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Texas Continues Making Critical News

By Jim Lane

Tyler Steelworkers Strike

The Steelworkers' national negotiators have arrived at a proposal with Goodyear. Ratification votes are imminent at the eleven U.S. locals and 4 Canadian locals on strike. Even though the basic fight to save retiree benefits may have been won, as the USW press release says, it's a bittersweet victory for our Tyler brothers and sisters. The article sent to the People's Weekly World reads, in part:

"Union officers and picketers were uneasy. They assumed that they would be voting on the offer within the week, but none of them was sure whether or not the local union leadership would recommend the contract nor how any of the members would vote. The Tyler tire plant, owned now by Goodyear but still called "Kelly Springfield," received only a one-year reprieve from management's determination to shut it down. There are over 900 hard-working tire-builders in Tyler, and only a handful of scabs...."

Labor's Victory in San Antonio

Both Roberto Botello and Paul Hill wrote extensively on the electoral battle in the San Antonio area. After the Supreme Court ruled that Tom Delay's redistricting had indeed deprived Latinos of their voting rights, a new district was put together, and longtime Republican Token Henry Bonilla would have to run again to save his seat in Congress. Ciro Rodriguez, who lost his seat to DeLay's shenanigans, joined 4 other Democrats in running. The initial outcome looked positive for Bonilla. He took 49% of the vote and had money stacked up behind him for the runoff. Rodriguez took less than 30% and had lost his last two elections.

Robert Botello wrote about one of the decisive rallies: "Supporters who took to the podium to express their support included Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, State Representative Leticia Van de Putte, former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros and Boyd Ritchie, state chair of the Democratic Party, among others. Their overall message was that the November elections and their progressive wins called for continued election of progressive lawmakers, such as Rodriguez, who can work in the new country's new political landscape. With little variation, speakers pointed out the damage wreaked in the last six years in the areas of education, insurance, healthcare, and the increased economic marginalization of working families and of U.S. military combatants."

The Texas AFL-CIO and the labor movement in the area sprung to Rodriguez' side in the runoff. They proudly announced that the effort to turn out union voters was a model effort. Despite all the odds, Latino voters gave Ciro Rodriguez a thumping 54-46% victory!

I.C.E. Strikes

Paul Hill wrote extensively about the Immigrations and Customs raids against undocumented workers in meatpacking. The United Food and Commercial Workers, to their great credit, stood by all their members while politicians attempted to gain credibiity by victimizing and dividing working people. Cactus, Texas, was the scene for one of the big raids. Legal complications continue, and nothing is resolved.

Meanwhile the Voices for Immigrants group in Dallas continued with its "Dia de los Inmigrates" celebration on December 17.

Texas correspondents are needed...


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