MSNBC’s new Friday late night show “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” recently featured an in-depth interview with Cristina Tzintzún, executive director of the Workers Defense Project (WDP). She explained the hardships and abuses immigrant workers face, especially undocumented construction workers in Texas, and some of the successes—such as the recent wage and job safety protections approved last month by the Austin City Council—WDP has seen.
Several hundred construction workers in Austin, Texas—mostly immigrants—and their supporters from faith, union and community groups saw their months-long fight for respect and fair wages come to a successful conclusion when the Austin City Council last week passed an ordinance requiring employers on construction projects that receive city economic incentives pay prevailing wages, provide safety training and other worker protections.
If Texas working families and their unions are going to turn red, right-wing, "right to work" for less Texas blue and replace the corporate-beholden, anti-union politicians with lawmakers who will respect the rights of workers, "We'll have to do it one [state] House district at a time," Richard Shaw, secretary-treasurer of the Harris County (Texas) AFL-CIO Council, told participants at the Winning for Texas Workers action session at the AFL-CIO 2013 Convention this afternoon.
Members of the Reagan High School band stopped rush hour traffic yesterday in front of the federal building in Austin, Texas, along with hundreds of advocates, community leaders, families and construction workers, as they celebrated the Workers Defense Project’s (WDP's) biannual Day of the Fallen.
Twice a year, the Workers Defense Project (WDP) in Austin, Texas, celebrates the Day of the Fallen through an action march and rally. On Wednesday, Feb. 27, more than 600 community supporters, activists, advocates and construction workers are expected to attend and join in the call for good, safe jobs for Texas construction workers. The WDP and community allies will meet at the state Capitol in Austin and show elected officials why people working in construction deserve more than low pay and few benefits.
The nation’s broken immigration system is creating a crisis for workers and employers in the Texas construction industry. A new study by the Workers Defense Project (WDP) and the University of Texas finds that as many as half of the Lone Star State’s construction workers may be undocumented. Says WDP Executive Director Cristina Tzintzun:
Our immigration policies are broken. They’re not working for businesses, they’re not working for our workers and they’re not working for our state.
Unions and organizations that advocate for workers are teaming up to improve the conditions of all workers in Texas. The Workers Defense Project and the Texas State Building and Construction Trades Council have seen quite a bit of success in their collaboration on behalf of the working families of the Lone Star State.
Construction workers and others in the Austin, Texas, area are celebrating a coalition victory this week after Travis County commissioners approved a first-ever economic development policy that includes a living wage requirement.
The policy requires contractors asking for tax incentives to move into the county to pay all employees at least $11 per hour. It’s a significant improvement over the prevailing construction hourly wage of $7.50.