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The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1977 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 69, No. 10 May 20, 1977 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForumAdvocate. EDITOR Jim Hightower MANAGING EDITOR Lawrence Walsh EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger 0 ASSISTANT EDITOR: Luther Sperberg STAFF ASSISTANTS: Laura Eisenhour, Susan Reid PRODUCTION MANAGER: Lois Rankin CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Wade Roberts, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Rod Davis, Steve. Russell A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because this is a journal of free voices. BUSINESS MANAGER Cliff Olofson OFFICE MANAGER Joe Espinosa Jr. ADVERTISING Jeff Reynolds Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Publication no. 541300. years, $25. Foreign, except APO/FPO, $1 additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer 600 West 7th Street Austin, Texas 78701 512-477-0746 7043W7:7 O 0 Working people Austin An editor of Fortune magazine was in the Observer office a few weeks ago, soaking up background for an article on the “sun belt.” He wondered why so many national corporations were moving to Texas, and he postulated that it had something to do with the wives of executives insisting on sunnier climes. We suggested that it might have more to do with the state’s cheap and largely unorganized work force, its repressive labor laws, and a line of governors \(from Coke Stevenson to Dolph dozen and boast they are doing the workers a favor. Our state’s economic development policy is based on the old trickle-down theory: help the few get rich and then watch as the many make’ a little, too at least enough to keep them quiet. Briscoe and other state officials are preoccupied with maintaining a “favorable business climate” to lure large corporations to Texas. It works: in the past five years, nearly 1,400 new plants have opened here, many of them branches of the nation’s corporate elite. And the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas reports that over the next three years, more plant construction starts will be made in Texas than in any other five states combined. Fantus Company, a Dun and Bradstreet subsidiary that helps corporations relocate, conducted a 1976 survey to determine the “best” business climate in the country from a corporate perspective. Texas has it. The fifteen factors taken into account the factors studied were labor considerations: legislation favorable to management, legal coverage concerning strikes, state regulation of labor unions, unemployment compensation tax rates, and the average workmen’s compensation tax rate. Fantus found a near absence of union influence in Texas. State officials turn the powerlessness of working families into a selling point when making their pitch to out-of-state firms. Current publications of the Texas Industrial Commission, a twelve-member body appointed by the governor to shill for Texas, stress that the state prohibits union security contracts, that Texas wages are lower, and that corporations here pay the third lowest unemployment compensation tax in the country. Over the last couple of years, the commission has spent thousands of tax dollars to place full-page ads in national business magazines to let the business world know that the low wages and hard work of Texas laborers yield a profit of $4.07 for every dollar Texas firms pay their employees. So come on down, y’all! State officials offer working people to industry in the same breath as low taxes, cheap land and a good highway system. The industrial commission refers to workers as “raw material” and pushes a program called “profitrain” for recruiting and shaping this commodity to the specifications of the target firm: “We’ll [taxpayers] hire the best industrial instructors available, buy all the materials and training aids, bring in special programs on closed-circuit TV, print up the training manuals, pay the utilities whatever you need. It’s all done to your specifications, but at our [taxpayers’] expense and the expense of the trainees. Because they’ll undergo the whole training program on their own time, without pay.”