Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Happy Labor Day—Some History Of Organized Labor In Texas

Tomorrow is Labor Day. While Texas is not a strong union state, and while many working people in Texas seem more concerned with keeping others down instead of helping themselves and other working people, there are unions in Texas and there are working people with self-respect and with respect for others in Texas.

Let’s stay politically active, be aware of the gains unions and organized labor have brought us, and always treat other working people well.

Here is a history of organized labor in Texas from the excellent Handbook of Texas online.

From that history—

Rapid industrialization of Texas in the years during and immediately after World War II increased the number of nonagricultural workers and thereby the potential union membership. Organizational drives by several national unions proved quite successful in the immediate postwar period. By 1946 about 350,000 Texans were union members, of whom about 225,000 were in unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and 60,000 were in the Congress of Industrial Organizations affiliated unions; the remainder were in such unaffiliated unions as the railroad brotherhoods and the Southwestern Telephone Workers (the two largest independent groups)….The massive demographic and socioeconomic changes that began in Texas in the 1960s have had a dramatic negative impact on the role of organized labor. The state’s population increased by almost 90 percent between 1960 and 1995. Since a good portion of this growth was a result of adult immigration, the labor force grew at a slightly higher rate than the general increase. The movement of women, many of whom were not prime breadwinners, into the labor force, together with the fact that half the population growth in the 1980s was Hispanic, brought a need for different organizational strategies that, even by union admission, have been slow to develop….Even as the unions were forced onto the defensive by changing conditions, they also strengthened their efforts in such areas as combating environmental hazards and achieving safe working conditions… The 1989 explosion and fire at Phillips Petroleum in Pasadena, which killed twenty-three workers and injured 314, brought investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and by the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers’ Union and led to massive fines for safety violations levied against Phillips and against Fish Engineering and Construction, a contractor.”

Here is the Texas AFL-CIO.

Here is a lengthy list of unions in Texas that includes a number of links to these unions.

Along with this Labor Day post is the weekly round-up of the Texas Progressive Alliance. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are friends of labor.

The round-up–

Off the Kuff had three more interviews this week, with state representatives. Armando WalleEllen Cohen, and Kristi Thibaut.

Meet Jeff “The Trucker” Evans, an unemployed 49-year-old whose unemployment benefits were restored by congressional Democrats after a Republican filibuster caused the payments to temporarily cease. Eye On Williamson returns to the Wrangle and explains howmisdirected Tea Party anger causes Jeff the Trucker to vote against his economic best interest. Continue reading

September 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment