Texas was the very first state in the union to pass a “right to work” law making it illegal for union contracts to mandate that all of a company’s workers join a union or at least pay dues to one.

It did this in 1943, four years before Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act, affirming states could pass such laws. Texas remains synonymous with Big Business conservatism today.

Nevertheless, the AFL-CIO apparently thinks the ground has shifted in the Lone Star State enough to make a serious organizing push there worthwhile.

AFL-CIO general counsel Craig Becker laid out the thinking in a Friday interview with the liberal magazine Nation:

“The (American Federation of Teachers) has come to us and said, ‘We want you to convene other unions to make a long-term investment in Texas,” said Becker.  “We’re going to do it.”

Citing “the demographics and potential political change,” Becker add that “there’s a long-term strategic possibly, if we can bring enough unions into that arena, which could be really extraordinary both politically and organizationally.”

Although Becker doesn’t specifically say it, by “demographics” he is presumably referring to the growing Latino population in Texas. Big Labor has had considerable success nationally in organizing that community in recent years.

Becker’s comments indicate they think that population has now grown large enough for unions to get a foothold in Texas. Many in the Democratic Party and in the liberal movement are thinking the same thing.

Unsurprisingly, union groups are major supporters of the current immigration reform push in Congress