Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Some History Of Organzied Labor In Texas—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

Here 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 citizen-bloggers who are working hard for a better Texas.

Every Texan and every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and even run for public office.

With Labor Day just over a week away, this is also a good time to consider organized labor in Texas.

Texas is not a strong union state. Many working people in Texas seem more concerned with keeping others down instead of helping themselves and other working people. However, there are unions in Texas, and there are many working people in Texas–both in and out of unions– with self-respect and with respect for fellow Texas working people.

Let’s stay politically active, be aware of the gains unions and organized labor have brought us, and let’s 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.

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff has one piece of advice for President Obama regarding Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions.

The already-existing field of Republican presidential candidates — along with former Bush administration officials and even the current occupants of the White House — reacted to Rick Perry’s entry into the race, and Letters from Texas reacted to their reaction. The conclusion: they’re all screwing this up.

Bay Area Houston says that fact-checking Rick Perry is not for the ignorant. Continue reading

August 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Labor Day History And Facts—Labor Day In 2011 Is September 5

Labor Day for 2011 is Monday, September 5.

All work merits respect. We should treat all working people with respect. How we treat our fellow working people is a mirror of the extent to which we respect ourselves.

A good way to treat working people with respect on Labor Day is to tip at a time-and-a-half rate if you eat out or ride in a taxi or do anything else that normally merits a tip on this upcoming Labor Day. People workng on Labor day merit the same time-and-a-half rate of pay that you would expect for working a holiday.

( The picture above of people working at sea was taken by Danny Cornelissen for the portpictures.nl website.)

Here is a history of Labor Day from the U.S. Department of Labor.

From that history–

“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our countryMore than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.”

File:Construction worker.jpeg

Here is the web home of the AFL-CIO.

Here is an American labor movement history timeline from the AFL-CIO.

Here is a series of article from the liberal magazine The American Prospect about where American workers stand today, and what can be done to improve how working people are treated in our nation.

Here is a history of women in the American labor union from New York State United Teachers. 

Here is a history of black Americans and the labor movement.  

The history of labor in the United States is your history. Work is the time and effort of your life. We need the wages and benefits we earn at work to be able to live decent lives.

There is also an International Labor Day.  International Labor Day, or May Day, marks the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886. Please click here to learn more about the Haymarket Riots and the Haymarket Trial.

Respect for working people involves understanding that the goods you buy must be sold for a fair price if the people who make and sell those goods are to receive a decent wage and good benefits. Selling goods at a fair price also helps your own employer stay in business.

Respect for working people does not stop at the American border. Cheap goods we purchase in America are often produced by underpaid and poorly treated workers in other nations.

Labor Day is, for many at least, a time to get a break from work.

It is also a time to reflect upon what it means to be a working person at a time when the rights of workers—to the extent they exist at all—are under ceaseless strain.

( Photo above by Holger Hubbs.)

August 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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