Months after progressive state lawmakers in Texas staged a mass walkout to protest voter suppression legislation introduced by radical-right politicians, the labor movement, including the Machinists Union and the Texas AFL-CIO, are mobilizing around the state in a bid to beat back another conservative plot to pass the controversial bill.
“Voting and freedom are sacred pillars of our republic and they’re crucial to upholding democracy,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Any attempt to thwart those rights must be strongly opposed by the hard working middle-class families of Texas. If it’s voting rights today, then it will be anti-worker laws tomorrow.”
The legislation, now known during a special legislative session as Senate Bill 1, would end drive-through and 24-hour voting, as well as add draconian voter ID requirements. The bill would give more rein to partisan poll watchers and allow officials to scour state records in an elaborate and unjustified search for non-citizen voters.
But Machinists Union members in Texas and nationally have pledged to work with the state’s AFL-CIO to educate union households, lobby lawmakers and build political momentum aimed at stopping SB 1.
“The fight against voter suppression and to preserve our democracy is a union fight, and we are proud to stand in solidarity with IAM on this issue,” said Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy. “The commitment of President Martinez and the IAM to do whatever it takes to protect our right to vote makes the entire labor movement proud. As we organize our opposition, IAM leadership is making a real difference.”
Conservative Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing for passage of SB 1 during a special legislative session that began on Thursday, July 8. Hearings on the bill will begin Saturday, July 10.