Activists Commit to Economic Justice
A diverse crowd of 65 attended our Town Hall Meeting for Economic Justice on September 25 at UAW 848 Hall in Grand Prairie, Texas. No more than six of them were from any individual union local or organization, and most organizations were represented by only two or three activists. Bringing sincere activists together has been the main mission of North Texas Jobs with Justice since it was founded in that same union hall in 1990.
Several of the participants were recognized for the contributions they are making in present-day worker struggles.
The agenda consisted of rousing talks by Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller and internationally renowned theologian Rev. Dr. Joerg Rieger. Audience participation then provided more insights and inspiration.
Some of the points President Moeller made:
- “The root ill for this economy is health care!”
- “The Dallas newspaper reported that about half of the jobs lost in this recession will be permanent job losses.”
- “The truth is that the downturn will not be over for a lot of us.”
- “Labor is the only lobby group that asks for anything for the underserved.”
- “We advocate for all the working families in Texas, whether they are union families or not.”
- “[New national AFL-CIO President] Rich Trumpka is a different kind of person.... He is not afraid to say, ‘I’m a revolutionary!’”
- Unions are working hard to gain new allies, especially among immigrant workers and in the religious community.
- “[She appreciated Dr. Rieger’s efforts to build a labor/religious coalition: “Religious leaders in this part of the country are not necessarily on our side – but they could be.”
Some of the points made by Dr. Joerg Rieger:
- Working people need to insist that their church leaders support their struggles for economic justice
- His latest (tenth) published book, “No Rising Tide, Religion and Economics,” calls for a new mindset toward economic dogma
- He said, “Economists are more and more thought of as being like religious people who act on blind faith.”
- Religious people, working together, can make a vital difference
Some of the points made in audience discussion:
- Workers demand more than we are getting from “Blue Dog Democrats.”
- Medicare Advantage plans can really hurt seniors
- The Employee Free Choice Act is vital
- Health care reform would lessen the bleeding of American jobs to other countries businesses do not have to pay off insurance companies
- Health care reform would lessen the unemployment crisis by making it possible for more older workers to retire
- We were both preaching and practicing our most important task: coming together.
The event began with the singing of labor’s anthem, “Solidarity Forever.” It ended in fellowship and congratulations among all the participants.
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