On the afternoon of May 29, North Texas Jobs with Justice set a picket line outside the offices of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce. They are located inside the Bank of America building. National Jobs with Justice has charged the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with coordinating the anti-worker campaign against the Employee Free Choice Act.
Activists from the religious community, Dallas Peace Center, and students from Denton joined a diverse number of union members including:
Our main chant was "Chamber of Commerce, no more lies! Workers have to organize!" We also did a lot of the old favorites. Two detectives watched us from the porch of the bank, and two squad cars insured our safety from across the street.
Two television cameramen came. Fox news shot the most footage but apparently used none of it. ABC news got confused about what we were doing and ran a 5-second blurb with an explanation that CWA needs a contract with AT&T. Mediawise, at least, we helped the Communication Workers, and that's a worthwhile contribution. So far in North Texas history, though, there has never been a positive news report concerning the Employee Free Choice Act.
Dallas City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano attended the rally at the end of our picket. Medrano, like many forward-thinking public servants, signed a card favoring the Employee Free Choice Act. She reminded us that her father, Pancho Medrano, missed very few public labor actions during his lifetime. With her was Karina Solis, her niece, and Pancho's great grandaughter. Karina was proud to be part of her first protest!
CWA organizer Sandy Rusher presented Councilwoman Medrano with 80,000 signatures demanding that AT&T act responsibly in their negotiations with the union. She has in mind some further activities concerning Employee Free Choice, as do the SEIU people who are organizing at Wal-Mart.