Just about every union in Texas participated in the march and rally in Austin on April 6. The Texas Organizing Project, a big community group, also had a sizeable contingent. Jobs with Justice did not have a separate contingent, but we helped build the march in a number of ways. Since Communications Workers unions, including the Texas State Employees Union, use JwJ signs, we must have appeared to be the biggest entity at the march.
There were 59 buses arriving in Austin that morning. Probably 17 of them came from Dallas-Ft Worth. The state workers initiated the April 6th idea by making it their regular "lobby day." They had at least 5 buses. The Communications Workers, both Dallas' 6215 and Ft Worth's 6201, sent a number of buses. Teamsters 745 in Southern Dallas had their own bus.
We arrived by 11 AM at Waterloo Park, 12th & Trinity in Austin. Around 11:30 we began snaking around the blocks to make a lusty march of 8-10 blocks length. Each file of marchers stretched from curb to curb. We ended up at the Southern (Main) entrance to the Capitol building. Union leaders, political figures, and (surprise!) a representative of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce told the thousands of participants that the $23 billion in cuts passed by the Texas House would be ruinous to our state.
April 6 was originally selected by the Texas State Employees Union as their lobby day. Later on, the Texas Forward coalition, which includes Jobs with Justice and most of the progressive organizations in Texas, adopted the same date for coalition activities. The TSEU union actually started Jobs with Justice in Texas when they called for all Communications Workers and supporters to come to Nacogdoches in 1987 to support an organizing drive among cafeteria workers at Stephen F Austin college. The organizing committee there was led by Mike Gross, who participated in the April 6th march as President of the Texas State Employees Union.
Texas' April 6th march was actually part of a nationwide mobilization that occurred mostly on April 4th. Over 1,000 protests took place as the most remarkable workers' upsurge of our lifetime continues. Texas AFL-CIO Communications Director Ed Sills, who estimated the crowd at 6,000, invites people to look at these web pages for more photos:
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