International Leadership Holds Shop Gate at TWU Local 260

The TWU's top five Officers visited members of Local 260 at their shops on Monday, along with Transit Division International Staff. Local 260 represents approximately 2,400 employees of Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority in almost every job title across the public transportation system, from Bus Operators to Welders. International President Harry Lombardo, Executive Vice President John Samuelsen, Secretary-Treasurer Alex Garcia, Administrative VP John Bland, Administrative VP Gary Maslanka, and Transit Division Director Jerome Lafragola heard from members, answered their questions, and pledged the International's support in their contract battle.

Houston's public transit system is seeing a number of expansions, particularly in light rail. "It's significant that the leadership went to Houston to learn about the work that our members do," said Transit Division Director Jerome Lafragola. "The IAC got to know the membership, and the members were very happy that someone is taking an interest in their challenges, not just at the Local level but at the national level."

"The members' reaction at first was surprise to see the International leadership," said Local 260 Secretary-Treasurer Robert Garrett. "It's not in my recent memory that the International visited us."

At the MTA's Rail Operating Center (ROC) in South-Central Houston, the International Officers were greeted by management and Local 260 President Horace Marves was able to pull all TWU members off the floor to engage with International leadership. "The International has been a co-partner with the local leadership in their contract fight," said Int'l Administrative VP John Bland. "The membership asked a bunch of questions, and they were excited that they have the full support of me and Harry and the whole Staff."

"I took away and I think the membership took away that it's important that they see the top leadership," said Garrett. "And for us to know that we have big brothers on our side, and that they are ready and able to provide the resources needed to help in our fight here locally."

TWU Honors MLK’s Legacy Through Community Service

At the TWU’s 1961 Constitutional Convention, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told our delegates that he drew inspiration in the fight for civil rights from their independence of mind: "I want to say a word about your President, Mike Quill, and some of your other leaders whom I have met. There is a special quality in them which is found in the spirit of this union itself. It is a quality of independence.” He continued, “Your crusading spirit, which broke through the open shop stronghold, also broke through the double walled citadels of race prejudice."

Our union’s work with MLK was born out of our shared commitment to justice, dignity, and equal treatment for all Americans. Every year in January, the TWU honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy by taking part in community service projects and engaging with our brothers and sisters from labor unions across the country at the AFL-CIO’s Civil and Human Rights Conference in San Antonio, TX.

“Dr. King was a prolific speaker,” said TWU COPE Political Field Staff Member Terry Daniels. “He talked about how civil rights and labor work hand in hand. We often forget that Dr. King was a part of labor. Right now, we still have many of the same problems in the world today that we did 50 years ago. When we don't work collectively together on issues that support our people, it’s always going to be the same situation that we’re dealing with.”

On January 17, TWU International Staff, local officers, and rank and file members from across the country got their hands dirty cleaning, restoring, and maintaining San Antonio’s Alpha Home, a nonprofit center that provides treatment and support to women struggling with substance abuse.

The Conference culminated in the AFL-CIO's Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Week March of organized labor through San Antonio from Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy to Pittman Sullivan Park. "Dr. King recognized that the fight for civil rights and labor rights are one,” said TWU International Administrative Vice President and civil rights activist John Bland. “A lot of people don't truly understand the 'I Have a Dream' speech. He wasn't just talking about having a fantasy about a future where discrimination and injustice do not exist. He was talking about the necessity of activism and civil disobedience — the struggle to bring that dream into being, to create it in the now. The march was powerful. It was 2.7 miles long, and as far as you could look ahead and backwards, there was a sea of people connected to that vision."

Rally and March for Fair Trade!

"fair trade not free trade"

DFW area workers speak out about job losses due to outsourcing! Over 300 in Grand Prairie are now awaiting their fate!

North Texas Jobs with Justice, Communication Workers of America Local 6215, Teamsters Local 745, UAW Local 848, Dallas AFL-CIO Young Workers Council, Texas Organizing Project, Texas Fair Trade Coalition Dallas Sierra Club, Dallas Move-On invite you to a press conference at the corner of N Olive and Woodall Rodgers Freeway Service Road (2012 block) in Klyde Warren Park (south east corner near stage) AT 11:30 AM ON JANUARY 31, 2014.

On the 20th anniversary of the signing of NAFTA this month, the US is about to give the green light to another un-fair trade agreement which will expand economic inequality, decrease access to affordable medicine, allow corporations to sue local governments, and circumvent worker and environmental protections.

Local workers, national and local union representatives and leaders of community groups will educate the public on the disastrous effects of another NAFTA-like agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

By conservative estimates the number of job losses from all free trade agreements and to China after it entered the World Trade Organization is more than 3.7 million, with 250,000 jobs lost in Texas alone.

A rally and march to the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce (500 N Akard St.) will take place from noon to 1 PM following the press conference. Bob Cash of Texas Fair Trade Watch is mobilizing support across Texas, and will join us at the park.

Below is the link to a map of the march route and some parking tips:

Please contact Rosemarie Rieger of North Texas Jobs with Justice at 214-632-5695 for more information.

AFL-CIO Selects Candidates

Dallas delegates joined 350 Texas labor leaders and guests January 25-26 in endorsing a slate of candidates for the coming elections. Wendy Davis and Letitia Van de Putte led the list.

Governor – Wendy Davis
 Lieutenant Governor – Leticia Van de Putte
 U.S. Senate – No endorsement
 Attorney General – Sam Houston
 Comptroller – Mike Collier
 Land Commissioner – John Cook
 Agriculture Commissioner – Hugh Fitzsimons
 Texas Railroad Commission, Place 2 – Steve Brown
 Texas Supreme Court, Place 1 – Bill Moody
 Texas Supreme Court, Place 6 – No position
 Texas Supreme Court, Place 7 – Gina Benavides
 Texas Supreme Court, Place 8 – No position
 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 – No position
 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4 – No position
 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9-No position

Dallas County and Tarrant County made a long list of endorsements which were accepted by the Texas AFL-CIO. For the complete list, see our web site at

Deadline for Scholarship Applications is Now!

WHO MAY APPLY: Members or children of members of local unions or children whose legal guardians are members of local unions that are affiliated with the Texas AFL-CIO and the local Central Labor Council. Applicants must be high school seniors who are planning to attend a university, college or technical institute in the summer or fall term.

Application forms are available from your Central Labor Council or the Texas AFL-CIO Education Department – P. O. Box 12727, Austin, Texas 78711. THE POSTMARK DEADLINE FOR APPLYING IS FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014.