Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two Articles on Organizing in Texas

Houston, we have a workers’ rights problem
Profile of a worker justice center in Texas’ biggest city
By Kim Krisberg, The Pump Handle
July 9, 2012

Last month, more than 70 ironworkers walked off an ExxonMobil construction site near Houston, Texas. The workers, known as rodbusters in the industry, weren’t members of a union or backed by powerful organizers; they decided amongst themselves to unite in protest of unsafe working conditions in a state that has the highest construction worker fatality rate in the country. [...]

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On the border of change
A portrait of the workers’ rights movement in El Paso
By Kim Krisberg, The Pump Handle
July 27, 2012

In the fall of 2011, a new Texas statute took effect against employers who engage in wage theft, or failing to pay workers as much as they’re owed. The statewide statute put in place real consequences, such as jail time and hefty fines, for employers found guilty of stealing wages from workers. It was a big step forward in a state where wage theft has become as common as cowboy boots and pick-up trucks.

In El Paso, which sits on the western-most tip of Texas on the border with Juarez, Mexico, and is among the most populous cities in the nation, wage theft has become so rampant that workers rights advocates have dubbed it an “epidemic.” [...]

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