Convenio Estatal de Trabajadores

February 6, 2012

Last weekend we had an amazing experience in Austin with Workers Defense Project and Interfaith Worker Justice!  Committee members Lidia Cruz and Shalini Thomas, along with Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project (PCRP) Economic Justice Advocate Tom Power spent the day in Austin for the first (hopefully annual!) meeting of Texas worker centers.  We got to hear from the other worker centers regarding their leadership development courses, the strategies they use to fight for worker justice in their own towns, and some of their recent victories.  We also had a great discussion that will help us all plan how we want to focus our energies and campaigns in the coming months.

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A HUGE thank you to Emily Timm and the rest of the PDL staff for a great day!

In other news, we have a new Mesa Directiva (Executive Committee).  As you may know, the Committee holds elections every 6 months to determine who will be our First and Second Representatives, Secretary, and Treasurer.  The Committee thought that the last Mesa Directiva was doing such a fantastic job that we voted almost unanimously to re-elect the current members.  Unfortunately, our Secretary, Rosa Chavez, had to decline the honor, so the Committee elected Omar Uribe to the position of Secretary.  Congratulations Omar and the rest of the Mesa Directiva!

From left to right, Treasurer Gerardo Hernandez, Secretary Omar Uribe, Second Representative Josefina Torres, and First Representative Lidia Cruz

Finally, we just wanted to throw up the rest of the press we generated surrounding the recent announcement that Wage Theft will now be prosecuted criminally.
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Lobbying in Austin

March 21, 2011

With allies Border Network for Human Rights and Workers Defense Project, we’ve had a busy month!

On February 22, Committee members Aurelio Rangel, Miguel Gamboa, and Gerardo Hernandez went to Austin with BNHR to protest and lobby with Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (RITA), a statewide organization dedicated to building support for comprehensive immigration reform.

During the event, over 3,000 people marched the Austin streets from Waterloo Park to the State Capitol building, where a rally was held to protest the 60-plus anti-immigrant proposals that are currently before the Texas legislature.  After the rally, many participants met with their legislators to let them personally know how they felt about these horrendous proposals.    Aurelio, along with other El Pasoans,  met with State Representative Dee Margo (R-El Paso) to discuss the legislation.

As Aurelio said “I was excited for the opportunity to talk to lawmakers because we need to let them know how we feel about issues that affect and interest us, and how proposed legislation will affect our community, whether for better or for worse.  We came here because we care about the Latino community.  Legislation that has to do with the economy, that has to do with education – all of it affects us.  We have to fight for what’s right by talking to our legislators BEFORE they pass laws that hurt our society.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the next week Committee members Aurelio Rangel, Abelardo Lopez, and Gerardo Hernandez, along with Paso del Norte Economic Justice Attorney Chris Benoit went back to Austin to participate in the Day of the Fallen, a day of action organized by Workers Defense Project commemorating the 138 construction workers who have died on the job here in Texas and pushing for legislation to protect construction workers.

Did you know that every 2.5 days a construction worker dies in Texas, which is higher than in any other state? That Texas is the only state that allows employers to opt out of workers compensation? That employers are not obligated to give workers rest breaks during the day?

After the rally, the group (along with other rally participants) met with State Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), along with staff from State Senator Jose Rodriguez’ office and Marisa Marquez’ office.

Committee member Abelardo Lopez, preparing for the lobbying visit

Committee members Aurelio Rangel, Abelardo Lopez, Gerardo Hernandez, and Paso del Norte attorney Chris Benoit, with Jesse Renteria from the Laborers' International Union

Austin ABC station KVUE interviewed Chris and Abel after the rally:

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Upcoming events and news

November 7, 2009

As mentioned in a previous post, we recently had a candlelight vigil to support a member whose employer hasn’t paid her since February.  Despite the long delay, and multiple requests, the employer is still refusing to pay the wages she owes!  Keep watching us for updates – we will soon be having a press conference to announce our next step in this important fight!

A video and article regarding wage theft around the country.


Article on wage theft

October 30, 2009

Article on Wage and Hour work in Texas.