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Updated: Workers Union Files Federal Lawsuit Against Northside ISD

Northside ISD

Update: (9:30 a.m.) Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez, who is hearing the case, denied the Texas Workers Alliance restraining order against Northside ISD in reference to the specific incident cited.

The restraining order was seeking the restraining order to allow TWA member Alma Benavides to distribute organization materials at an employee organization day on May 6.

Benavides said that she was not allowed to distribute material on the April 1 incident at the bus facility and was worried her employment was in jeopardy. The TWA filed for the restraining order on April 30.

Rodriguez cited a failure to show that Northside intended to prevent Benavides from distributing such materials at the May 6 event, and said the group did not file the order in enough time for Northside to respond before the event, given that the group was aware of the concern since April 1.

Original Post: (8:59 a.m.) The Texas Workers Alliance, a union for non-teaching employees led by Guillermo Vazquez, is claiming Northside Independent School District is in violation of its First Amendment rights to distribute union information to employees.

Vazquez claims the district called Helotes police to remove union members when they were talking to workers at a school bus parking facility on April 1.

"The district is still using police and even supervisor vehicles to park them adjacent to the exits where workers leave the premises to intimidate them from collecting union literature," Vazquez said.

"What they didn’t tell you was that they were parking themselves at entrances to parking lots where buses and cars are coming into the facility," said Northside ISD Spokesman Pascual Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said he did not know about the specific incident but that the district would call police if the activity created a safety hazard.

"As people are trying to turn in, they’re being asked to roll down their window to grab a flyer and that causes a backup on the main thoroughfare," Gonzalez said.

Vasquez claims members of his group have also been stopped from distributing information at the schools. Vasquez said his group follows the rules and only attempts to talk to workers or distribute literature when the workers are off the clock.

Gonzalez said as of midday Wednesday, the district had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit.  

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.