People in downtown Austin and at City Hall just witnessed how powerful a message can be delivered when like-minded groups come together. Marching from Republic Square Park and rallying at Austin City Hall were carpenters, labor organizations, teamsters, elected officials, and other citizens, all of whom spent an afternoon determined to help an overlooked segment of the Austin labor force get the wages and respect they deserve.
The Central South Carpenters Regional Council coordinated the event in order to come to the aide of drywall hangers and metal stud framers (interior construction workers) who are being left out of Austin’s economic growth.
“A piece of drywall weighs the same in Austin Texas as it does in Los Angeles or San Diego. We should be making the same wages here as they are there,” said Jason Engels, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Central South Carpenters.
Research shows that there is at least a $40 per hour difference in the wages between Austin and LA/San Diego. The Rally was another step in getting that type of equality established in Austin. Central South Carpenters staff are hearing from Austin’s unrepresented carpenters directly and are talking with real workers at real job sites. They are learning - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that now is the time to join together to create better working and paying conditions for the Austin Interior Systems sector.
“Contractors are prospering equally around the country—why not Austin?” said Alex Ornelas Austin Area Manager for the Council. “The difference between ATX and every other area is that men and women stood together there, and demanded better wages, benefits, and working conditions. They succeeded by uniting together. It’s time for the carpenters whose knowledge, skill and hands build the wealth of this city to be properly compensated for their role in this prospering economy."
Information about The ATX Drywallers Unite! campaign can be found at YesWeCanATX.com.