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Texans Rallied for Right to Organize

There were rallies and other public events in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Texas City, and Wichita Falls on December 9-10 as part of the worldwide "International Human Rights Day." A major goal was to develop support for the Employee Free Choice Act to would simplify and strengthen the union organizing process.

On December 9, Delphi employees and supporters rallied at the United Auto Workers Local 2157 hall in Wichita Falls.Delphi workers are threatened with 50-60% reduction in wages and termination of their pension rights during bankruptcy proceedings.

On December 10, International Human Rights Day, North Texans at assembled Wal-Mart on I-30 at the St Francis exit in East Dallas. Teamsters constituted about half of the crowd which strung out along the freeway access road for in a line more than 3 city blocks long. Jobs with Justice organized the event.

Lee Medley of the Steelworkers reported that Galveston County Central Labor County had a successful teach in at the College of the Mainland in Texas City. Unionists were joined by the NAACP and other community activists. The highlights of the program were speakers W.E. "Sonny" Sanders - United Steelworker's Intl. Rep., Texas AFL-CIO HR Director Paula Littles, and a surprise visit from soon to be candidate for Texas Governor, Bob Gammage.

Medley says that a screening of the new Wal-mart movie stole the day, as the shocked and angered response from the crowd clearly demonstrated. A panel of top union leaders made the day a big educational success.

Paul Hill of Houston writes that unionists there carried out Human Rights Day activities while running successful election-day efforts. The AFL-CIO backed candidate handily won a State Legislative seat. A union-backed candidate took an at-large City Council position.

About 200 people marched from the Mickey Leland Federal Bldg to the Continental Airlines building. Top political candidates, including Tom DeLay's Democratic opponent, Nick Lampson; Congressman Gene Green, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Representative Al Edwards, and County Commissioner Sylvia Garza turned out with a diverse crowd from different unions. Most of the speeches were about America's right to join a union, but Congresswoman Lee drew cheers with a call to bring the troops home from Iraq.

There were other events scheduled in Austin, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio. National and international events are listed on www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/d10.cfm

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