Some of the best North Texans in the Worker Justice Movement came together at 1408 N Washington on September 15. Topics included the Fort Worth Musicians Strike, Saturday's class on "Runaway Inequality," election work opportunities, and the new organizer for the Texas New Era/Jobs with Justice Coalition.
THE MUSICIANS ARE ENERGIZING AND INSPIRING NORTH TEXAS
President Stewart Williams (pictured with Nirav Sanghani) of the Fort Worth local of American Federation of Musicians held everybody's attention for sometime. He described the fight for survival that began with major union concessions in 2010 and came to a head on September 8 when the members rejected managements' proposed cuts then hit the streets.
During the long period of contract negotiations, the musicians learned about concerted action. They settled on "Growth Not Cuts" as their slogan. Among the activities they organized and carried out were a sit in and a flash mob.
President Williams said, "It’s not about just wages any more. It’s about respect."
Within two days, the elements of a successful strike were in place. All the musicians were on board and supporters from Dallas and elsewhere were signing up to help. On-line fund raising was under way at https://www.gofundme.com/fwsomusicians, which reported donations over $16,888 of their $25,000 goal just one week into the strike!
Activists at the meeting were eager to volunteer to help. They also had a lot of creative ideas:
- Doc suggested participating in "Parking Day" in Dallas. He also said they might do more on KNON radio
- Lauren suggested that the musicians publish their picketing schedule so that people would know when to join in
- Larry suggested that they use their high-profile members such as Willie Nelson to bring in more public support
- Ryan asked if the musicians could come to meetings of other unions and progressive organizations
- Lorraine said that the strike reminded her of the innovative tactics used by the United Farm Workers and that further innovative tactics could be useful
- Gene suggested that different unions and progressive organizations could be challenged to turn out their members for specific picketing times or other events.
SATURDAY'S CLASS WILL PROVIDE GUIDANCE FOR PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT
Herb Keener announced that he has 40 copies of the new book, "Runaway Inequality" for the participants in the class at noon Saturday, September 17, at 1408 N Washington. In stores, the books cost $20 each. He said that the class will reveal what has gone wrong with America politically and economically and will point to the solution.
The activists were asked to think about and discuss the idea of meeting regularly to try to facilitate solidarity between the various independent organizations and build a massive progressive movement in our area.
LORRAINE MONTEMAYOR HAS PLANS FOR POLITICAL ACTION
The AFL-CIO's new political director is ready to implement neighborhood canvassing and phone banking activities for worker-friendly candidates and especially for those in "swing" districts. She will direct activities from 1408 N Washington. Volunteers can contact her at 214-826-4808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIRAV SANGHANI WILL BUILD A MIGHTY COALITION
The new organizer for Texas New Era/Jobs with Justice will be visiting unions and progressive organizations beginning now. With a lot of professional experience behind him from his Chicago days, Nirav knows what he is doing!
EVERYBODY IS WORKING
There are many activities under way in North Texas. The September 14 meeting concluded with a "round robin" in which all activists talked about their ongoing projects and how others might help. We had a good turnout, but there were considerably more projects than people!
Herb Keener promotes the book “Runaway Inequality.” He is teaching a class on it Saturday.
14 people here. Herb, Kristi, Ed, Ryan, Lorraine, Nirav, Lauren’s wife, Stewart the musician,
Larry Daniels, tom Berry Lewis, Doc, guy from Park Cities Democrats,
He will be giving away books free if they attend the class.
Larry Daniels represents the Texas DFW Pension Protection Committee.
Lewis heads apwu retirees. 2700 members in Texas.
APWU can get some retirees to picket. He also works with Mark at the Dallas AFL-CIO.
Doc is a co-owner of a video company. He might help with videos.
Ken NIxon came because Lauren made him. Bernie-ite.
Herb Keener is working on national call-in for TPP. CAll your congressman this week. “We’ve been doing TPP pretty strong since 2011.”
AT&T having a big layoff to be announced tomorrow.
Kristi working for Gary Stuard and other candidates
Ed Middleton is part of his national church’s economic justice group. Organized the Labor Day forum and march. They are going to take a stand against TPP.
Nirav will be focusing on coalition building with CUGD.
Michele Goodwin was a Bernie delegate.
Mondays and Tuesdays will be phone banks from here, says Lorraine.
Kristi talks about being a precinct chair and building voting power.