In 1997, Samsung received an $80 million tax abatement to build a plant in Austin, Texas amid the promise of “high paying jobs.” People were excited about the company coming to town and there was great buzz, but then they learned that most of the jobs would pay minimum wage. At a meeting of non-profits gathered to learn more about the Samsung jobs and to help them recruit, the company said that they also needed $1 million to train an advance group of 100 workers for six weeks. In addition to forgoing $80 million in tax revenue that this growing city needed, and creating an uneven playing field with direct competitors in the tech industry, now the city of Austin and Travis county were being asked to come up with an additional million dollars. This angered Fr. John Korcsmar, pastor of Dolores Catholic Church. He had come to the meeting in hopes of hearing how his parishioners could work one job to provide for their families instead of two or three. Angry that most jobs would pay minimum wage and that this was not what was promised, Fr. John Korcsmar stood up and said, “We will fight you on this!”
Willie Bennett – Co-Lead Organizer, The Metropolitan Organization(TMO) and Gulf Coast Leadership Council(GCLC)
Married to Rachelle Bennett – 30 years, three daughters, Mariah, Heather, and Candace
Education: Majors -Religion, Sociology, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor(1985), Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary(1989)
Work Experience – Organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation(IAF) 1993-2016 Lead Organizer of Austin Interfaith, Allied Communities of Tarrant(ACT), Dallas Area Interfaith(DAI), Co-lead of TMO (2015-present)
Bennett, Willie and Rev. John Ogletree
"IAF: Examples of Institutions Organizing on Behalf of Families,"
Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 7
, Article 9.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol7/iss1/9