The state of Texas has some of the greatest economic disparities in the nation. The Southwest Workers Union strives to close this gap by organizing low-income workers, families, and youth. Through their fight for economic and environmental justice, this member-based organization anchors the work of the Our Power Campaign in San Antonio, Texas.
The low-income communities of San Antonio face many issues related to labor and the environment. High security has criminalized migrant populations in the south, while trade policies have promoted the exchange of capital at the expense of workers and the environment. Corporate interests place hazardous waste sites and polluting facilities disproportionately in low income communities of color.
SWU has developed strong organizing around all of these issues. SWU works with frontline communities in the U.S. and Mexico to advocate for migrant rights. They have organized against toxic military facilities, such as the Kelly Air Force Base, and successfully defeated other environmentally damaging industries. These are just a few of the challenges SWU has taken on throughout the years.
Just Transition work
Aside from battling toxic industries, members of SWU have also worked to establish roots in their communities by developing food security. After defeating the proposal for a fuel storage tank in a predominantly Black neighborhood, SWU launched the Roots of Change community garden. Another youth-led community garden is also being developed.
SWU is also working with the residents of the small town of Hondo for environmental justice. The Nuestra Voz (Our Voice) campaign pushes for a just transition by demanding the removal of toxic industrial communities, a revitalization of Hondo neighborhoods, good jobs that provide a just, sustainable living, and more. Nuestra Voz has already facilitated a new low-income housing project, achieved infrastructure improvements, and secured higher wages for city workers, among other victories.
Visit their website and follow them on social media to learn more about the great work the Southwest Workers Union is doing: