Photo by J. .maw R. Compton, Hooka Retiring President Brown Senator Bentsen. “You support your friends and fight your enemies.” Evans said “labor will maintain a very independent position on Ben Barnes. For “independent,” read “hostile.” The executive committee report written by Evans makes it perfectly clear that Barnes, who is running for governor next year, will not find Evans as easy to court as he found Hank Brown. The 1971 legislative session was an especially dismal one for labor. The AFL-CIO strongly backed a corporate income tax, but it died in the upper house 15 to 16, despite the allegedly liberal Senate majority. Evans’ report pointed out that both the governor and lieutenant governor had indicated they favored a “balanced tax program,” but they heaped the vast majority of new taxes on consumers. “The senators and House members led by Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes and Speaker Gus Mutscher and the business lobby must face passage of this tax bill as a major issue in the election in 1972,” Evans wrote. “The fact of the matter is that the lobby still has more influence with the leaders of the Texas House and the Texas Senate than do the people. Even though we worked hard to elect the majority of the Senate, the lobby, through Lieutenant Governor Barnes, had more influence with many of those we helped elect than did our own members during the last session.” Evans went on to say, “We need to find a way to more forcefully bring the influence of our membership and the people of the state on the state Senate and House.” One can expect Evans next year to oppose labor endorsement of such candidates as State Sen. Don Kennard, who received what Evans termed “all-out support of the labor movement,” and then 6 The Texas Observer went ahead and sponsored Barnes’ consumer tax package in the Senate. THE CONVENTION passed a resolution saying it will “withhold any further support of Ben Barnes or any other person running for public office until such time as they establish fair employment practices regarding wages, hours and working conditions.” The resolution pointed out that “Ben Barnes has claimed to be a friend of Organized Labor, while behind the scenes he has an interest in a construction company \(Herman Bennett refuses to sign agreements with the various craft unions or to abide by wages and conditions established by the Building and Construction Trade Council and employs construction workers under substandard wages and conditions which tend to destroy the conditions and wages of all workers in the State of Texas.” \(Barnes has Evans beat Brown’s hand-picked successor, Harold Tate, 117,418 to 63,085, but Tate’s running mate for secretary-treasurer edged out Evans’ choice 88,2 0 9 to 80,839. The new secretary-treasurer is Harry Hubbard, formerly the political and legislative director for the state organization. Evans had hoped to have a completely new state leadership. \(During the campaign he said he would fire anyone on the state and Hank Brown have been pecking and scratching at one another for years, and it has made it difficult for the state organization to get much of anything done. In addition to their differences on political tactics, Brown and Evans have a personality gnash. Brown, a plumber, is gruff, outspoken, often , rude. In summing up his character, one union official in the Brown camp said, “Look, he’s personally obnoxious, but he knows power. And labor leaders don’t deal in influencing their members, they deal in power.” This is not to say that Brown, who is retiring at the age of 51 because of a severe back ailment, is an unappealing leader. He is an extremely effective speaker, and the fiesty, irreverent way he has chaired AFL-CIO meetings during the past decade have added a certain zest and EVANS IS A quiet, gentle man, who comes precariously close to being a pointy-headed intellectual. Hubbard has many of the same characteristics. Both he and Hubbard say they can work together. Evans’ choice for secretary-treasurer was Sherman Fricks, a natty dresser who is the business manager of the largest building trades local in the state, Houston Pipefitters Local 211. The two top AFL-CIO positions traditionally have been split by representatives of the old AFL and the old industrial unions. Evans is the first state president to serve from an industrial President Roy Evans trades union. Brown and his predecessor, Jerry Holleman, were both from the more conservative AFL. Fricks was to balance out the ticket. After the election, Evans said that since hd and Hubbard, a member of the OCAW, both have ties to the CIO, he will place a representative of the building trades in the state office. “We need a building tradesman to talk to building tradesmen,” Evans said. Fricks’ union affiliation was an underground issue during the convention. There were mumblings about the building trades being racist and about Fricks’ local having nary a black in it. “This is one of the really dirty rumors that has been circulating,” Evans said. He insisted that Fricks brought the first black man into his local in 1964 and that it now has a number of black and brown members. Fricks’ “attitude is very healthy on this subject,” Evans said. He added, however, that he would not try to defend the history of the construction unions in regard to racial discrimination. There were three candidates for secretary-treasurer. Henry Munoz, a co-director of the state organization’s human resources department, ran independently, forcing Hubbard and Fricks into a runoff. Munoz ran as a chicano and his main support came from predominantly chicano locals. In an emotional speech before the voting began, he said his wife and 11-year-old son had been cursed and insulted by a person who said, “That Mexican doesn’t have a Chinaman’s chance.” Almost in tears, Muhoz told the delegates, “I don’t want a Chinaman’s chance. I want a Mexican’s chance.” He got tremendous applause from the delegates, but he was destined to run a poor third. He received 17,367 votes to Hubbard’s 87,334 and Fricks’ 76,735. The convention ended on an amicable note. Roy Evans had promised he would have “something to say” on what the last ten years “had really been like” when the voting was over. Those who expected the speech to be a bitter one were disappointed. “Despite all of the trouble we supposedly had, we have always had respect for one another,” Evans said. “It’s always been interesting. There ain’t never been a better salesman for labor than Hank Brown.” K.N.
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