Monday, December 28, 2009

Mass Movement Needed to Raise Wages, Create Good Jobs for All

Jobs Crisis
Public Employee Press, January 2010
District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO

With the unemployment rate at 10 percent, workers are growing increasingly anxious over the disappearance of secure jobs with decent wages and benefits.

“Good jobs are the central economic issue of our times,” said DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts. “The high rate of unemployment is a wake-up call about the need to make the economy work better for ordinary people, not just the bankers and Wall Street elite.”

With a rebound of stock prices and modest economic growth, many mainstream economists are saying the Great Recession may be ending. But no recession is over until working people who want a job are back at work.

The jobs crisis facing our country is undeniable:

· one in five Americans is unemployed or underemployed, or has given up hope and stopped looking for work;
· only one job is available for every six Americans seeking work;
· unemployment now lasts for an average of six months, the longest since the 1930s, and
· when workers find a new job, it usually pays less than their old one.

Trade unionists, academics and religious and community activists gathered at the Interchurch Center on Riverside Drive Nov. 13 and at DC 37 Nov. 14 for a national conference on jobs. The National Jobs for All Coalition, a full-employment advocacy group, organized the conference with the support of DC 37 and other unions and organizations.

“...Change will not come about without a mass movement,” said Coalition Chair Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, who heads the Ph.D. program in Social Work at Adelphi University.

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To sign on to the Jobs Conference revised Call to Action -- visit National Conference to Create Living Wage Jobs

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jobs Crisis Charts

Source: Heires, Greg. Jobs Crisis, January 2010 Public Employee Press, DC 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Low-Wage Workers Make Up 31% of NYC Workforce

From the Center for an Urban Future

Low-Wage Jobs

This edition of New York by the Numbers shows that low- wage workers make up 31 percent of the city's adult workforce. The Bronx has the highest share of low-wage workers (42 percent), but Queens (with 34 percent of the adult workforce in low-wage positions) and Brooklyn (32 percent) aren't too far behind. The share of low-wage workers—as we define it, those making less than $11.54 an hour or $24,003 a year—is slightly lower in Staten Island (23 percent) and Manhattan (22 percent).

According to the analysis, the alarmingly high number of low-wage workers in the Bronx helps explain why Bronx residents and politicians recently opposed a plan for a new shopping mall at the Kingsbridge Armory that did not guarantee living wages to retail workers there.

Click here to read the study.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Support Gulf Coast Job Creation Bill!

Dear Friends,

December 10 is International Human Rights Day, the fifth International Human Rights Day since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. After five years, four regional disasters (Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike) and a new President, the United States government still has not taken the necessary steps to ensure the human rights of the survivors of our nation’s disasters.

As we look across the Gulf Coast we still see:

  • Tens of thousands of Katrina survivors unable to realize their right to return home.
  • Families living in toxic FEMA trailers struggling to find resources to rebuild their homes.
  • Over 2 million residents of coastal Louisiana increasingly vulnerable to future disasters an internal displacement due to coastal land loss and climate change.
  • Homelessness and rental housing costs rising while affordable housing projects grind to a halt with the crash of financial markets;
  • Communities still without vital medical facilities.
  • Many more survivors who can't find work at a living wage or training to finance their families' recovery and find their way out of poverty.

But we have a chance to let the Obama Administration know that such injustices must not continue in the United States of America.

Click here to support a plan to bring human rights home.

President Barack Obama launched an effort to reconsider how our country should respond to natural and man-made disasters. The President has tasked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead a Long Term Disaster Recovery Working Group. But that working group hasn't included many grassroots leaders representing low income, minority, and immigrant communities-the most vulnerable victims of the storms-in its early consultations.

A growing movement of Katrina survivors, local elected officials and community, faith-based, and human rights organizations is continuing to push the Administration and Congress to stand up for human rights and enact innovative policies to equitably restore Gulf Coast communities. But we need your help.

President Obama pledged to fix what the Bush Administration left undone after Katrina. But we need to pressure him to make good on his promise. Let’s tell the Obama Administration that we will not let another Human Rights Day pass without meaningful steps to recognize the rights of disaster survivors along America’s Gulf Coast and across the nation.

Click here to send your message to the Obama Administration.


Jeffrey Buchanan
Civic Works Campaign

PS The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project is the national effort to pass HR 4048: The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, which would create 100,000 jobs for Gulf Coast residents and evacuees to rebuild their communities.

Ask Your Congress member to co-sponsor HR 4048: The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act

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NJFAC Calls on President Obama to Invest in Direct Public Job Creation

An Open Letter to President Obama from the National Jobs for All Coalition

"Despite a multi-billion-dollar stimulus earlier this year, unemployment has continued to rise and is now double-digit. The Jobs Summit that you are convening is clear recognition of the gravity of this crisis. We write to urge that the Jobs Summit adopt a bold course of action to deal with current mass unemployment and, since unemployment and underemployment afflict millions of Americans, even in better times, to take steps toward assuring a living-wage job to all who want to work..."

"...President Obama, the American people await a big assault on unemployment from your Administration. It is not hard to predict what the midterm elections will bring if substantial reduction of unemployment does not occur by fall 2010. When you became President official unemployment was 7.6 percent; it was 10.2% in November, an increase of more than a third. The
Federal government spent $700 billion buying “troubled assets” to bail out financial institutions and nearly $800 billion to stimulate the economy. Why can’t we spend another $800 billion to give every officially unemployed worker the opportunity to work and provide billions of dollars of socially useful output?"

Read rest of letter

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Poll: Americans Want Government to Spend for Jobs, Send Bill to Rich

Americans Want Government to Spend for Jobs, Send Bill to Rich -
By Mike Dorning and Catherine Dodge

"Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Americans want their government to create jobs through spending on public works, investments in alternative energy or skills training for the jobless.

They also want the deficit to come down. And most are ready to hand the bill to the wealthy.

A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Dec. 3-7 shows two- thirds of Americans favor taxing the rich to reduce the deficit.

Even though almost 9 of 10 respondents also say they believe the middle class will have to make financial sacrifices to achieve that goal, only a little more than one-fourth support an increase in taxes on the middle class. Fewer still back cuts in entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare or a new national consumption tax."

"...The poll contains some of the features Obama announced in his jobs plan. Two-thirds of Americans back boosting spending on infrastructure. Six of 10 also support more spending on alternative energy to stimulate job growth, another measure Obama announced.

“The best thing we could do is take some public money to rebuild our infrastructure and improve it,” says poll respondent Richard Kellaway, 75, a Unitarian Universalist minister who lives in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Unemployed people “could be put to work in a matter of days.”

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Jobs! Jobs! A matter of national security

Jobs! Jobs! A matter of national security:

by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony
Real Times News Service

"Is anyone paying attention to the depths of despair and hopelessness that have gripped American urban communities? While our attention is on national health care, Afghanistan and Iraq, someone better be watching our back right here in our local communities."

"...[W]e know that many frustrated job seekers have dropped out of the hunt and are no longer being counted on the rolls. They are among the walking wounded and their situations are getting increasingly desperate. Now is the time for a new type of Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment Act. "

(Reverend Dr. Wendell Anthony is president of the Detroit Branch NAACP (the nation’s largest branch) and a member of NAACP National Board of Directors

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Growing Our Way Back to Economic Health

Size Matters -- Particularly When It Comes to Jobs
Robert Borosage
Huffington Post, 12/9/09

"...[Z]ero job growth is not a victory. It takes over 125,000 new jobs a month simply to keep up with population growth. Economist Jamie Galbraith notes that to return to the levels of employment needed to generate rising incomes, we'll need 250,000 new jobs a month for five years. "

"So go big. $100 billion or more for states and localities; 100 billion for extending unemployment and food stamps for the victims, 50 billion a year for infrastructure projects, 40 billion a year to create a million public service jobs, plus opening up loans to small and medium sized businesses, plus the inevitable tax cuts and credits -- to senior, for weatherization, for small businesses -- Congress should be considering, as Paul Krugman suggests, a several hundred billion dollar program over two years."

"This will elicit screeds about deficit spending, but the president has this right. If you want to get the deficit down, the first priority is to get people working, earning money, paying taxes, and not drawing on government aid..."

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Not Such A Wonderful Life...

It's Not Such A Wonderful Life -- George Bailey Weighs In on the Financial Crisis

U.S. House Finance Committee Chair Barney Frank has announced that a package of banking reform legislation will be voted on the House floor next week, starting December 9th. BanksterUSA, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy, uses the classic Frank Capra film "It's a Wonderful Life" to stress the importance of this historic debate and ask Congress:

Whose side are you on? Mr. Potter's? Or George Bailey's?

The video, called "It's NOT Such a Wonderful Life," can be viewed on or YouTube.

The video links to a letter that citizens can send to their Member of Congress listing four ways in which the banking legislation can be strengthened, including: closing loopholes for derivatives, limiting the size of "too big to fail" institutions, strengthening the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and promoting the democratization of the Federal Reserve.

Feel free to post and distribute widely as this classic Capra movie is no longer subject to copyright.

BanksterUSA is a new project of the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). CMD was founded in 1993 as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, public interest group focusing on exposing corporate spin. CMD brought you the book "Weapons of Mass Deception" before the Bush team failed to find weapons in Iraq, and we exposed "Fake News" in the media and the "Pentagon Pundits" on cable news. At BanksterUSA we debunk the spinmeisters of the powerful financial services industry with regular "Golden Throne Awards" and help ordinary Americans take positive action on the financial crisis and the real economy.
DATE: December 2, 2009
CONTACT: Mary Bottari, 608-255-4566

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Organize and Build Community Power for Direct Public Job Creation!!

Cross posted from

December 3, 2009

Dear Jobs Advocate,

Our November 13-14 National Conference to Create Living Wage Jobs, Meet Human Needs and Sustain the Environment greatly exceeded our expectations. Over 125 attendees came representing over 50 organizations.

The diversity of attendees was as impressive as their numbers. People came from Atlanta, Chicago, California and many points in between. Participating organizations spanned the broad range of constituencies we need to mobilize to achieve the conference goals of jobs for all at a living wage. The religious community, labor, community non-profits and employment policy experts all participated. The passion that the speakers, panelists and audience members expressed at the conference was contagious.

Equally striking to us was the widespread agreement on the essential components of a jobs program: that besides promoting a decent, living wage job for all who want to work, it should be long-term, address the shortfall of social investment and the lack of the human services needed to build a good society, and include a significant role for the public sector.

So, where do we go from here? We -- and attendees like you -- have lots of ideas. There have been suggestions that similar events be held in other parts of the country so that those who came to NYC can kindle the excitement about a jobs program in their own region. Others are urging development of legislative proposals as the basis of a national political campaign.

Today, December 3, President Obama is holding a jobs summit at the White House that offers an opportunity to advance the jobs agenda into the national policy debate And there is talk of a mass mobilization for jobs in D.C. sometime in late 2010 or early 2011.All of these – and more – ideas are good ones.

We are excited by the willingness of so many to stay involved on this issue. We are writing to ask if you would continue to work with us on the goal of achieving living wage jobs for all of our people. We envision an ongoing grassroots and national advocacy network, led by a Continuation Committee representing the array of groups and constituencies that were with us in NYC.

This Continuation Committee would have several functions:

Communication & Coordination -- the Continuation Committee will provide a vehicle for sharing information among us on the wide range of local and state initiatives on jobs, and provide a means to coordinate between different locales to increase the impact of actions that have been initiated in one place and that others find useful.

Organizing and Outreach – The Committee would also work to recruit additional religious, labor, community and policy organizations to form an ongoing national advocacy network that supports public job creation and social investment.

Tools Development and Resource Center -- The Continuation Committee would also lead efforts to compile resources resources and ideas that could be drawn upon by groups around the country in their work. A variety of proposals were made to carry out local "demonstration projects" to raise the visibility of the jobs crisis and engage community members. We can create and disseminate simple tools such as local unemployment report cards, resolutions for state and local legislatures, guides to organizing community hearings and "truth commissions," community jobs needs assessments, etc.

Strategy Development, Resource Mobilization, and Organizing -- Finally, and most ambitiously, the Committee could be charged with developing a political strategy around the living wage jobs for all agenda, and developing a political campaign on this issue that is strong and vibrant at the grassroots, but fully national in its scope. The committee will also need to secure funding and mobilize resources to support the proposed organizing campaign, and ensure we are able to do broad outreach to the many affected communities and groups who are concerned about jobs issues.

We have revised our Conference Call to Action to accommodate the new, ongoing organizing focus outlined above.

We therefore have four requests:

1. Will you please endorse the revised Call to Action, so we may continue to list your name/organization as a supporter of the proposed advocacy network?

2. Please indicate whether you would be willing to serve on the network’s Continuation Committee and/or Steering Group, and any particular areas you can help with, such as organizing and outreach, convening local or regional meetings or conferences, public policy analysis, and/or fundraising.

3. Please recommend 2-3 other organizations or individuals you think should be invited to endorse the Call to Action and join the network.

4. Please share any additional thoughts and ideas that you have for how we can follow up on the conference, and continue momentum toward development of a powerful social movement for economic renewal. (NOTE: if you have additional drafting suggestions or recommendations for additional points or policy recommendations to include in the Call to Action, please let us know that as well.)

In solidarity,

Bill Barclay, Chicago Political Economy Group
Chuck Bell, Conference Chair, and Vice Chair, National Jobs for All Coalition
Larry Bresler, Executive Director, Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign*
Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, Riverside Church of New York, Pres., Healing of the Nations Foundation
Barbara George, Healing of the Nations Foundation
Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, Chair, National Jobs for All Coalition
Logan Martinez, Miami Valley Full Employment Council/Organize Ohio (Dayton, OH)
Bill Quigley, Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
Annie Rawlings, Associate Executive Presbyter for Social Witness, Presbytery of New York City* Elce Redmond, Organizer, South Austin Community Coalition (Chicago, IL)
Melvin Rothenberg, Chicago Political Economy Group
Rev. Marcel Welty (New York, NY)

*Organization listed for identification purposes only

Please Endorse the Call to Action by sending your name, affilliation and contact information to

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Please Endorse the Revised Call to Action, and Join Our Organizing Network!!

Cross posted from

National Network to Create Living Wage Jobs for All, Meet Human Needs & Sustain the Environment [ working name ]

CALL TO ACTION [ Updated 12/04/09]

Our country is in the throes of an economic crisis—the most severe since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Unemployment is at the disaster level. And even before the onset of our current, deep recession, chronic unemployment, low and stagnant wages, myriad unmet needs and unprecedented environmental degradation were endemic.

Current Job Crisis

* Nearly 31 million workers fully or partially jobless (October 2009)
* Most rapid job less of any downturn -- and the highest percentage of long-term unemployed workers --since the Great Depression
* 8 million fewer jobs in the U.S. economy since the onset of the recession.
* High unemployment expected to persist, even if the economy "recovers."
* Many of the long-term unemployed will lose benefits, their savings, their homes and more

Weak Stimulus

By the Administration’s own estimate, the economic stimulus package enacted in February 2009 will only make up for a fraction of the millions of jobs lost since the recession began. Nor will the stimulus stem the continuing job hemorrhage.

The health and well-being of workers and communities suffer greatly when there is inadequate availability of living wage jobs. In addition, the current official high unemployment rate of over 10% is exceedingly costly to the economy as a whole, costing $1 trillion or more annually in output of goods and services. As former Nobel Prize winner Robert Eisner has pointed out, a nation that tolerates high levels of unemployment is "literally throwing away its potential output."

The "Good Old Days"

Even before the recent economic meltdown, 5 million or more women and men were officially jobless; hidden unemployment afflicted many millions more; and poverty wages were rampant. Inequality reigned, our infrastructure was crumbling, and human services fell far short of needs. We must not go back to those "Good Old Days." Instead, we should be guided by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933): "We cannot be content, no matter how high the general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people … is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure."

Real Reform

Now is the time to organize and mobilize to create a just economy.

We call for:

Establishment of a long-term, permanent federal jobs program, leading to the legal right to a living wage job.

Creation of millions of new, publicly-financed living-wage jobs in education and human services, clean energy and environmental conservation, and infrastructure development and repair.

Priority measures to target new jobs to employ structurally unemployed and underemployed workers, including people living in economically depressed communities, young people, people of color, people with disabilities, ex-offenders, and immigrants, among others.

Guaranteed income support for those who are unemployed, unable to work, and/or doing vital work in the home (including extension of unemployment benefits, an end to TANF time limits, and support for single adults living without adequate income)

Continuation and expansion of federal assistance to ailing state governments, to preserve essential services and prevent further job loss in local communities.

Comprehensive protection of workers’ labor and social rights, including the right to organize, form trade unions and bargain collectively; the right to equal opportunity, with vigorous enforcement of laws and regulations relating to unfair discrimination in hiring and employment against women, people of color and other minorities; worker safety and health; rights to paid sick leave and vacations; and decent working conditions and quality of work life, including autonomy on the job.

Development of industrial and trade policies to promote comprehensive recovery of the manufacturing and services sectors, and other, complementary policies to promote full employment, community economic stability, environmental sustainability, and a fair global economic system.

Fair financing for economic renewal through 1) discontinuing or not renewing the Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy taxpayers; 2) reducing military spending to genuine defense needs, and redirecting the savings to the civilian economy 3) enacting a financial speculation tax on short-term securities transactions; and 4) recapturing federal revenue as more Americans return to work and pay taxes, and the devastating financial and social costs of unemployment are avoided.

Comprehensive measures to ensure public accountability and transparency for the jobs program and public investments, including 1) racial, gender, geographic and social equity in program spending and results and 2) establishment of a national employment accounting office to measure the impact and benefits.

To achieve these goals, we will work together to

1. Document unmet public needs for jobs, infrastructure and public services
2. Inform and educate our communities about those needs, and how can they be addressed through our proposed program
3. Organize a strong, vibrant social movement to inspire grassroots action and arouse the conscience of the public
4. Encourage policy organizations to support this program, and related initiatives to expand availability of living wage jobs, and protect worker rights
5. Develop an effective national advocacy network by reaching out to a wide range of labor, religious, nonprofit and community organizations, and building coalitions and alliances
6. Mobilize regional and national demonstrations in support of this program
7. Design and advocate comprehensive federal legislation to achieve the right to employment at living wages, and develop alliances with members of Congress and other public officials who will support these measures
8. Provide ongoing public oversight of the development and implementation of our proposed program

YES!! I/we endorse the Call to Action and Join the Network to Create Living-Wage Jobs for All, Meet Human Needs, & Sustain the Environment

____ Individual Endorsement

___ List organization for affiliation only
___ Do not list organization

____ Organizational Endorsement


Organizational Affiliation:_______________________________





Web Site:_________________________________________

_____ YES, I would be willing to serve on the Continuation Committee

_____ YES, I would be willing to serve on the Continuation’s Committee’s Steering Group

_____ YES, I would be willing to serve on a committee or workgroup on:


______Please send the Call to Action to the following individuals/organizations:

[ list organizations and contact information ]

Please return to:

Conference Organizing Committee
c/o National Jobs for All Coalition / CIPA
777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 3C
New York, NY 10017

Phone: 212-972-9879
Fax: 212-972-9878


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"American Jobs Plan" released by the Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank that works to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers, recently proposed a five-pronged jobs plan to address the unemployment crisis.

The fourth component of the plan is of particular interest for direct job creation advocates, although it is much smaller than many of us would like to see. The plan would create 1 million public service jobs, with funding of $40 billion over 3 years allocated to states through the federal Community Development Block Grant program.

The other components of the plan include extending unemployment and COBRA benefits, more fiscal relief for state and local governments, increased federal investment in school construction and transportation, and a tax credit for private employer job creation.

American Jobs Plan:

"The United States is experiencing its worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression. Nearly 16 million Americans—our family, friends, and neighbors—are out of work. This national crisis demands a bold plan to put people back to work. The Economic Policy Institute proposes the American Jobs Plan, a plan that would create at least 4.6 million jobs in one year.

Here you will find EPI's comprehensive research and analysis of the jobs crisis—how severe it has grown and why—and the details of EPI's American Jobs Plan.

We can—and must—put America back to work."

Read the plan

Download entire plan (PDF)

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17.5% Unemployment Rate for People with Disabilities

Job Crunch Even Harder On People With Disabilities
by Joseph Shapiro, NPR

"As large numbers of Americans deal with losing jobs, the unemployment rates are even higher among certain groups, including men, minorities — and also people with disabilities."

"Lenny Kepil knows. He was laid off from his job this spring as a software test engineer. He'd been the last hired, but his whole department took a hit. 'It makes you nervous when you're laid off a long period of time. And right now, it's been seven months so far,' he says. 'So I have to get ready for the reality that things are stacking up against me.'"

"...In October, when the national unemployment rate hit 10.2 percent, the numbers were much grimmer for working-age people with disabilities.

"It's quite dramatic," says economist Andrew Houtenville, of the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. "You're talking about an unemployment rate for people with disabilities of around 17-and-a-half percent." "

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