Jobs and Labor

  • Blogs

    October 31, 2014

    Ex-Fire Union President Erased His Computer Weeks Before He Quit

    The tumultuous back-and-forth between the local fire union and the Parker administration was punctuated last month by the abrupt resignation of Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association president Bryan Sky-Eagle, just 11 months into a three-year term. Discord within the ranks over Sky-Eagle s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 4, 2014

    Breaking Down The Numbers Of J.J. Watt's New Deal

    "Part of the negotiation piece is to ensure that we structure the deal in such a way that we protect ourselves as best we can with respect to (cap)." -- Rick Smith on J.J. Watt's contract extension With the Texans having spent the better part of the last four years pushed right up against the salar ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 20, 2014

    J.J. Watt Finally Speaks About A New Contract

    "You've got guys in the Hall of Fame that have been franchised in back-to-back years. The franchise tag is worth something to the team, and you can't be afraid to use it." -- Bob McNair, 8/8/14 Intentional or unintentional on the part of Bob McNair, if you're looking for a salvo that may have led t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 27, 2014

    NCAA Must Be Worried College Football Players Won Bid to Unionize

    After decades of exploiting football players as highly inexpensive labor, the clock may be officially ticking on the NCAA. Last year, it was the class action lawsuit settled out of court between college football players (past and present) and EA Sports for video game royalties. The Ed O'Bannon law ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 24, 2014

    Green Says He's Backing Law to Protect LGBT Workers, But Not Ready to Sign

    A move to speed up legislation to ban LGBT workplace discrimination is being spearheaded through a letter last week urging President Barack Obama to issue an executive order. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been gaining bipartisan support since last year when it passed the Senate. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 4, 2014

    Minimum-Wage Increase Could Mean Higher Restaurant Prices

    Last Tuesday during President Obama's State of the Union address, fast-food workers and their fellow minimum-wage workers were an important topic. Obama called for the minimum wage for federal workers to be raised from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. He also called for an increase in the minimum wa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2014

    Raising the Minimum Wage Would Reduce Poverty, the GOP Thinks "Tough Love" Is Better

    If you've been driving around in just about any major American city, you have probably seen strikes (of a sort) by fast-food workers -- who generally make minimum wage which is currently $7.25 per hour -- asking for a raise. And, inevitably, this has set off a political debate about whether we shoul ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 17, 2013

    The NBA's Weird Trade Rules Impacting How, When Rockets Deal Omer Asik

    Timelines in sports are a strange thing. While fans think of trade deadlines as ways to get excited about rumored swaps that include their favorite teams, mostly they are set by leagues based on paychecks and other mundane concepts. In the NBA, that includes all sorts of weird dates that are based o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 15, 2013

    OSHA Fines Tomball's Pigs Unlimited International Inc. for 19 Violations

    A Tomball company's fat is in the fire with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration, so to speak. The company, Pigs Unlimited International Inc., a foam and polyurethane pig manufacturer (we're talking about a piece of equipment sent up pipelines, not actual pig ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 10, 2013

    Maximus Coffee Workers Strike to Protest Planned Wage Cuts; Voodoo Queen Supports Strikers

    It still smells like coffee outside the Maximus Coffee Group plant on Harrisburg Boulevard in the Second Ward, but there's no smoke coming from the plant's exhaust chimneys, and no trucks are driving in and out of the complex carrying Maximus coffee. Ninety percent of the 250 unionized workers at M ... More >>

  • News

    June 13, 2013

    Chemically Burned: Dow Chemical Tries to Avoid Hot Water in Worker's Death

    Brian Johns suffered chemical burns over 65 percent of his body in a Deer Park plant explosion. A representative of his company, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, tried to tell doctors Johns had just encountered some really hot water.

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2013

    National Tour on Minimum Wage Tosses Houstonians Between Rocks and Hard Places

    Qvtaive Harris is 20 years old. He's slender, with knobby elbows and a small afro, wearing sharp white pants and a teal shirt from the Texas Organizing Project. He's sitting, surrounded by a half-dozen mothers, another half-dozen reporters, and a small woman from the Department of Labor. The women ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 24, 2012

    Houston's Austin Tice, Missing: The Most Dangerous Of Assignments -- Freelance Journalism In A War

    When Houston journalist Austin Tice left for Syria eight months ago to cover the country's devolution and nascent civil war, he melted into a country that has become, both anecdotally and statistically, the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist. He did it as a freelance reporter, pos ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 25, 2012

    Six Ways Telecommuting Is Better Than Business Travel

    I have had the fortunate pleasure to be someone who works from home for many years now. I gave up the idea of an office when I realized that most of the people who work for me don't live in the same city as I do and setting up an office space just for myself seemed a little sad and depressing. Plus, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 22, 2011

    NFL Owners Celebrate New CBA, Now They Just Need The Players To Sign It

    Or is it?​ "I'm pleased to report that the definitive agreement that we've negotiated with the union, the owners approved it today by a vote of 31, with one abstention, and I'm quite pleased. It's a 10-year agreement." -- Houston Texans owner Bob McNair on a conference call Thursday night I ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 22, 2011

    More NFL Owner Premature "Celebra-culation" As Lockout Rolls On

    ​So, the NFL owners ratified the proposed collective bargaining agreement on Thursday afternoon. Instead of following up that approval with a brief, measured statement from commissioner Roger Goodell (an appropriate follow-up since the deal is not done until the players approve it), the owners ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2011

    Curt Flood: The Story of a Well-Paid Slave

    Baseball's forgotten man​The man's name is Curt Flood. He spent a majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning multiple Gold Gloves for his superb defensive play. He was one of the outstanding baseball players of the 1960s. But when he's remembered nowadays, he's not remembe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2011

    Comment of the Day: Union Leaders, Corrupt and Not

    ​We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning, from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula involv ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 18, 2011

    City Selling Its Downtown HPD Headquarters, Preventing Jailer Layoffs

    For sale or lease: HPD HQ​Houston will look to sell or lease the downtown police headquarters as part of a deal that will keep HPD from having to lay off 273 jailers, Mayor Annise Parker announced today. The city and the HPD pension plan also agreed to allow the city to defer payment of $17 m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 27, 2011

    Summer Jobs: Top Five Ways to Get Employed

    Somebody's got to roll the burritos.​It's just about summertime, when the heat descends and the bugs surface, reminding you that you do actually live on a swamp. And if you're a teen, there's another thing a'coming to bite you in the butt -- the summer job search. This season will be no picni ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 1, 2010

    Janet Civitelli: How Not To Be Young & Recessioned

    ​Today's installment of Young & Recessioned features Janet Civitelli, associate director of career services at the University of Houston, who helps college grads find jobs in a toughened job market. When the economy is booming, you can have mediocre job search skills and still land a job. But ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 7, 2010

    Unions Take to the Barricades For Old Teachers

    Photo by Margaret Downing​Both the local AFL-CIO chapter and the Houston Federation of Teachers are urging a huge turnout at Thursday night's Houston ISD board meeting to protest planned layoffs of teachers and other district employees in an attempt to stop what one union leader calls "this insane ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 12, 2010

    Yes, Anastasia, You Too Can Cyber Land a Job in a Recession

    ​Pardon us, but we're about to impart some useful, seasoned knowledge on you. Don't get too accustomed to it, however. We'll return to our regularly scheduled programming of a wee bit of technology talk with a whole lot of intertwined innuendo in no time.But for today, we educate. Our topic? E ... More >>

  • News

    September 10, 2009

    Life, Post-Ike: A Full Recovery

    Just when it looked like UTMB might leave Galveston forever, local legislators saved it.

  • News

    May 14, 2009

    Mature Strippers and Lottery Money:

    Not coming to anywhere near you

  • Blogs

    March 25, 2009

    Some Thoughts On The Chronicle Cuts: So Long, Suburbs

    (Note: For a while, this item was posted with the wrong byline -- it's by Steve Olafson, not Richard Connelly, and always has been. Thanks, and sorry.)The layoffs at the Houston Chronicle cut much deeper into the editorial side of the newspaper than the announced company-wide 12 percent reduction th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 27, 2009

    Here's A Plan: Fewer People, More Work At The Chronicle

    The Houston Chronicle is having problems, like most big-city dailies, but it might get a whole lot worse. One of the latest rumors sweeping the San Francisco Chronicle would have the deskies in Houston handling headline writing, copy editing and layout for their ailing sister paper by The Bay. The o ... More >>

  • News

    November 13, 2008

    Bad Faith and Texas Mutual Insurance

    Houston attorney Mike Doyle and TMI are locked in a battle over truth, lies and an employee's right to workers' comp benefits.

  • News

    August 25, 2005

    Fool's Gold

    Desperate clients hand over thousands of dollars for a chance at a job

  • News

    January 15, 2004

    Moving Target

    The city is rolling out the welcome mat for CITGO. But many workers want the company to get lost.

  • News

    October 30, 2003

    Behind the Happy Face

    Labor pains flare in a worker's fight with Wal-Mart

  • News

    June 26, 2003
  • News

    June 19, 2003

    Taking the Plunge

    Saad Mahmoud is a Rice engineering grad. Instead of fielding $60,000-a-year job offers, he's been trading manual-labor skills for rent-free living -- while waiting out one of the worst job markets in two decades.

  • News

    April 17, 2003

    Pink Slip Exhibits

    When the cash-flush MFAH vows no layoffs, don't believe it

  • News

    May 30, 2002

    Bloody Monday

    For 14 workers of the struggling opera, the fat lady sings

  • News

    September 6, 2001

    Hard to Say Good-bye

    Economic woes hit the Chronicle, and job cuts are coming

  • News

    August 31, 2000

    CEO Mom

    To Penny Warner, home is where the work and children are

  • News

    July 6, 2000

    He's an Out-of-Comptroller!

    Former city tourism official accused of paying mom's nursing home bills out of agency funds

  • News

    May 11, 2000

    Workers Reject a Union

    A January walkout fails to bring representation to Quietflex

  • News

    February 24, 2000

    Awakening Giant

    Immigrant Hispanic workers at Quietflex spoke out. Now their struggle may reshape organized labor in Houston.

  • News

    August 26, 1999

    Affirmative Action for Whom?

    UH's score on the EEOC raises credibility questions

  • News

    July 1, 1999

    Circle Those Wagons!

    When the UH leader fired back atsex-bias accusers, did he shoot himself in the foot?

  • News

    June 17, 1999
  • News

    October 1, 1998

    Steel Reunion

    Union Tank Car vote reflects labor's rebound

  • News

    May 21, 1998

    (Pay)checks and (Im)balances

    Fat starting salaries! Hefty raises! HISD says its administrators deserve them.

  • News

    April 30, 1998

    The Mean Spirit of Texas?

    Two veteran TV news reporters accuse Channel 11 of age discrimination

  • Music

    August 14, 1997
  • News

    January 16, 1997

    Minimal Theories

    Despite the rhetoric, evidence on the minimum wage initiative isn't conclusive either way

  • News

    October 31, 1996


    Rent by charges of corruption and ineffective representation, Teamsters Local 988 may be driving itself to destruction

  • News

    May 9, 1996

    Beneath the Dogs

    A court victory for laid-off Latino workers spotlights the harsh conditions in Houston's surplus of small plastics plants

  • More >>