Saturday was my first action with Workers Defense Project. Our Dallas office launched our campaign towards the developer Gables. We are asking Gables to sign a code of conduct with us that would guarantee rest breaks, living wages, job and safety training for all construction workers on their job sites, regardless of the sub-contractor. We launched the campaign in Austin before I arrived in WDP and held an action this weekend to “kick off” the campaign here in Dallas. About 150 people attended our action on Saturday, and of course, what stuck out to me was some of the differences between this action and others that I attended in HK.
Actions are almost always hot and sweaty. This “fun” fact seems to remain the same no matter how many thousands of miles the actions are away from each other. I guess I should organizing somewhere up north….
The issues are strikingly similar. The populations are different (men versus women), the languages are different (Tagalog/Bahasa versus Spanish), the cultures are different, but the exploitation remains the same. All over the world and in dozens of industries, men and women do not receive payment for the work that they perform. We call it different things, wage theft, debt bondage, labor trafficking, etc. and each circumstance happens a little differently, and the laws protect different things, but at the end of the day, every man and women deserves to be paid at the rate that they agreed to with their employer for the labor that they perform.
Solidarity is easier in Texas, but still absolutely key.
I also experienced another major shift. In HK, I was the newbie to actions, and on Saturday, multiple people told me that they “had never experienced anything like this.” (Luckily, I think it was a mostly positive experience for most people!) I felt honored to be a part of this first experience for many people, but even those comments served as reminders to me about how much mobilization work we still need to do!
So the Dallas Gables launch was merely my first action of many with WDP. It was fun and incredibly successful. Hopefully, you’ll join us at the next one!