Category Archives: Jobs Now

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)
For more information write to emergencylabor@aol.com or P.O. Box 21004, Cleveland, OH 44121 or call 216-736-4715 or visit our website at http://www.laborfightback.org. Donations gratefully accepted. Please make checks payable to ELN and mail to above P.O. Box.

A Fight for Jobs is Part of the Road to an Economic Recovery for the Working Class!

unemployment-315The policies, programs and priorities of the US government in dealing with the economy have always favored the rich over the needs of the masses of working class and poor people. Corporate deregulation, free trade agreements, anti-labor, anti-immigrant and racist, sexist and homophobic laws, along with massive spending on unjust wars, have helped to bring about the current crisis in the US and global economy.

The massive unemployment is a major aspect of the crisis facing the US working class. Some estimate the real unemployment at 25 million and growing.  Youth unemployment, especially among African Americans is over 40 percent.

The big corporations that closed profitable companies in the US over the past 30 years, to relocate to other countries to exploit cheap labor for greater profits, affecting worker’s pensions and healthcare coverage; and the banks that financed these corporate runaways and overpriced mortgages on refinanced homes for workers, are receiving hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal government to “stimulate” the economy, while the conditions of the working class get worse.

The funding for the education that is suppose to allow workers to “compete” in the global economy, is being cut in order to bail out the rich.  Working class young people are told to join the military and fight and die in unjust wars as the way to get an education.

A federally funded and corporate taxed jobs program must be part of the answer in addressing the crisis facing the working class.  A jobs program must have as its first priority, addressing the social problems facing the working class: the construction of affordable housing, universal healthcare and the construction of more hospitals and clinics; the construction of schools; the conversion of plants to serve the needs of the communities, especially the most oppressed; and cleaning up the environment.  Such a jobs program can create millions of family supporting and socially developing and productive jobs.

However, history shows that it takes a massive movement among the people, especially the working class, and led by the most oppressed sectors, to bring about the changes that benefit the masses of people. This was true in the struggle to end slavery; and during the civil rights period in the 1950s and 60s under the leadership of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. and the many young activists that worked tirelessly to organize and empower people.

We cannot allow our deserved pride of electing a Black president, to silence our historical struggle for justice, democracy, power and liberation. There is too much at state not to hold everyone accountable for using their positions of power in government, and in organizing and mobilizing the power of the people, to help address the needs of the masses in finding solutions to the economic crisis, and to the capitalist system that continuously causes these crisis.

The fight for jobs must be organized in every city and community.  The trade unions must take up the fight for jobs, both in defense against the attacks on their members who are becoming increasing unemployed, and to help to build and support coalitions and unemployed councils that give the millions of workers, employed and unemployed and their allies, the organizations and a broad framework to fight for jobs, unionization and worker empowerment.

Peoples Assemblies should hold unemployed worker speak outs and rallies in communities and at unemployment offices to form unemployed councils, that develop the demands for jobs and income, and to build a powerful local, statewide and national movement for jobs.

Join or Form Peoples Assemblies and Help Build the Fight for Jobs.

The Black Workers For Justice Supports The National Green Ribbon Campaign: Justice for Katrina & Rita Survivors

Wear the Green Ribbon: show support for the struggle for the affordable housing and Reconstruction in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast!

More than 2 years ago, the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, exposed corporate greed and US government racism and neglect of conditions to protect the poor, working class and majority Black population in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast. Over 2,000 people died, thousands of homes and vital institutions that support human and social needs were destroyed, and thousands more were forcibly dispersed to all corners of the US.

Instead of rebuilding New Orleans to insure that the people uprooted can return to their homes and communities, and to set a direction for reconstruction throughout the Gulf Coast, the US government is denying the Black majority their human right to return to New Orleans by bulldozing affordable housing and making it economically impossible for people to live in that city. More than 12,000 people are homeless living in the streets and thousands more are scheduled to be evicted from trailers and will lose their affordable housing vouchers.

Green Ribbon Demands:

  • The Right of Return for the Black majority to New Orleans
  • Affordable housing for all – Stop the demolition of public housing Now!
  • Pass Senate Bill 1668 – The Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act of 2007: This bill currently sits in the Senate Committee of Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Contact North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole at 866-420.6083 and urge her to push for the Passage of this bill
  • Stop the police and government harassment and brutality against peaceful protests
  • Free the Jena 6!

For More Information Contact 800-815-4946