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The Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention, set for this weekend in Austin, will feature the first one-on-one forum between gubernatorial candidates Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, along with an appearance by a union candidate who is making a big splash among working people in his quest to oust U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan from office.

  The COPE convention takes place Saturday, Jan. 20, and Sunday, Jan. 21 at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, 701 E. 11th St., in downtown Austin.

  The gubernatorial forum takes place 2:05 p.m. Saturday. Other speakers include: national AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler; Eric Dean, International President of the Ironworkers Union; Esther Lopez, International Secretary-Treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers; and Terry Melvin, President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Shuler will preside over awards going to union organizations and leaders who were at the forefront in the labor response to Hurricane Harvey and will serve as a panelist on "Women in Politics in This Day and Age."

  Also addressing delegates at the convention (11 a.m. Saturday): Randy Bryce (aka @IronStache), the union Ironworker who has captivated the nation in his challenge of Ryan in Wisconsin's Congressional District 1.

  Other activities include workshops to provide delegates with the skills and training to win for working families, resolutions and the induction into the Texas Labor Hall of Fame of three major figures in the Texas labor movement: the late Linda Bridges of the Texas American Federation of Teachers; Clara Caldwell of the Communications Workers of America and the A. Philip Randolph Institute; and Rick Diegel of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

  "We believe the 2018 election cycle is going to produce momentous change that will benefit working people in Texas," Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. 

  "The speaker lineup for this convention signals the national importance of Texas in the coming change. We are also honored to host a gubernatorial forum that will introduce hundreds of labor delegates to real alternatives for leadership in our state."

  The Committee on Political Education (COPE) is the political arm of the state labor federation. The convention will culminate on Sunday in a vote by delegates on candidate endorsements.

  See the agenda at this link:


  The Texas AFL-CIO is a state labor federation consisting of 237,000 affiliated union members who advocate for working families in Texas.