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Weekly Labor Legislative Update on the 87th Texas Legislature
A bill that would clear a path for nurses who contracted COVID-19 to receive Workers’ Compensation coverage (where available) won final passage today in the Texas House.
The Texas House today gave final approval to a labor-backed “Helmets to Hardhats” bill that can help steer military veterans to apprenticeship training programs.
The Texas House voted today to keep a practice that denies many Texas construction workers basic job benefits.

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In a statement last night, President Biden issued an unprecedented call to action for working people across the country to exercise our right to form unions. “Unions lift up workers, both union and non-union, but especially Black and Brown workers. I made it clear—I made it clear when I was running—that my administration’s policy would be to support unions organizing and the right to collectively bargain. I am keeping that promise,” Biden said plainly.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the RWDSU, thanked Biden for his support of the organizing drive. He said in statement, "As President Biden points out, the best way for working people to protect themselves and their families is by organizing into unions. And that is why so many working women and men are fighting for a union at the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama." Appelbaum told NPR in January that the Bessemer warehouse workers wanted to join a union over concerns with grueling productivity quotas and wanted more input on workplace policies.

This afternoon, leaders of the labor movement gathered at the White House to meet with President Biden and Vice President Harris about our shared goal of revitalizing America’s infrastructure.

United Steelworkers (USW) member Jessica Hartung has a lot on her shoulders, but her load has been lightened by one thing in particular—her debt-free college degree. “I’m a single mom, with an autistic son. I have a full-time job, and COVID-19 has changed so much stuff,” said Hartung (not pictured). Despite her range of nonstop responsibilities, it has always been important to her to finish her college degree. For her, the most significant obstacle was the cost.

On Monday in Alabama, more than 5,800 of them will be able to vote on whether to become the first Amazon warehouse in the United States to unionize. "Now it's our turn to be a disruptor," said Elizabeth Shuler, secretary-treasurer and second highest-ranking officer of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States. It's a big day for the AFL-CIO. Not only is it providing guidance to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is organizing the Amazon warehouse workers.

California School Employees Association (CSEA) member Jacob Rodriguez leapt at the chance to join his school district’s information technology department when a position opened up. The only catch was that he was a substitute custodian and didn’t have a college degree yet. “I promised them I’d go back to school to get more qualified,” Rodriguez said. Thanks to the Union Plus Free College Program, Rodriguez was able to complete his associate degree free of charge, graduating in December 2020.