Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rep. John Conyers calls for full employment legislation

Last week Rep. John Conyers called for stimulus measures to restore the US economy to FULL EMPLOYMENT. Conyers joined the Keep in Made in America Tour organized by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Mayors & Municipalities Automotive Coalition, and the United Steelworkers.

Apparently due to collapse of the newspaper industry, and/or the laziness of the corporate media, the only newspaper that appears to have covered Conyers' remarks so far was the People's Weekly World.

Keep It Made in America Tour: Stand up & fight for jobs, communities:

"To keep manufacturing in America, we must “change this rotten system” that Wall Street has created, said another Michigan Democrat, Rep. John Conyers. We need an “economic system that puts everyone to work,” Conyers said.

He proposed a new full-employment act similar to the 1978 Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act to retrain workers and create jobs to get the economy moving. “What we need now is a full employment stimulus,” the veteran lawmaker said."

Read rest of article

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Making Sure Solar Jobs are Truly Green

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition is pointing out some of the challenges in ensuring that "green jobs" in the solar power industry are environmentally-friendly.

"SVTC’s Clean and Just Solar Campaign’s goal is to guide the solar industry towards being safe and sustainable. We believe that the solar industry has a unique opportunity to incorporate principles of social and environmental justice into its global supply, production, and recycling operations by proactively creating and implementing systems to monitor worker health and safety, chemical use and exposure, and enforce labor and environmental laws throughout the global supply chain."

Read rest of Green Jobs Platform

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

A New Deal for the Gulf States?

Kudos to Rep. Zoe Lofgren and allies, who are pushing a public jobs program to support economic recovery in the depressed states on the Gulf Coast. The Drive for Decent Work applauds this visionary thinking.

We hope more Congressional leaders will step forward with similar creative proposals to address the need for jobs and public investment in essential infrastructure and public services.

A New Deal for the Gulf Coast: Advocates welcome vital recovery legislation
from: Facing South, Institute for Southern Studies

Almost four years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast, legislation was introduced this week to create more jobs and support sustainable rebuilding efforts in the region.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act of 2009 (H.R. 2269) was introduced in the House Tuesday by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and a growing bipartisan group of co-sponsors.

Facing South has reported that one of the major barriers to rebuilding and one of the biggest problems facing residents of the Gulf Coast post-Katrina is finding good jobs. Inspired by New Deal-era public works programs, the act would create 100,000 "green" living-wage jobs and training opportunities for Gulf Coast residents and displaced people to rebuild critical infrastructure, restore natural flood protection and increase energy efficiency in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Read rest of article

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Housing advocates call for increased investment in rental housing

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition and other housing advocates are circulating a sign-on letter to Congress and the Obama adminstration calling for much more public investment in affordable rental housing.

According to the letter:

The economic crisis that has beset the United States is rooted in excesses in the home ownership housing market that must be corrected for our economy to recover. But housing is much more than the private market home ownership. The undersigned organizations want to call attention to what we mean by housing. We mean enough homes renting at affordable prices so that our nation’s lowest income families and individuals are assured of safe and decent places to live.

As the Administration and Congress consider action to stem housing foreclosures and to reform the housing finance system, equal attention must be paid to the long-standing and unmet need for decent, affordable homes for households with the lowest incomes. Despite the surplus of single family homes for sale today, the shortage of rental homes that extremely low income households can afford continues unabated.

Nationwide, 9 million extremely low income renter households compete for only 6.2 million rental homes they can afford. Today, hundreds of thousands of people are on waiting lists for rental assistance, which are only getting longer as unemployment and foreclosures grow. Tonight, more than 745,000 people are homeless. ...[M]uch more must be done to prevent a surge in homelessness and help the unemployed, low wage workers, low income seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans who are experiencing severe housing affordability challenges.

When we compare the unprecedented attention paid to homeownership and the investment the federal government will make to shore up troubled mortgages to the resources for programs serving the nation’s most vulnerable people, we are dismayed and disappointed that those households for whom stable homes are most threatened in today’s economy are once again being shortchanged.

The solutions to the housing crisis of the lowest income renters are simpler and less expensive than what is needed to repair the home ownership market. We know what to do: preserve and expand the supply of rental homes that these members of our communities can afford. To do so, we call for dedicated sources of funding for the National Housing Trust Fund that will generate the necessary revenue to produce or preserve 1.5 million homes in the next ten years and 200,000 new housing choice vouchers a year for ten years.

Read full letter here

In January, housing advocates urged the administration to fund the 200,000 housing choice vouchers and set aside $10 billion for the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund as part of the stimulus package, but these elements were not included. Instead, approximately $4.6 billion in funding was set aside in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, for public housing upgrades, energy retrofits, an $ 1 billion increase in Community Development Block Grants, $2 billion to support the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to fund housing construction, and other programs.

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