The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation Weekly Report comes out (nearly) every Thursday with news and updates relevant to the Gulf Coast labor movement. To subscribe, click here.
Union Flight Attendant Loses 2 Teeth in Assault by Passenger
A Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556 flight attendant was assaulted by a passenger and lost two teeth in the attack last weekend, according to a union president, who demanded action from the airline’s CEO on dangerous passengers.
“Unfortunately, this is just one of many occurrences,” said TWU 556 president, Lyn Montgomery. She said there were 477 incidents of “misconduct” by passengers on Southwest planes between April 8 and May 15.
Gulf Coast SIU Members Work to Vaccinate Seafarers
Houston Seafarers International Union (SIU) members Myat Thu and Shwe Aung continued their work to protect fellow Seafarers from COVID-19. Last week, they helped several Gulf Coast crews to get vaccinated, as the push to end the pandemic continues.
Transport Workers Union Local 260 Welcomes New Graduates to Union Family
TWU Local 260 continued their strong organizing work, welcoming 100% or the recent Hiram Clarke BOF Service Driver class into the union. This kind of outreach has helped the union of METRO employees to become one of the fastest growing unions in the Gulf Coast.
Steelworkers from Across Texas Demonstrate Outside ExxonMobil Headquarters in Support of Locked-out Brothers and Sisters
Brothers and sisters from Gulf Coast United Steelworkers (USW) locals drove up to Irving on Wednesday to protest outside of the ExxonMobil shareholders meeting. The rally was organized in support of the members of USW Local 13–243, who are still locked out of their facility in Beaumont.
IAH Workers Organizing with SEIU Texas Take Demands to United
Houston IAH airport worker Teresa McClatchie took over the national SEIU Twitter this Wednesday, reporting live from the United shareholder meeting. She and her co-workers are currently organizing with SEIU Texas to fight for fair wages, safety, and dignity at work. Teresa currently makes $9 an hour, has worked throughout the pandemic, and is considered an essential worker.
United Airlines received over $10 billion in COVID relief funds while airport workers are still fighting for living wages and a union.
Follow the thread here.
Texas Union Members Support Striking Alabama Miners
More than 1,000 coal miners at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Alabama have been on strike since April 1st. Several Texas union members traveled to Alabama last weekend, bringing with them over $2,000 in contributions from members across the Lone Star state.
Land Commissioner Bush Withholds Critical Flood Mitigation Funds from Houston, Harris County
Just days before 288 flooded due to massive May storms, Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced that Houston and Harris County would receive $0 of the $4.3 billion in federal flood mitigation dollars awarded by the state.
Harris County was the only county in Texas that experienced flood disasters three years in a row in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and more than half of all damage from Harvey occurred within Harris County borders.
Texas GOP Passes Bill To Stop Teachers From Talking About Racism
Republicans in the Texas House passed a bill Tuesday that effectively bans public school teachers from talking about racism, white supremacy or current news events.
The bill, which is being fast-tracked to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to sign into law, states that social studies and civics teachers aren’t allowed to discuss the concept that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” or the idea that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”
Polling Places for Urban Voters of Color Would be Cut Under Texas Senate’s Version of Voting Bill Being Negotiated with House
The number of Election Day polling places in largely Democratic parts of major Texas counties would fall dramatically under a Republican proposal to change how Texas polling sites are distributed, a Texas Tribune analysis shows. Voting options would be curtailed most in areas with higher shares of voters of color.
President Biden Nominates Gwynne Wilcox for NLRB Democratic Seat
President Biden has nominated union attorney Gwynne Wilcox to the National Labor Relations Board. In response, AFL CIO President Richard Trumka said: “Great day for working families and historic day for the NLRB with first nomination of a Black woman to serve on the Board. The Senate should act quickly to fill this long empty seat with Gwynne Wilcox, a distinguished labor lawyer.”
Arizona Democrats Overwhelmingly Pass Resolution Calling for Sinema, Kelly to Pass PRO Act
In a small but encouraging sign, the Arizona Democratic Party officially passed a resolution calling on their two Democratic Senator hold-outs Kelly & Sinema to back the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. Since US parties aren’t really parties, this doesn’t mean what it might in most other countries, but it might help move the needle.
Kelly, Sinema, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner are the only three Democrats who have yet to co-sponsor the PRO Act. No Senate Republicans are signed on as co-sponsors.
Millard House Named Lone Finalist in Search for New HISD Superintendent
This week, the HISD Board unanimously voted to appoint Millard House II to serve as the next permanent superintendent for the Houston Independent School District.
Houston Federation of Teachers President Jackie Anderson said: “Houston educators look forward to a productive partnership with Millard House II. It is our expectation and desire that the Texas Education Agency will honor democracy and allow him and the board to work independently, without state interference. Local officials know their local school district and community needs best and what their students need to succeed.”
2 IDEA Public Schools Leaders Ousted after Audit Reveals Misuse of Funds
Another day, another scandal. IDEA Public Schools has parted ways with its CEO and COO after a special counsel investigation into the organization’s finances. IDEA said it received details from an anonymous sender regarding allegations of inappropriate expenditures and misuse of resources at the charter school.
Minimum Wage Hike Passes for City of Dallas Construction Contract Employees
Following advocacy by the local labor movement, the Dallas City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to mandate a $15/hour minimum wage for for city of Dallas construction contractors.
Labor Movement Mourns Lives Lost in Act of Senseless Violence
The Gulf Coast labor movement mourns the loss of our ATU Local 265 brothers Paul Delacruz Megia, Taptejdeep Singh, Adrian Balleza, Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, Timothy Michael Romo, Michael Joseph Rudometkin, Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, Lars Kepler Lane, and Alex Ward Fritch.
Our prayers are with their families.
California Graduate Student Workers File Cards in Massive Unionization Drive
UAW Local 2865 officially filed 11,000 authorization cards with the California Public Employment Relations Board. The 17,000 grad student workers with Student Researchers United will catapult Local 2865 to the largest local in the United Autoworkers (UAW)
When These Workers Unionized, Their Cafe Was Put Up for Sale — So They Bought It
In just 10 months, this small group of baristas went from forming a union to creating a workers cooperative to buying the business.
Minnesota Teamsters Take Fight to Marathon as Refinery Dispute Enters Fifth Month
Mornings are a congested, busy time at the main gate outside Marathon’s St. Paul Park refinery. Semi trucks line up on both sides of the gate, waiting to cross a picket line held by Teamsters who, since January, have been holding out for a contract that protects local jobs and the safety of communities surrounding the refinery.
Los Angeles IATSE Strike Ends With Deal for Workers
After workers stood strong to protest management giving their jobs away, the production and post production crew for Top Chef Family Style agreed to their demands and signed the IATSE contract.
Montana Nurses Union Votes to Authorize Strike if Agreement is not Reached
Around 650 nurses with SEIU 1199NW at Logan Health in Kalispell, MT have authorized a strike. They first voted to unionize in July of 2019, and still don’t have a first contract. They’ll need to deliver a 10-day notice before a strike can legally take place.
Musicians union, HBO sign fair wage agreement
Local musicians hired to appear in HBO’s new series “The Gilded Age” banded together to unionize after the production’s working conditions and wages weren’t up to union standards. HBO pushed back and told the musicians they would be recast. However, after the American Federation of Musicians filed an unfair labor practices charge on their behalf, HBO reconsidered.
AFSCME Local 4041 ratifies contract with state of Nevada
The union representing 20,000 Nevada state employees agreed to a new contract last weekend after a half year of negotiations. The contract goes into effect on July 1, 2021 and has to be approved by the Nevada State Board of Examiners.
“After fighting for 20 years to get a voice on the job and a seat at the table, Nevada state employees have a contract that will improve working conditions and enable them to better provide the public services Silver State communities need to build back better,” stated AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “This contract gives Nevada state employees the respect they deserve.
Everyone age 12 and older, regardless of occupation or health status, is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas, according to state authorities. You can find the full list of Texas vaccine providers here. You do not need to be a resident of a county or city to register.
Sites in Harris County and across the region no longer required advance registration.
To find more information about vaccination sites, click on the links below (this is not a complete list of all vaccine providers)
- Harris County
- City of Houston
- Galveston County
- Montgomery County
- Fort Bend County
- Waller County
- Brazoria County
- Brazos County
- Chambers County
- Liberty County
- Walker County
- Austin County
- Matagorda County
- Wharton County
This year, state Republicans have taken every opportunity to attack the Democratic-run cities. When Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioners Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia have fought for common-sense public health measures, a reliable electric grid, and protections for workers on the job, Republican officials have responded by passing laws that take away local control and punish our communities for political differences.
Now, George P. Bush is cravenly trying to blame others for his decision to block Harris County and Houston from receiving any of the over $4 billion in flood mitigation dollars.
Sign the petition and tell George P. Bush — floodwaters don’t care about politics!