Organize and Rise: Texas AFL-CIO to Showcase Innovations at 2023 Convention
Contacts: Rick Levy,
Leonard Aguilar or Ed Sills,
Sills cell: (512) 695-1148
Organize and Rise: Texas AFL-CIO to Showcase Innovations at Convention
Against a backdrop of historic union formation, strikes, and worker activism, the 63rd Texas AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention will highlight labor organizing and the state labor federation’s entry into new fields that aim to build voice and power for working families.
The Convention – themed “Labor Leads: Organize and Rise” – takes place Tuesday, Aug. 1st through Thursday, Aug. 3rd at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, 3001 Kalahari Blvd. in Round Rock. An agenda may be found here: https://tinyurl.com/bntbjepr.
“Workers across Texas are organizing in ways that we have literally never seen before,” Levy said. “Our Convention will run to the struggle, featuring workers and leaders who have made major inroads in building our movement. Our delegates will consider a resolution that dramatically expands the Texas AFL-CIO’s role in assisting union organizing and another resolution stepping up our role in advocating for immigrant workers through the Texas Immigrant Worker Project..”
Levy said the convention will feature exciting developments that could change on the spot: a representative of SAG-AFTRA – active in Texas as well as California and New York; an activist in the Teamsters, who just won a tentative deal with UPS that boosts workers and averts a strike; and battlers in fights for the freedom of Texas cities to govern in the interest of local communities and for pursuit of good-paying climate jobs.
“The Texas AFL-CIO is adding unprecedented tasks to our work because in 2023 the needs of workers seeking dignity demand it,” Levy said. “We will enter uncomfortable territory to make a difference. While labor’s programs expand, what never changes in unions is our drive toward dignity for all workers. This convention will showcase the amazing energy in our movement.”
The first in-person Texas AFL-CIO convention since before the pandemic will feature national speakers, panels on topics that are central to working families, workshops, and, on the internal side, officer elections. (This convention is not about political endorsements; the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention will focus on labor’s political program in January 2024.)
Among keynote speakers: national AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond, the first Black man to hold the position; newly elected Communications Workers of America President Claude Cummings, a Houstonian and the first Black man to lead the national CWA; Jimmy Williams, President of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades; Ross Templeton, Political & Legislative Director of the Ironworkers Political Action League; Claudia Yoli Ferla of MOVE Texas; and Texas NAACP President Gary Bledsoe.
Unions engaged in key labor battles will deliver updates. Tom Schwarz, Executive Director of the striking SAG-AFTRA Local Union in Dallas, will update the strike by actors (and writers). A panel will discuss the Texas organizing arcs of National Nurses United (recent one-day strike at Ascension Seton Medical Center seeking first contract), Starbucks Workers United (seeking first contracts at unionized stores), the Fort Worth NewsGuild (obtained first contract), and United Workers of Integral Care (another recently formed union)..
Other speakers and panels will touch on the recently completed legislative sessions from labor’s perspective, strategic organizing initiatives, and effects of the Infrastructure Bill on labor.
Workshops will cover climate jobs, assistance to immigrant workers involved in labor disputes, workers’ compensation, volunteer recruitment, and cutting-edge tactics for building solidarity among unions and allies.
Among items of union business, delegates will govern the broad policy of the Texas AFL-CIO over the next two years through resolutions and election of officers. They will celebrate the induction, postponed in the pandemic, of three labor activists into the Texas Labor Hall of Fame: former Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller (first woman to hold statewide Texas AFL-CIO offices); the late John Bland (Transport Workers Union/renowned Houston civil rights activist); and Rebecca Flores (United Farm Workers activist).
Note to Reporters: Journalists are welcome. We request that you RSVP to Ed Sills (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can prepare a badge in advance. Please check in at the Registration Table when you arrive. We will do our best to accommodate requests for interviews, but the convention moves quickly and it sometimes takes time to connect during proceedings. We are glad to set up advance interviews on agenda topics for those who want them.
The Texas AFL-CIO is the state labor federation consisting of 240,000 affiliated union members who advocate for working people in Texas.