Monday, September 24, 2012

Detropia film released


Detroit's story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future.

- by Caroline Libresco

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Organizations Endorse HR 4277!

Three resolutions featuring HR 4277 and related jobs legislation have been passed by national organizations in the last several months, including AFSCME, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and the National Organization for Women!!

See below for the text of the resolutions.

Help build momentum for HR 4277 and a national jobs program by passing a resolution in your religious, labor, civic or community organization, or passing a local resolution in your city, county or state legislature!

And, please let us know if you do suceed in passing a resolution, so we can keep track of endorsements and list them on this web site.

Much thanks and appreciation to Ed Rosario of LCLAA for his help in advancing the resolutions at AFSCME and LCLAA, and to our good friends at National Organization for Women for speaking out so clearly on the jobs crisis and the benefits of HR 4277.

Recently Passed Resolutions that Feature HR 4277

AFSCME 2012 Convention Amended Jobs Resolution -- passed at 40th International Convention, 6/18-22/12, Los Angeles, CA

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) Resolution -- passed at National Confereence, 7/26-28/12, Orlando, FL

National Organization For Women (NOW) Resolution -- passed at National Conference, Baltimore, MD 7/1/12
Draft New York City Resolution in Support of HR 870/HR 4277 (pending)

Other resources for passing local jobs resolutions:

Local Jobs Resolution Toolkit, from Cities for Progress

The text of the AFSCME Resolution follows below:

40th INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION                                                  
LOS ANGELES CONVENTION CENTER                                                               June 18 – 22, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA                                         

AFSCME Support for Federal Jobs Acts

1.      WHEREAS:
2.      There is a jobs crisis in which mass unemployment continues to take its toll.  At any given time during the Great Recession and its aftermath in the United States about 14 – 15 million people are officially unemployed (forced to work part-time or want a job but are not looking often because they can’t find one). 16 – 18 million full-time workers earn less than the poverty level.  That means about 44 million people and their families are casualties of the jobs crisis; and

3.      WHEREAS:
4.      Even before the Great Recession, millions were unemployed, underemployed and underpaid; and

5.      WHEREAS:
6.      America’s roads need repair, our bridges are eroding, our children need more teachers, parents lack affordable childcare, seniors lack elder care, millions lack adequate healthcare, affordable housing is under siege, and we must green our economy; and

7.      WHEREAS:
8.      All of these needs can and should be met by the federal government; and

9.      WHEREAS:
10.  This was done during the Great Depression of the 1930’s when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal put millions of the unemployed to work doing useful jobs that have made a lasting contribution to our nation – roads, bridges, schools, libraries, housing, parks, arts, culture and much more; and

12.  The labor movement and all its affiliates and supporters need to support the passage of legislation that guarantees a living-wage job to all who want one.  Steps in that direction are: 1. HR 4277 (Rep. John Conyers, D-MI) The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act – would create a national jobs program, including 2.6 to 3.9 million jobs over the first two years, in affordable housing, neighborhood rehabilitation, energy conservation and weatherization, infrastructure repair, education, and human services; 2. The Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act – HR 2914 (Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL) would create, 2.2 million public service jobs in school construction and maintenance, park improvement and restoration, education, child care, law enforcement, health care, energy conservation, and affordable housing; 3. The National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2011 HR 402 (Rep. Rosa DeLauro D-Con.) establishes a National Infrastructure Development Bank, an independent body designed to evaluate and finance infrastructure projects of substantial regional and national significance. (A similar bill, S-652, the Senate BUILD Act introduced by Sen. John Kerry would establish an American Infrastructure Financing Authority - AIFA); 4. S. 2252, the Rebuild America Act, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin in March, a comprehensive bill to invest in roads, bridges and schools, raise the minimum wage, and reform trade policies and the tax code; and

14.  Privatization, deregulation and outsourcing are tools for unionbusting and a major source of job loss; and
16.  Legislation is needed to create jobs and we need to organize and demand for it now!

18.  The AFSMCE 40th International Convention being held at Los Angeles, CA – June 18 – 22, 2012, endorse, lobby and mobilize for the passage of the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act and the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2011, the BUILD Act, and the Rebuild America Act; and

20.  AFSCME urge all its affiliates and friends of labor to endorse, lobby and mobilize for the passage of the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act and the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2011, the BUILD Act, and the Rebuild America Act; and

22.  That AFSCME and all its affiliates mobilize against all schemes that embrace the privatization, deregulation and outsourcing of jobs and in support of legislation that would employ millions of jobless workers here in the United States at decent pay and for the improvement of the quality of life through repair and expansion of our physical and social infrastructure.

SUBMITTED BY;       Behrouz Fathi, President and Delegate
                                    Frank G. Thomas, Executive Chair and Delegate
AFSMCE Council 37
Local 375, The Civil Service Technical Guild
New York, New York


How Did Congress Vote on Jobs Issues?

In the national media, a lot of attention is being given to the Presidential race between President Obama and Mitt Romney. 

But when voters go to the polls, they will also need to assess whether Congress has been doing enough to enact legislation to create jobs.  Many members of Congress have staunchly opposed the American Jobs Act proposed by President Obama, and other legislation to create jobs by investing in infrastructure and public services. 

How can voters find out how their member of Congress voted on jobs legislation, and other matters that affect labor rights?

Three resources for looking up Congressional Voting Records on Jobs Issues are:

AFL-CIO Scorecard (2012 and prior years) Key Votes

UFCW Congressional Scorecard

Friday, August 10, 2012

Workers Stand for America -- Mass Mobilization In Philadelphia


Join Us in Philly!

11 a.m. Saturday, August 11, 2012

Eakins Oval
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

America's Second Bill of Rights

We the People want to strengthen our nation, as a beacon of equality, economic opportunity and freedom for all. We hold these rights to be essential to our vision of America and believe that the principles contained therein should guide our government, business leaders, organizations and individuals in our common goal of a just and fair society.
The Right to Full Employment and a Living Wage:
All Americans willing and able to work have the right to safe, gainful employment at a fair and livable wage. We call on the public and private sectors to invest in America’s infrastructure and promote industrial development, maintaining job creation as a top policy priority.
The Right to Full Participation in the Electoral Process:
Recent initiatives to disenfranchise citizens seek to reduce the rolls of eligible voters and empower money instead of people. We believe these actions constitute an assault on our nation’s democracy and history of heroic struggle against voting restrictions based upon property ownership, religion, race and gender and call for reinforcing our fundamental right to vote.
The Right to a Voice at Work:
All workers have the right of freedom of association in the workplace, including the right to collectively bargain with their employer to improve wages, benefits and working conditions.
The Right to a Quality Education:
Education is a fundamental bedrock of our democracy, vital to America’s competitive position in the world and the principal means by which citizens empower themselves to participate in our nation's economic and political systems. Quality, affordable education should be universally available from pre-kindergarten to college level, including an expanded use of apprenticeships and specialty skills training to prepare Americans for the workplace.
The Right to a Secure, Healthy Future:
Americans have the right to a baseline level of health care, unemployment insurance and retirement security, all of which have been badly eroded by the disruption of the social compact that served the nation well for decades. We call on government and private industry together to confront the issues of declining access to health care especially for children, weakening of unemployment coverage, and inadequate pension plans that undermine the ability of working men and women to retire in dignity, even as Social Security and Medicare are under strain and threatened with cutbacks.

Endorse the Second Bill of Rights at
pdf icon
Click to Download the "Bill of Rights"in Printable PDF format
Click to Download the "Sign-up Sheet" in Printable PDF format

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rep. Jesse Jackson Introduces Legislation to Raise National Minimum Wage to $10

Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) is joined by, left to right, Ralph Nader, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Representative John Conyers (D-MI) at a press conference outside the US Capitol on June 6, 2012, to call for an increase in the minimum wage. Photo by George Zornick.    Photo coutesy of the Nation (read Zornick blog)
HR 5901 - Text of legislation (23 cosponsors as of 7/15/2012)




Statement By Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.

Attached please find legislation - the Catching Up To 1968 Act of 2012 - that I will introduce in the House of Representatives today regarding raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour.  That may sound like a hefty wage increase but it doesn't fully equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage in 1968 - which today would be closer to $11 per hour.  The bill is really only allowing American workers a degree of "catch-up."  Thus the name and theme around the bill:  "Catching Up To 1968."  Of course, the current federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since 2007.

The Catching Up To 1968 Act of 2012 contains four basic elements:
  • It raises the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour;
  • The minimum wage is raised  immediately - not gradually as in the past - beginning 60 days after the date of enactment; and
  • Beginning one year after the $10.00 per hour minimum wage takes effect, and each year thereafter, the minimum wage will be indexed in proportion to the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • For workers earning their living on the basis of tips, the cash wage paid to such an employee is to be 70% of the minimum wage when the law takes effect, but in no case less than $5.50 an hour, adjusted annually as necessary thereafter.

The bill will affect more than 30 million workers and give the economy an immediate boost by significantly increasing aggregate demand.  Most economists that I've talked with said there was no economic reason to increase it incrementally over a couple of years.

Raising the federal minimum wage and indexing it to keep up with inflation has been supported historically by 70% of the American people.  The AFL-CIO, National Council of La Raza, civil rights organizations, Ralph Nader, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and many others have all supported raising it and indexing it.  Even Rick Santorum (as Senator) and Mitt Romney (while Governor), believed in raising the minimum wage and Mr. Romney wanted to index it to inflation.  If Mr. Romney had put it into effect during his time as Governor of Massachusetts, it would now be around $10 per hour in that state.

$10 per hour at 40 hours per week is $400.  $400 times 52 weeks equals $20,800 annually.  As of 2010, the average income in the US per person was $40,584 (per capita personal income).

A $10 minimum wage, after years of windfall price increases and executive compensation windfalls at labor’s expense, would annually pump tens of billions of dollars into greater consumer (or aggregate) demand by low-income families in this depressed economy.

The federal minimum wage, covered by the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), operates as a floor.  States and communities have the leeway to set higher livable wage standards and cover more workers - and a few do.  Ten states have indexed the minimum wage to inflation.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the minimum wage represented nearly 50 percent of average wages for private-sector, non-supervisory workers.  But in 2010, that figure had fallen to only 38 percent.  The purchasing power of the minimum wage plummeted in the 1980s when Congress did not increase it from January 1981 to April 1990.

In 2007, Congress raised the federal minimum wage by $2.10 per hour—from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour—as a first step toward restoring its historical value, providing an additional $1.6 billion annually in increased wages.  It's now time to complete the job and index it into the future.

Research has shown no job loss resulting from reasonable minimum wage increases, even when the economy is struggling.  On the contrary, to fix the underlying weakness of our economy, we must boost aggregate demand and increase the purchasing power of millions of low-wage workers—and one proven and effective way of doing that is to raise the federal minimum wage.

In conclusion, I want to especially thank Ralph Nader for encouraging me to introduce this legislation.  While he has not been able to secure the presidency, he has been right on the issues and for his vast contributions to the betterment of our country, every American should be grateful.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Rep. John Conyers Reintroduces Federal Bill to Create "Living Wage Jobs for All!" (HR 4277)

HR 4277, a revised version of HR 870, was introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) on March 28.    This transformative federal legislation would create a national public service jobs program to complement job creation efforts in the private and nonprofit sectors.  

Most notably, the bill "aims to provide a job to any American that seeks work, and to ultimately, create a full employment society."  

To achieve that goal, Rep. Conyers and other supporters in the House would put some real dollars on the table to create new jobs for unemployed Americans.  HR 4277 creates a national "Full Employment and Training Trust Fund," funded by a small Financial Transactions Tax on stock, bond and derivatives transactions.  This would create a major new national funding source large enough to create 2.5 to 4 million jobs in the first two years of the program.  The bill would also provide much additional funding to support innovative job training programs, such as one-stop career centers, YouthBuild and Job Corps, among others.

Noting that the Congress had previously committed itself to a national policy of full employment, through bills passed in 1946 and 1978, HR 4277 takes square aim at the terrible human impacts of the current high levels of unemployment.   According to the legislative finding section of the bill:

"...Persisting unemployment and underemployment have devastating financial consequences, resulting in the loss of income and spending power for families, and interfering with their ability to save and accumulate assets for a secure family life and retirement. High levels of unemployment and inadequate consumer demand also contribute to poor conditions for retail businesses, manufacturers and many other firms to grow and prosper.  In the real estate sector, the Congress finds that continuing high levels of unemployment contribute to foreclosures, evictions, and commercial vacancies, undermining the quality of neighborhood and community life, and hampering prospects for economic recovery and national prosperity..."

"It is the purpose of the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act to expedite progress to fulfill the right to useful work at living wages for all persons seeking employment, as promptly as possible and at the earliest practicable date by establishing a Full Employment Trust Fund to fund and operate a national program of public service employment and to provide additional labor market opportunities to complement those offered by the existing private, public, and nonprofit sectors."

52 members of the House of Representatives had cosponsored HR 870, the previous version of this legislation, and all or most of them are expected to endorse the revised bill as well. 

The Put America to Work Campaign is reaching out to organizations and individuals across the country to build grassroots support for a national jobs program, and seek additional cosponsors and Senate sponsors to create a right to a living wage job for everyone who wants to work.  

Link to full text of HR 4277
Link to Bill Summary 

Endorse HR 4277 or sign up to get more information 

From the Bill Summary provided by Rep. Conyers office:

H.R. 4427, “The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act”


Representative Conyers has introduced legislation that is tailored to fit our current economic realities, but which also embodies the spirit of the original Humphrey-Hawkins “Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act:” the “21st Century Full Employment and Training Act of 2012.”  The Act aims to provide a job to any American that seeks work and to, ultimately, create a full employment society. 

·     The Act establishes of a “Full Employment and Training Trust Fund” with two separate accounts.  These two accounts will direct funding to job creation and training programs.

·     If, at the beginning of each fiscal year, the Secretary determines that unemployment exists in the country’s labor force, 90 percent of the funds in each account will be automatically disbursed.  

·     67 percent of all revenues deposited into the trust fund will accrue in the job creation grant program account and 33 percent of the total funds will accrue in the job training account.      

Dual Job Creation Focus: Direct Jobs Grants and WIA Training Programs

·     The first trust fund account will direct funds to a new innovative direct jobs program.  Funds will be distributed by formula through the Department of Labor to larger cities, and to states to be passed through to smaller localities and rural areas.

o   The program would allocate funds based on the CDBG formula modified to consider unemployment data. Local elected officials who are closest to our communities and needs on the ground would work with community groups and labor leaders to identify critical projects and connect workers to projects right away.
o   Jobs could be located in the public sector, community-based not-for-profit organizations, and small businesses that provide community benefits.
o   The Program adopts an approach to ensure immediate job creation and also allow for a longer term planning process that involves community input and a focus on education and career development.
o   The program will be open to unemployed individuals who are seeking work
o   Full-time positions will be available for up to 40 hours per week, for at least 12 months. They will pay comparable or prevailing wages, as well as benefits.  Appropriate safeguards and strong anti-displacement protections will help to prevent substitution and ensure that workers are placed in new positions.

·     The second trust fund will distribute funds to job training programs covered under the Workforce Investment Act.

o   These funds will fund innovative job training resources including one-stop career centers, Youth Build, and the Job Corps.  

Revenue: Taxing Wall Street Speculation to Pay for Main Street Jobs

·     Revenue for the trust fund will be raised through a tax on Wall Street financial speculation, i.e. on stock and bond transactions.    The financial transactions tax will cover:

o   Stock transactions (tax rate will be 1/4 of 1 percent--0.25%),
o   Futures contracts to buy or sell a specified commodity of standardized quality at a certain date in the future, at a market determined price (tax rate will be 0.02%),
o   Swaps between two firms on certain benefits of one party's financial instrument for those of the other party's financial instrument (tax rate will be 0.02%)
o   Credit default swaps where a contract is swapped through a series of payments in exchange for a payoff if a credit instrument (typically a bond or loan) goes into default (fails to pay) (tax rate will be 0.02%),
o   And options, which are contracts between a buyer and a seller that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or to sell a particular asset on or before the option's expiration time, at an agreed price (at the rate of the underlying asset). 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

May 1 Jobs for All Convergence in NYC @ 4:00 PM

Dignified Work at Good Union Wages
for Everyone Who Wants a Job.

Converge:  UNION SQUARE @ 4:00 PM

 Meet at Southwest Corner by the Dry Fountain
to join the May 1 City-Wide March

Download flyers

Dignified work at good union wages for everyone that wants a job.

We demand a democratically-controlled public works and public service program, with direct government employment, to create 25 million new jobs at good union wages.  The new jobs will be to build the facilities and provide the services needed to meet the needs of the 99%, including in education, healthcare, housing, transportation, and clean energy.  The program will be funded by raising taxes on the banks, corporations and the wealthiest 1%, and by ending all U.S. wars.  Employment in the program will be open to all, regardless of immigration status or criminal record.

Trabajo digno con sueldos buenos de escala sindical para cualquiera que quiera un trabajo.

obras públicas y un programa de servicios públicos democráticamente controlados, con empleo directo del gobierno, para crear 25 millones de nuevos empleos con sueldos buenos de escala sindical. Los nuevos empleos serán para construir las instalaciones y proveer los servicios necesitados para satisfacer las necesidades del 99%, incluyendo en educación, cuidados de la salud, vivienda, transporte y energía limpia. El programa será financiado aumentando los impuestos a los bancos, las corporaciones y el 1% de los más ricos, y poniendo fin a todas las guerras por los Estados Unidos de América. Empleo en el programa estará disponible para todos, incluyendo a los inmigrantes y a las personas anteriormente encarceladas.
Para mas información, o para apoyar la demanda,



Note:  We invite other Occupy, community and labor organizations and activists around the country to hold local convergences to highlight the Jobs for All demand.  Please let us know if you are doing this!  and send contact information for your group so we can stay in touch and alert the media.