On International Women’s Day, Texas AFL-CIO Elevates Women — On Our Building

On International Women's Day and in Women's History Month, the Texas AFL-CIO is celebrating working women in a big way — literally.

In a vibrant display of public art, the state federation headquarters at 1106 Lavaca St. is featuring 13-foot-tall artistic renderings of two union women who have worked heroically through the COVID-19 pandemic. The works at our south and east doors by Austin artist Sarah Wilson are part of her project called Essentials that honors women who have risked their lives to keep communities safe.

The larger-than-life portraits are of Selena Xie, President of the Austin EMS Association, and Marilyn Holmes-Alvarado, Executive Board Officer for Paratransit North of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1091. They are among 15 women set to appear on Austin buildings under a program sponsored by the Dougherty Arts Center.

"The Texas AFL-CIO celebrates International Women's Day by acknowledging the indispensable, and rising, role of women in the Texas workforce and the labor movement," Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. "This year, we add a striking visual representation of that acknowledgment. We thank Selena Xie and Marilyn Holmes-Alvarado for agreeing to represent thousands of women who have worked heroically and we thank Sarah Wilson for her amazing vision. Our building has never looked better."

"More than ever, working women have led, are leading and will lead the union movement and all workers to a better future. In the pandemic and the winter storms — two giant disasters in which leadership failed Texas — working women have pulled up their sleeves and helped everyone cope."

Judy Lugo, President of the Texas State Employees Union, and Angi DeFelippo of the Tarrant County Central Labor Council, speaking on behalf of the Women's Committee of the Texas AFL-CIO, said in a joint statement, "As we celebrate International Women's Day, we honor those who came before us, and the unsung heroes of today: frontline workers, teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, grocery store workers, and flight attendants to name a few."

"The Texas Women's Committee gives thanks to our sisters who are putting it all on the line by stepping up during this unprecedented time and leading our communities."

Levy said much work lies ahead.

"Women have not achieved the full measure of justice" Levy said. "Legislation on matters like pandemic relief, equal pay, stopping sexual harassment and advancing human rights is pending in our own Legislature. The Texas AFL-CIO will continue to fight with and for women workers until those dreams are achieved."