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Workers Cheer Living Wage Victory in Austin

Workers Defense Project. Photo by John Anderson, The Austin Chronicle

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.

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Humor, Twitter Can Build Audiences for Labor’s Message

Justin Krebs of Living Liberally and Negin Farsad, comedian and filmmaker

Instead of getting angry over labor issues, have fun and project that fun through social media, two nationally known progressives told an audience of activists at Texas AFL-CIO headquarters.

Justin Krebs, a “political and cultural entrepreneur” who co-founded Living Liberally and wrote 538 Ways to Live, Work and Play Like a Liberal, and Negin Farsad, a comedian and filmmaker named one of the “50 Funniest Women” by Huffington Post, said humor and the use of networks like Twitter can reach people who might not have been disposed to listen to a drier union message.

“Comedy can be a Trojan horse, in a way,” Krebs said, during a workshop held as part of labor’s “Work Connects Us All” activities during the South by Southwest music, film and interactive festivals in Austin.

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