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.
The Austin, Texas, worker center Workers Defense Project worker center (WDP) celebrates its 10th anniversary later this month of battling against wage theft, spotlighting the dangers and winning reforms of the Texas construction industry and standing up for workplace justice and immigrants’ rights.
An in-depth article in the current issue of The Austin Chronicle traces the history of the WDP worker center, from its 2003 inception as a one-person staffed operation, helping low-income, mostly immigrant Austin workers pursue wage theft claims, to its present day incarnation as an influential 1,000-member force and partner with the union movement in the championing of workers’ rights, especially in the construction industry, with an estimated 60% Latino workforce.