Field Workers’ Union, County Settle Suit

Pioneer. Fort Stockton, TX. January 15, 1987. p3A

A potential court action stemming from a law suit filed by the International Union of Agricultural and Industrial Workers (IUAIW) against Pecos County Commissioners Court last summer has been settled.

Steve McIntyre, Texas Rural Legal Aid attorney in Hereford, said he filed a notice of dismissal of the case in December.

“I did not want to go in and fight it out…or embarrass anyone, McIntyre told the Pioneer, “and the county wanted to settle this the best way possible…so we did.”

The suit filed in 83rd District Court charged that the Commissioners’ Court violated the state’s Open Meetings Act, by conducting a closed door meeting to discuss a petition of grievances filed by the union in connection with the Ste. Genevieve vineyard and winery.

The suit alleged that there was no notice posted stating the petition would be considered and that the court minutes do not reflect that the presiding officer announced that the petition would be considered in a closed session.

McIntyre said this week that the county has agreed to “re-notice the grievance petition” and properly post it on the court’s agenda.

County Attorney W.C. “Bill” McDonald confirmed that the suit has been settled with no monetary consideration and that consideration of the grievance will be posted on the Jan. 12 agenda for the Pecos County Commissioners’ Court meeting.

McIntyre is expected to be present to discuss the particulars of the union’s grievances.

“We wanted to put the disagreement to rest and start over…and have it done right this time,” he said Tuesday. “By filing the notice of dismissal, we have done that, and the case against the county is over as far as we are concerned.”

The original complaint included allegations that the University of Texas System and Pecos County Sheriff Bruce Wilson may have been involved in “police intimidation” of the union.

McIntyre wanted records of the sheriff’s actions in connection with the union march in November 1985. Sheriff Wilson said no such records existed and could not, therefore, be produced.