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Volunteers with North Texas Jobs with Justice met at 7 PM on February 14 at Oak Cliff Methodist, 547 E Jefferson in Dallas. Valentine's Day and severe cold cut into our turnout, but not our enthusiasm. Our number one priority is the right to organize. We stand up for union organizing, community organizing, church organizing, civil rights organizing, and everything else that enables ordinary Americans to realize their own goals.
National Jobs with Justice is participating in a week of action February 19-23, while congresspersons are home in their districts. We want all of them to sign on to the Employee Free Choice Act, which is a priority for America's unions. It would make it possible to carry out a national organizing drive on the scale not seen since the 1930s. People can sign an on-line petition at http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/signthe_EFCA. Those who are really eager to get started might consider copying the language and making up their own paper petition to get signatures at every meeting, as we are doing.
The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was introduced in the U.S. House on February 5th as HR 800. It would allow employees to freely choose whether to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation, provide mediation and arbitration for first contract disputes and establish stronger penalties for the violation of employee rights when workers seek to bargain collectively. The Employee Free Choice Act will help fix the broken process through which workers form unions. Currently, the government lets employers have a free hand to harass and fire union supporters. Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures show a continuing slide in union density. The Employee Free Choice Act will help turn that around.
Organizing is the solution to most problems, including the crisis in immigrants' rights. Unions and civil rights groups will be much stronger and capable to fighting off the reactionaries if they have more members. Our group had a thorough discussion of new developments in this important fight to keep the working class together despite all attempts to divide us. There are national plans for activities in April and May, but March 31 would make a good target date for activities here. Farmworker organizer and national hero Cesar Chavez was born on March 31, and celebrations are already planned in Ft Worth. We projected the idea of building events in Dallas and elsewhere that would lead into the Ft Worth march.
Meanwhile, State Representative Rafael Anchia has joined with Texas big business to try to squash state anti-immigrant legislation. They want to leave it where it belongs, at the federal level. A state representative in Irving, we were told, wants to eliminate bilingual education in Texas. The State Legislature also has many other racist bills pending. Activists here are mobilizing for the May 12 elections to oppose anti-immigrant attacks at the local level as in Farmers Branch.
Elaine Lantz and Howard Harraldson have made major headway in moving our North Texas organizing committee forward into an official chapter of the National Jobs with Justice. We voted in the last of the necessary by-laws and regulations for our future functioning. What remains is to formally sign up the many unions and other organizations that have already committed to sponsor the chapter. Organizations pay a nominal amount for sponsorship and then take seats on an Executive Committee to control the group. Individuals who commit to a voluntary $25/year will also be represented on the Exec. All activists, paying or not paying, will continue to be welcome at all JwJ meetings and activities.
Next meeting on the Second Wednesday, March 14, 7 PM, Oak Cliff Methodist.
Please join us!
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