Texas AFL-CIO Convention Successful

Despite the wrath of the Texas Legislature falling on the population, the organized sector had a very good  convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Irving August 9-11. It was precedced by a good convention of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans. Both were upbeat and positive about the future for working Texans. The main convention's slogan was "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs NOW!"Texas Alliance for Retired Americans leaders

Full coverage is available on the Texas AFL-CIO web site, but I took part as a delegate and as a representative for the Texas Retired Americans (whose new leaders are pictured) and Jobs with Justice. We did not try to raise any money because the labor movement's COPE fund needs every cent it can get, but we distributed a lot of literature, buttons and those famous Jobs with Justice whistles.

Some of the AFL-CIO constituency groups held a workshop. They encourage everybody, even non-union-members, to join their efforts. I represented the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans. The A. Philip Randoph Institute (APRI, a civil rights organization), the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW, a women's group), the Labor Committee for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA, civil rights); and the Asian- Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA, civil rights) spoke on a panel. They generated a lot of interest.

One of the highlights came when the Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, One of the highest of several high points came with the presentation of Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. Stefanie Bloomingdale told us about the major battles there. She was very upbeat, but she said that the battles in Wisconsin might be America's last chance to stand up for democracy.

National AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler outlined a very strong and inventive strategy for the labor movement. One of the most important aspects had to do with her program to recruit and train younger workers. A major youth summit is set.

Texas' hero of the hour was State Senator Wendy Davis of Ft Worth. In the final hours of the regular legislative session, she fillibustered to stop them from passing horrible cuts to Texas schools. During the convention, it was announced that they may have found a way to make the cuts considerably less drastic. However, our political representatives are not through doing what they are doing to us as this is written, so almost anything is still possible.

Davis and several other political leaders spoke about the redistricting of political districts. Even though 2/3 of the increase in the state's population was Latino, they will profit little from it in the redistricting, unless the courts overrule  our legislature. Redistricting is just one of many ways in which the 2012 elections will be made even more difficult for Texas working people, and yet the Texas AFL-CIO union leaders from all over the state seemed eager to face the challenge!

--Gene Lantz


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