Local 13-243, Beaumont, TX

About Us

 The USW is a dynamic and diverse union of 1.2 million working and retired members throughout the United States and Canada working together to improve jobs, our workplaces and provide a better future for our families and society as a whole. The USW has grown strong through organizing and mergers and is now the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in almost every sector of the economy: from metals and mining and manufacturing to health care and other services.

Local labor unions here in Beaumont, Texas have a long and interesting history. The first refinery workers’ local in Texas was chartered in May of 1913. That local was located in Beaumont. Other local unions quickly started to spread throughout the Gulf Coast region during 1916-17. In the year 1918, at the Magnolia Refinery, both black and white workers stood together for fair wages. Together, they marched the main streets of Beaumont. The Magnolia workers were the first in history to shut down a refinery during a two week strike in the summer of 1918. The strike ended after two weeks with a 5¢ per hour raise. Of course 5¢ looked good in those days.

Still challenged with discrimination about fifteen years later, Local 229 was chartered. In December of 1934, Daniel C. Broman stood in Washington fighting for fare wages. At only 48¢ per hour set as the minimum wage, many blacks were only getting just over 38¢ per hour.

In 1942, F.H. Mitchell and R.T. “Bucky” Aylor were sent to Beaumont to help reorganize the Union in an effort to hold Magnolia accountable and force them to live by the laws. In 1944 the Union finally won. In 1945, 600 Members were awarded back pay totaling $250,000 averaging over $415 per person. This was a huge accomplishment.

In October of 1933, Local 243 was chartered. The local quickly gained a majority at Magnolia refinery. Over the years many labor battles have been fought. Black and white workers have joined in a common cause; to end discrimination, get fair wages and have safe places to work. The oil company has since changed ownership but Local 243 has stood strong and become a very solid force in the civic life of Beaumont.

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