Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Historical Note

Scope and Contents

Organization

Restrictions

Index Terms

Separated Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I. Administration, 1980-1991

Series II. Publications, 1983-1992

University of Texas Arlington

Texas State Employees Union/Communications Workers of America Records, Local 6186:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Texas State Employees Union/Communications Workers of America, Local 6186.
Title: Texas State Employees Union/Communications Workers of America Records, Local 6186
Inclusive Dates: 1980-1992
Abstract: The Texas State Employees Union (Communications Workers of America, Local 6186) has two full-time lobbyists in Austin working to influence legislators to vote for the union’s goals and initiatives. The union and lobbyists also receive backing from the Texas AFL-CIO. In 1992, membership in Texas was 6,618 members. Perennial issues with TSEU are maintaining staffing levels, promoting salary increases, keeping members’ health insurance costs low, and promoting personal rights such as privacy, protection from liability, and payment for overtime. The collection includes correspondence, forms, newspaper clippings, manuals, newsletters, and brochures. The correspondence is primarily between TSEU members concerning recruitment. The official actions of the executive committee and their efforts at election show the inner political dynamics of the organization. Forms are included that were used for membership application, surveying members for insurance information, and other operations. The newspaper clipping file contains photocopies of relevant news articles that detail the issues of the union and its members, 1990-1992. The manuals used for organizing, training, and maintaining the union demonstrate procedures followed by the union membership. The brochures are designed to motivate and encourage members while attracting new members to the organization. The newsletters document goals and political action by the union.
Identification: AR396
Extent: 1 linear ft.
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Historical Note

The Texas State Employees Union/Communications Workers of America, Local 6186 has two full-time lobbyists in Austin working to influence legislators to vote in such a way that the union's goals and initiatives will be favorably affected. The union and the lobbyists also receive backing from the Texas AFL-CIO. In 1992, membership in the state of Texas among approximately 180,000 state employees was 6,618, up from the 1987 membership of 4,000.

Perennial issues with TSEU are maintaining staffing levels, promoting salary increases, keeping members' health insurance costs low, and promoting personal rights such as privacy, protection from liability, and payment for overtime. In November of 1987, the union was successful in its suit claiming unfair invasion of privacy against the Mental Health Mental Retardation Agency. MHMR was requiring employees to take polygraph tests, and the court agreed that this was not appropriate for that agency, banning MHMR's use of lie detector tests as a requirement for employment or to retain employment. TSEU was also successful in the legislature in 1987, with several important victories.

Lawmakers agreed with the union's position when they cut back on privatizing state projects by contracting outside instead of using state employees. Legislators also decided not to close the Austin State Hospital, after strong appeals from union leaders. The state increased its participation in employees' health insurance costs and raised salaries 2% across the board while agreeing to study clerical job descriptions and classifications. The 1987 achievements added up to the single most successful year for the period covered by this collection.

Jobs With Justice, a nationwide coalition of labor unions, churches, civil rights and women's organizations, community groups, elected officials and other citizens, targeted Stephen F. Austin University for a demonstration in November 1987 because of the university's treatment of food service workers. The administration contracted with a food service company, who hired all the people who had worked for the state before the contract was let. At that time, the company informed the workers that they no longer had the rights of state workers to organize, but when the union began a private organization, the company told the workers they were not private employees either. Inflamed union leaders and Jobs With Justice leadership agreed to demonstrate, and buoyed by the successful year in Texas, members flocked to Nacogdoches from all over the state. Over 2,000 demonstrators protested both the actions of the university administration and the food service company.

The North Texas membership showed its strongest support in April 1989 when they took two busloads of demonstrators to Austin on Lobby Day. They went specifically to lobby the legislature for pay raises, cutting contracts for state jobs, and ensuring fair grievance procedures. Union members claimed victory when lawmakers voted for a 5 percent pay raise and only $10 per month increase in health insurance premiums instead of the $163 increase that was forecast. The legislators also approved hiring of 1,820 new workers during fiscal year 1990. "Two years ago, when we had 600 members in DHS [Department of Human Services], the legislature gave us 400 new workers. Now that we have recruited over 1,000 members, they turn around and give us 1,800 for the first year," commented activist Gail Hortick of San Antonio DHS.

Sources:


  • Action!, Texas State Employees Union newsletter, September 1987-February 1989. North Texas area TSEU.
  • CWA, Legislation, Politics, and Workers, 1988. Prepared by CWA Training Department, M.E. Nichols, Executive Vice President.
  • CWA News, August 1986-March 1989. CWA, AFL-CIO, CLC, Washington, D.C.
  • Update, 1983-1992. CWA Local 6186, Austin, Texas.

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Scope and Contents

A historical record that is void of historical self-awareness is created by daily operations. This record is different from the one that would be made if the organization focused on documenting its history throughout its life. The TSEU allowed its operations to write its history instead of "creating an image" in its paper. The result is this collection of records, the innocent story told by day-to-day existence.

The records are organized in two series, the first being the Administration files, which are the union's inward manifestation, the way the union perceives itself. The correspondence, 1982-1989, is mostly between members, concerning recruitment. The official actions of the executive committee and their efforts at election show the inner political dynamics of the TSEU. There are forms used for membership applications, surveying members for insurance information, and other operations forms. The news clipping file contains photocopies of relevant news articles detailing issues of the union and its members, but the clippings cover only the last two years of the period covered by the entire collection. Finally, the manuals used for organizing, training, and maintaining the union show the procedures to be followed by union membership. The second series is Publications, representing the union's outward manifestation, the way the union wants to be perceived by others. The brochures are designed to motivate and encourage members while attracting new members to the organization. The newsletters document goals and political action by the union.

Duplicates of publications were discarded, but all other records are included in the collection. The materials in each folder were rearranged in chronological order where possible, and the folders within each series are in alphabetical order, as named by the processing archivist.

The Texas State Employees Union/Communications Workers of America, Local 6186, Records may reflect an intriguing dichotomy compared to a similar union in a state with no right-to-work laws. There is no massive movement or overpowering union action because of the apathy of prospective members and probable weariness of long-time members. TSEU is a study in tenacity, refusing to be defeated by being ignored or criticized. The TSEU may not be a major piece of union life in America, but it is an interesting nugget of dedication to the tenets of organized workers.

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Organization

The Texas State Employees Union/Communications Workers of America, Local 6186, Records are organized into two series:
Series I. Administration, 1980-1991. 0.75 linear ft. (2 document boxes)
Series II. Publications, 1983-1992. 0.25 linear ft. (6 folders)

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Restrictions

Access

Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

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Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Organizations
Texas State Employees Union--Records and correspondence.
Subjects
Labor unions--Organizing--Texas.
Government employee unions--Texas.
Alternate Titles
Texas Labor Archives

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Separated Material

Duplicates of publications were discarded

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Administrative Information

Citation

Texas State Employees Union/Communications Workers of America Records, Local 6186, AR396, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.

Acquisition

Gift, 1992.

Accessioned as number 92-45.

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Container List

 

Series I. Administration, 1980-1991
Extent 0.75 linear ft. (2 document boxes)

Arranged alphabetically. Documents, forms, correspondence detailing facets of regular operation of the union.
Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence, September 1982-September 1989.
2 Executive Committee & Elections, August 1981-November 1991.
Minutes, agendas, posters, petitions pertaining to actions and election of the executive committee.
3 Forms, undated
Membership application, insurance survey, other various forms needed for regular operation.
4 News Clips, 1980-1991.
Contains photocopied clips of newspaper articles related to state employees' issues and union activities both within and outside of Texas.
5 News Clips, 1980-1991.
Contains photocopied clips of newspaper articles related to state employees' issues and union activities both within and outside of Texas.
6 General Assembly Manual, September 30, 1988.
TSEU's annual convocation manual, held in Austin, Texas.
7 Organizers Training Manual, undated
General instructions for organizers
8 Organizing Manual, undated
Organizing program.
9 Organizing Manual, undated
Organizing program
10 Organizing School, undated
Prospective members organizing school.
Box Folder
2 1 Political Manual, 1988.
Describes political action initiatives of CWA.
2 Stewards Manual, undated
Duties and procedures for stewards.
3 Stewards Manual, undated
Duties and procedures for stewards.
4 Political Action, 1980-1991.
Contains evidence of political action carried on by the union. There are agendas of meetings that planned specific political actions in addition to codes targeted for political action. There is publicity from candidates for political office who were seeking the support of the union's members, and candidate questionnaires from the union.
5 Publicity, September 1983-July 1991.
Contains news releases, media contact lists, petition, posters.
6 Reports, February 1984-April 1991.
Contains legal opinions, insurance rates, health benefits surveys.
7 Reports, February 1984-April 1991.
Contains legal opinions, insurance rates, health benefits surveys.
8 State Statutes, December 1983-September 1985.
Contains employment-related statutes.

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Series II. Publications, 1983-1992
Extent 0.25 linear ft. (6 folders)

Arranged alphabetically. Official publications of the union, including recruitment, advertisement, and information publications, such as newsletters.
Box Folder
3 1 Brochures, undated
Contains brochures designed for distribution to union members.
2 Newsletters, 1986-1991
Contains newsletters from various unions in the United States.
3 Action!, Texas State Employees Union newsletter, September 1987-February 1989.
Published by North Texas area TSEU.
4 CWA News, August 1986-March 1989.
Published by CWA, AFL-CIO, CLC, Washington, D.C.
5 CWA News, August 1986-March 1989.
Published by CWA, AFL-CIO, CLC, Washington, D.C.
6 Update, 1983-1992.
Published by CWA Local 6186, Austin, Texas.

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