20+ Austin area unions oppose strong mayor proposal | KLBJ-AM

More unions in central Texas join a strong Austin mayor proposal.

More than a slew of local unions say they don’t want the city to adopt the strong mayor’s system proposed by the relatively new Austinites for Progressive Reform (APR) group.

APR is pushing for a number of proposals, including efforts to transform the Austin government from the current 10-1 council system into a strong mayor system. But Austin Central Labor Council’s Jason Lopez says they cannot stand behind this supposed ongoing change, suggesting that it would begin with consolidating some of the city government’s power in the mayor’s office. “We reject these constitutional changes because they are not a real democratic reform. Each is part of a strategy developed by a small group of people to concentrate power in fewer hands when wealthy elites flock to our city. “

Among the other proposals from APR is the move if Austinites vote for mayor during the presidential election.

Granting of Democracy Dollars, with which the residents receive vouchers for the candidate of their choice.

Introduced a ranked voting system when the state of Texas allows it to do so to abolish runoff elections.

APR claims adopting any of these proposals would make it a more democratic city. The unions say these other parts of the proposal are merely masking an attempt to consolidate power in the city into one position and give it the veto power. They say this would also weaken the political strength of the council members and represent a major step backwards as the city only introduced the 10-1 council system about 10 years ago.

Official statements from union leaders:

Krissy O’Brien, organizer of AFSCME Local 1624: “Below 10-1 we have them
Family First maximized the living wage for full-time and temporary workers
The Coronavirus Response Act to help employees feel safer at work created civil rights
Office and worked to establish a fair and impartial investigative process for employees
Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation in the Workplace. We
made these significant gains for the working people due to the current balance of
Power on the city council and our ability to hold each of them accountable. A
The consolidation of power within the mayor’s office will weaken our progress and
hinder our representative democracy. “

“Austinites for Progressive Reform tell us that their reforms will be better for workers.
black and brown people and those involved in criminal justice. But work
Organizations, Representatives of the Eastern Crescent of Austin, and Criminal Justice
Supporters strongly oppose the strong mayor. I know I’ll be on the side of those who do
Work. “Says Selena Xie, president of the Austin EMS Association.

“It took the Austin people decades to pass a representative city government
empowers people of color, raises voters in every corner of our city and puts an end to one
System built on racism with the passage of 10-1. Community leaders worked hard on it
develop a truly democratic local government, but unfortunately there are a handful of wealthy elites
work hard and spend big bucks to reverse this progress during a pandemic and
Focus power in the hands of a strong mayor. We can’t let Austin move
backwards in service to the rich and powerful, so unions and other progressive ones
Organizations strongly oppose this veiled attempt to consolidate power and power
Silence communities of colors and important workers, ”said Jeremy Hendricks, a leader
with the Labor Union of North America (LiUNA).

“Our union has been at the forefront of expanding democratic rights
Low income color communities for decades, most recently in our work during the
historic US Senate race in Georgia, ”said UNITE HERE Local 23 Secretary
Treasurer Willy Gonzalez. “These misleading suggestions are meant to provide cover
a controversial organization and its real purpose: to take power from the voters and
our chosen advice, and place it in the hands of fewer people. We can’t go back
The days when a handful of people are in charge in Austin. “

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