Tag Archives: houston

Union Leaders Thinking “Outside the Box”

Workshops on subcontracting and nursing homes and community homes

Workshops on subcontracting and nursing homes and community homes

Texas Union Members speakingUnion Organizer Roger from Houston listeningShreveport Local 100’s stewards and leaders organized themselves into three different workshops. One focused on schools and head start units, another looked at health care with nursing and community homes, and the last bit hard into contractors and subcontractors for sanitation and janitorial workers. The results were inspiring and exciting. In the report backs one leader perhaps summed it up best by saying, “we have to think ‘outside the box.’”

The reason is simple enough to follow as well. Companies are “way out the box.” One problem stewards were unpacking focused on a unit where Local 100 had won an election in April 2009 for cleaners with a local, Dallas-based company at D/FW Airport Concourse D. After endless delays in bargaining including company delays around election objections, after six months of bargaining in which the company delayed and postponed one meeting after another, they walked away from the table in spring of 2010 with dueling NLRB charges. Another company won the bid in May 2010 and recognized the unions but within hours of coming to agreement with the union in August, they walked away from the contract. A third company is now bargaining with the union, and prospects are fair for a settlement, but the union has now had to also demand recognition with several additional companies that are subcontracting part of the work. The workers, those that have survived, are shell shocked. The giant public airport authority running one of the USA’s largest airports is involved in such a race to the bottom, that it is squeezing contractors and sweating workers without a moment’s hesitation. The Local 100 stewards understood that these problems require not just leadership, but virtually heroism!

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Progressive Are Restless

P1010013 Houston Working the Citizen Wealth has been fascinating for me in both New Orleans and Houston for lots of reasons, but especially as a “listening post” when the discussion moves to the question part of the agenda whether at the events or on the radio shows.  One theme has emerged more than any other:  progressives are restless.  They are holding their breath, but there is a real and profound worry that President Obama does not have the kind of backbone that these grizzled warriors in the rough-and-ready politics of Louisiana and Texas know that it takes to win real reform.

They are worried that the compromises are signaled too quickly and the concessions are too broad.  As exhilarated as many of them were at the election results here in dark red country, they are worried that the president may not be able to stand and fight, and most of them are clear that that is the only way to win against the rock ribbed resistance they have seen in these conservative states.

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