Labor 101: Unions in the 21st Century

The Working Stiff Journal Labor 101 by Jackie Dana Vol. 2 #1, February 1999 Last time, “Labor 101” explained what unions are and how they function. In this issue we will explore the broader labor union movement and what workers can do to strengthen and promote the cause of labor. By their very nature unions denote the coming together of workers despite political and cultural identities. At the most basic level, employees realize that they share concerns with each other about working conditions, pay, benefits disciplinary matters and other issues. Unions are the best vehicle for improving our work conditions. Unfortunately, Texas doesn’t have the same tradition of strong unions as the Northeast and Midwest, and many workers in our state approach unions with distrust, fear or disdain, believing that joining a union will accomplish nothing but brand them as troublemakers and get them fired. Making matters more difficult for labor organizers, Texas is a “right to work” state, which … Read more…

CLEAT Walks a Beat in the House of Labor

The Working Stiff Journal Spotlight on Labor Vol. 2 #1, February 1999 by Jackie Dana Despite the historic use of the police against labor unions and the politically conservative nature of law enforcement, CLEAT, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas has challenged such contradictions to become the state’s largest union of police officers and a political powerhouse in less than twenty-five years. CLEAT was formed in 1976 by former members of the Texas Municipal Police Association. Arguing that the TMPA was reluctant to consider itself a union, CLEAT founders Ronald G. DeLord and John Burpo wanted an organization that was less conservative when it came to labor matters. From the start, CLEAT pushed for full legal representation, collective bargaining, and a more confrontational style of organization. In its first year it signed up 600 members, and two years later it could boast 3,000. In 1992 CLEAT became affiliated with the AFL-CIO as Local 6911 of the Communication Workers of … Read more…