The Texas AFL-CIO began its convention at the Sheraton, union organized, hotel in Irving on July 16.
Kenny Winfree of UAW Local 848 sang the national anthem.
Welcoming speeches were given by Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano, Tarrant AFL-CIO President T.C. Gillespie, and Dallas AFL-CIO President Gwen Dunivent. President Becky Moeller began giving the 350 delegates and guests an update on labor in the state, but stopped so that National AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumpka could address the convention via video. Trumpka congratulated workers on the work we did in the last elections. It “Helped give us an opportunity, for the first time in a long time to reshuffle the political deck that’s been so badly stacked against us.”
He talked about the wretched job market in America. he said, "The American people don’t deserve this, we deserve better, and those of you who work for a living sure as heck aren’t responsible for the mess we’re in....“you’ve been setting productivity records... Instead of going to the people who produced that productivity, it’s been going to the people at the very top.”
Trumpka stressed the importance of the Employee Free Choice Act, but also talked about the need for decent health care reform. He said, “What could be simpler, and what could be more American?” “This is our historic moment. This is our chance to make change that our families can believe in.”
Trumka made the problem clear: "There’s no way to sugar coat this… It’s easy to see what’s at the heart of our economic problem. Wall Street financiers… have basically abandoned their allegiance to America.”
Trumka asked the Texans to support him and his running mates for the top leadership of the national organization. He said, “I pledge to unite the labor movement for our cause is greater than any one of us.... Together we can demand that corporate America pledge allegiance to us!"
Trumpka's presentation drew a good response, but State Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio really fired up the crowd. She stressed the importance of the 2010 state elections. Whoever is elected will control the next round of redistricting in 2011. She emphasized the importance of union activists in elections and said, “We will win or lose the next election based on the elbow grease and shoe leather of the people in this room right now!”
Danny Trull of the United Auto Workers updated the crowd particularly about the strike against Bell Helicopter by UAW Local 218. He said that there have been eleven incidents of picketers being hit by automobiles. "Yesterday, two of our brothers had to go to the hospital." No agreement is in sight yet, Trull said.
Brother TC Gillespie then made a motion to "pass the hat" for UAW 218.
After lunch, delegates heard a complete update on legislation that recently passed, failed, or is still pending. Becky Moeller then introduced Boyd Richie, Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. Richie stressed upcoming election work. Afterward, the delegates divided into different committee meetings. Two days of convention remain.
Delegates raised $2,226 to help the strikers at UAW 218