Category Archives: Jobs Now

A Profound Attack on Workers and Their Organizations

Viewed by many as the most serious assault on labor organizations in recent history, the Supreme Court decision in Janus vs AFSCME is a call for the unions and worker organizations to adopt more militant and aggressive tactics in dealing with employers. Following is a statement by the Southern Workers Assembly (SWA) with an analysis and ideas on the way forward.



“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans such as ‘right to work,’” Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1964. “It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.  “Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions for everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer, and there are no civil rights.”

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North Carolina Teachers Rising Up

May 16, 2018 represents North Carolina educators’ entry into the nationwide teacher rebellion against the attacks on public schools. Following the courageous efforts of teachers in West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, North Carolina educators are part of the growing resistance to the failures of state legislators to provide children with a sound basic education. That education includes adequate and safe facilities, up to date learning materials and highly qualified and well-paid teachers and education support personnel which includes teacher assistants, social workers, psychologists and bus drivers.

In this moment education workers are on the cutting edge of the struggle of public employees and the people of this country to keep our institutions in the public domain and not be offered up to greedy profit seeking corporations who care nothing about our well being and quality of life. Their only concern is the bottom line. This means that bus drivers, sanitation workers, fire fighters, caseworkers and so many more have a common fight.

This fight requires many tactics. Taking to the streets is key to making the others, like voting and lobbying, effective. We cannot outspend the 1%. At the end of the day, withholding our labor is the key device in our toolbox. The teachers realize this and at the same time have been clear on making sure that our children are safe and fed because this fight fundamentally is for our children and our families.

We support these demands (in addition to others) regardless of what political party has control of the legislature:

  • Increase per-student spending
  • Increase pay for educators with a plan to get to the national average and immediate across the board pay raises for all state employees. Repealing corporate tax breaks can pay for this.
  • Increase funding for textbooks, supplies and materials so educators do not have to spend hundreds of dollars of personal funds to do their jobs.
  • No performance-based pay but a pay scale that values veteran educators, and provides pay incentives for advanced degrees.
  • Increase teacher retiree pensions by 3%; provide state funded health insurance
  • Freeze any increases in health care costs for public employees, which require no additional resources from the State. Maintain comprehensive health insurance coverage for all State employees.
  • Accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, giving affordable health care to the one-quarter of North Carolina students who live in poverty.
  • Stop the attacks on public schools by placing a moratorium on new charter schools and private school vouchers.
  • We also demand the repeal of NC General Statute 95-98, which denies public employees the right to collectively bargain for higher wages, better and safer workplaces, and stronger protections against discrimination.

As the parents and grandparents of Black children we call on education workers and unions to join us in the fight to end the “school to prison pipeline”, eliminate the achievement gap, create a historically accurate and anti-racist curriculum and implement restorative justice instead of punitive discipline and remove School Resource Officers (SRO’s).

Education is a Human Right!

All out for May 16th!

All out for the Poor Peoples Campaign!


(Black Workers for Justice*

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Statement from Clarence Thomas 2016 Self-Determination Award Recipient

“On Sunday May 1, 2016, International Workers Day, ILWU Local 10 for the second consecutive year will be shutting down all Bay Area ports for 8 hours. This year we will commemorate a National Day of Mourning in memory of the Black and Brown lives that have been taken by racist police and vigilante killings across the country”

Clarence ThomasAt the 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Support for Labor Banquet two individuals and two organizations were awarded the Black Workers for Justice’s Self-Determination Award. North Carolina based Muslims for Social Justice and Charleston’s Healthcare Workers United were the group recipients. The individual award went to two trade union activist. ILA Local 1422 activist Leonard Riley received an individual award. The second was awarded to Clarence Thomas a labor activist, member of ILWU Local 10 and longtime freedom fighter. Thomas was unable to attend but submitted this statement to share with the participants. Note his call for action on May Day. Continue reading

Building People’s Assemblies, Platforms and Power “Before, During and After” the 2016 Elections

The Political Landscape:

The central issue in the 2016 presidential and local election campaigns is NOT the Republican and Democratic Party candidates or even Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton.  It is the growing economic and social crisis of the US capitalist system.  Most important is the crisis’ devastating impact on workers, black and brown immigrants, Native Americans, women, the LGBTQ community, youth and the elderly.BlackWorkersMatter2

Amid all the TV debates, news stories in the media, and billions of dollars spent by corporations and billionaires, workers, black and oppressed people have a human and fundamental democratic right to discuss and organize political campaigns to address our needs! We also have a right to discuss how our community, workplace and society should be run and even dare to organize and run it ourselves!

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Putting America Back to Work

Labor_in_all_languagesIssued by the Emergency Labor Network (ELN)-February 8, 2012

The hype is on again in the press that recovery is around the corner. Last month’s jobs numbers are cited as the latest proof of recovery. The economic data puffery will no doubt prove intense in this election year, but a closer look at the facts should temper the false confidence.

After more than four years following the start of the recession in December 2007, and three years after President Obama assumed office, the crisis in jobs in the United States continues as the number one problem of the U.S. economy.

Based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s more accurate latest “U-6” unemployment rate, at the official end of the recession in June 2009 there were 25.4 million jobless; today, more than 30 months later, there still remain 23.4 million without work. That’s a total of only about 67,200 jobs created a month over two and a half years — a monthly number barely half of what is needed to even absorb new entrants into the labor force each month.

Most of the 2 million jobs created in the private sector since President Obama assumed office three years ago have been lower-paid service jobs, part-time jobs, and temporary forms of employment – nearly all of them providing lower wages and fewer benefits.  Higher-paying and benefit jobs in manufacturing and construction have, in contrast, continued to decline since the June 2009 recession low-point. There were 21.1 million manufacturing and construction jobs when the recession began in 2008. There are only 17.3 million manufacturing and construction jobs today.

Unlike all previous 11 recessions in the United States since 1945, the government sector has not created jobs to offset private sector job loss during the recession. Government instead has become a major contributor to job destruction.  Local governments have laid off 643,000 workers since June 2009, nearly a quarter million — 247,000 — of whom have been teachers. Public workers and teachers continue to be laid off at a rate of 20,000 or more a month. At that pace, by the end of his first term, President Obama may have presided over a loss of nearly a million public workers’ jobs.

Other indicators of the continuing sad state of the jobs markets in the United States after three years further corroborate the continuing crisis of jobs in this country.  For example, the duration of long-term unemployed — i.e., those out of work 27 or more weeks — has continued to rise steadily since June 2009, from 24% of all those unemployed to more than 40% today. Meanwhile, millions of workers have left the jobs market, having given up on the prospect of finding work.

Another indicator of the continuing severity of today’s jobs crisis, the “Employment to Population Ratio” that measures how well the economy is creating jobs in relation to the growth of population, shows the U.S. economy is growing fewer and fewer jobs as the U.S. population rises. At the start of the current recession, 63% of the U.S. population was employed; today only 58.5% of the U.S. population has jobs. And there are still 4.2 workers looking for every job offered today — i.e. well more than double the 1.8 to 1 ratio that existed before the recession began.

The jobs creation programs offered by the Obama administration and Congress over the past three years have proved dismally inadequate. In January 2009 the Obama administration promised to create six million jobs if its first stimulus program costing $787 billion were passed by Congress, 40% of which were tax cuts. In June 2009 there were approximately 25 million unemployed. By mid-summer 2010 there were still 25 million unemployed and job losses began to rise again that summer.

While the Democrats have thus far failed to provide any effective programs to restore the millions of jobs lost since the recession began, Republicans continue to propose the same old retread solutions that destroyed millions of jobs over the past decade. Republicans continue to propose more tax cuts for corporations and wealthy investors, more cuts to social programs, and a further expansion of military spending. These programs not only have failed to produce jobs, but actually have eliminated them by the millions over the past decade.

Moreover, whenever the Obama administration has proposed any kind of job creation program, the Republicans have been quick to denounce it and deadlock Congress so that nothing can get done.

If big banks and big business refuse to use their bailed out $4 trillion cumulative cash hoard of the past three years to create jobs, then the government must tax it or take it back from them and use it to create jobs itself.  The United States needs a 21st century version of the 1930s depression-era New Deal jobs programs, adapted from the past to present conditions.  What the U.S. economy specifically needs is the immediate creation of a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program similar to that created in 1933. In just 90 days the CCC created the equivalent of what would be 1.2 million jobs in today’s economy. What the economy also needs now is a new 21st century Works Progress Administration (WPA) that during the period 1935 to 1940 created the equivalent of what would be 25 million jobs today.

The $4 trillion to fund these direct job creation programs are there. There’s no need to raise the deficit or debt. If the super-wealthy and their big corporations and banks won’t spend the trillion dollar bailouts they were provided by U.S. taxpayers to invest in America and create jobs, then the only alternative is for the government to reclaim those trillions and spend them on a public program to create jobs.

The Emergency Labor Network from its inception has urged organized labor to mobilize massive numbers of people to demand that the government implement a jobs program to put all of the unemployed back to work.

And consider what it would mean if the labor movement had its own independent political party, supported by tens of millions of allies among unorganized and low-income workers, the unemployed, communities of color, students and other youth, the women’s movement, immigrants, and other progressive sections of the population. Such a party would be projecting a program of jobs for all, bailing out the people and not the banks, redirecting astronomical military spending to meet human needs, and rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure that is critically in need of repair.

Isn’t it time for those of us in labor to engage in a serious discussion on the need to establish such a party?

— Issued by the Emergency Labor Network (ELN)
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