Working Texas

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Congratulations to Zeph Capo, who was recently elected President of the Texas American Federation of Teachers at the union's convention. Capo began work at the union yesterday.

Plumbers in Texas scored a significant win today when a bill written to dissolve the board regulating licensing of workers in the trade was amended to postpone the effective date for two years.

Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy and Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay published the following open letter in support of locked-out United Steelworkers families in Deer Park.

The union continues to hold strong:

May 6, 2019 

To Whom It May Concern:

On behalf of the Texas AFL-CIO, we call on Dow Chemical and its subsidiaries at its Deer Park plant to return to the negotiating table and work in good faith with United Steelworkers Local 13-1 toward a fair contract.

The United Labor Legislative Committee today OPPOSED three bills addressing regulation of ship pilots and the movement of container ships that could have a major impact on working people in the Port of Houston. The Seafarers Union and International Longshoremen’s Association strongly oppose the pilot bills but have said they can support a fair compromise on ship traffic that would benefit all stakeholders.

Today is Day 101 of the regular session of the 86th Texas Legislature. 39 days to go.

Do Something! To contact your Texas House member on bills that involve a fair shot for working families, go to https://bit.ly/2IvZt7I to send a letter or text FIGHTBACK to 235246.

The Texas Senate today advanced SBs 2486 and 2488, two more bills that would prevent cities from improving workplace benefits.

Both bills are by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, who authored two related bills that passed the Senate last Thursday. SB 2486 bars local governments from approving rules on scheduling practices. The problem: Some companies do not notify workers of their schedules enough in advance to allow them to plan their lives. An amendment to the bill by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, also bars local rules with regard to overtime.

Today is Day 95 of the regular session of the 86th Texas Legislature. 45 days to go.

The Texas Senate approved two bills that would take away the ability of cities to improve benefits for working people.

The attacks on local voter power came in the form of SB 2485, a general attack on benefits, and SB 2487, which applies specifically to paid sick leave and similar policies. The bills by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, won passage on identical 18-12 votes. All Republicans present voted for the measures and all Democrats voted against.

The Texas House on Wednesday advanced HB 48 by Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso, which would create a state database of employers who are found to have committed wage theft.

The bill has been percolating for several sessions and now has momentum on its way to the Senate. A database would impose no monetary penalty, but the sunlight would serve as a deterrent to low-road employers who deliberately refuse to pay working people what they have earned. 

Today's bipartisan vote in support of the measure was 102-41.

A bill heard yesterday in a House committee would create a separate unelected court system for deep-pocketed businesses, billionaires and others who might be involved in lawsuits involving giant dollars, corporate CEOs and large-scale business matters.

HB 4149 by Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano (companion is SB 2259 by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola) would let the Governor appoint judges selected by an advisory group to hear cases for the wealthy, as opposed to the elected judges most working people would face when navigating the state court system.