union Plus scholarship applications

Jan 31: Last day to register to vote for the Primary election

Feb 14: First day of early voting. Tentative: downtown Dallas rally to encourage turnout

Feb 18: Last day for county elections offices to receive application for a ballot to vote by mail

Feb 25: Early voting ends

Mar 1: Election day

Jun 13-15: National AFL-CIO Convention tentatively in Philadelphia