Friday, August 5, 2011

New York City Council Introduces Resolution in Support of Full Employment and Living Wage Jobs for All!

The New York City Council Committee on Community Development is now considering a resolution in support of HR 870, the 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).  The resolution was introduced by Council Members Brad Lander, Gale Brewer, Margaret Chin, Daniel Dromm, Letitia James, Deborah Rose and Jumane Williams.

The Put America to Work Campaign thanks these Council Members for their vision and leadership on this issue!   And we thank Mark Dunlea of Hunger Action Network of NY State for helping to get the resolution introduced.  We urge other cities and communities to pass similar resolutions to draw attention to the unemployment crisis and build support for a national jobs program.

Download a copy of the Draft New York City Resolution.

You can also obtain a Local Jobs Resolution Toolkit on how to pass a local jobs resolution at Cities for Progress.  Additional language that may be helpful for local resolutions can be found in the draft The Drive For Decent Work jobs resolution developed in 2008 -- but please update the text for your local situation, and add a current reference to HR 870.   Contact us if you'd like help developing a local resolution.

The text of the NYC draft resolution follows below.

Res. No. 956

Resolution calling upon Congress to pass and the President to sign The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, H.R. 870.

By Council Members Lander, Brewer, Chin, Dromm, James, Rose and Williams

Whereas, Millions of people in the United States are unemployed in good times as well as bad, and many more work without living wages, comprehensive health insurance and retirement benefits; and

Whereas, The official unemployment rate leaves out the "hidden unemployed" - who want full-time work but are forced to work part-time or who want a job but are not currently looking for reasons such as lack of child care or transportation; and

Whereas, In May 2011, an estimated 13.9 million workers were officially unemployed (9.1%), an additional 11.3 million were among the "hidden unemployed," bringing the actual jobless rate to roughly 16.5%; and

Whereas, The Full-Employment and Balanced Growth Act was signed into law by President Carter in 1978, thus becoming the nation's first attempt at establishing an official Federal full-employment policy; and

Whereas, The original intent of the legislation's sponsors, Senator Hubert Humphrey and Representative Augustus Hawkins, was to create a full-employment society brought about by direct hiring policies that would obligate the government to create jobs if the private sector was unable to create a fully employed society through gradual economic growth after ten years; and

Whereas, This legislation was supported by both civil rights and labor organizations who viewed the bill as a way to address the economic hardships being felt by low-income Americans; and

Whereas, The intent of the Act's sponsors was weakened when the bill reached the United States Senate prior to it being signed into law; and

Whereas, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. has introduced legislation that is tailored to fit the current state of the nation's economy and seeks to embody the spirit of the original Humphrey-Hawkins legislation; and

Whereas, H.R. 870 known as the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act seeks to establish a National Full Employment Trust Fund to create employment opportunities; and

Whereas, This trust fund would have two separate accounts directing the allocation of monies towards job creation and training programs; and

Whereas, The first trust fund account would direct funds to a jobs program, allocating funds based on a Community Development Block Grant formula that considers unemployment data, with the purpose of creating employment opportunities in activities designed to address community needs for eligible individuals who either are unemployed for at least twenty-six (26) weeks or unemployed for at least thirty (30) days and low-income; and

Whereas, The second trust fund account would distribute funds to job training programs covered under the Workforce Investment Act; and

Whereas, Although New York City's economy has improved at a faster rate than both the state and the nation, state and federal budget cuts along with a slowly recovering national economy could keep the City's level of unemployment high for some time; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon Congress to pass and the President to sign The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, H.R. 870.

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