Jobs with Justice activists will gather outside the A. Maceo Smith Federal building on the first Friday of the month (when new statistics are published) to make it clear that the continuing jobs crisis is America's number one priority. They will be addressed by Bob Cash, Director of Texas Fair Trade Watch. Brother Cash brings news that another 159,000 good American jobs are expected to flow away from the United States if the next so-called "free trade" agreement passes. It is presently supported by Dallas-based trade rep Ron Kirk and President Obama, but opposed by working people everywhere who are sick of seeing our government help perpetuate the exporting of jobs. Please join us!
I just received an update on jobs legislation from Scott Marshall of People's World. The euphemistically titled Republican JOBS bill (purportedly for "Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services") would allow states to divert federal unemployment money earmarked for extended unemployment benefits (EUC and EB benefits) away from the unemployed and for other purposes. Some state unemployment insurance funds are broke because of the length and depth of the economic crisis, but also because during "good" times, most states (especially Texas) failed to impose UI taxes on business adequate to fund the program.
Sens Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced an alternative bill to relieve states of Unemployment Fund interest payments and avoid raising UI taxes on employers. More fundamentally, the Center for American Progress has a comprehensive proposal for unemployment insurance reform that would provide for a larger federal role for funding UI in times of high unemployment, and mandate more consistency (and improvement) of benefit levels and eligibility rules across states. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities study shows that the UI funds can be rebuilt while maintaining benefit levels, and without adding to the deficit.
The folks at the National Unemployed Project push a bill by Congressman John Conyers, and they are working to improve on it. A national jobs program is, short term, still the only real solution.
The federal government's cold shoulder toward the jobs crisis may very well get worse if they go to "tight money" as opposed to the "easy money" policies of today. At the end of June, the Federal Reserve is supposed to stop printing new money. The Dallas newspaper for 5/31/11 has an article in which old Reaganite Paul Volcker says inflation may become a problem soon and "tight money" should be implemented ahead of it. When they go to "tight money" against inflation, they turn their backs completely on the 20 million (or so) American families currently suffering from this jobs crisis.
It bears repeating that no economist predicts a significant lessening of this jobs crisis before the next one begins. There are giant protests worldwide. Let us join them!
Our Jobs with Justice Steering Committee member from the UNITE-HERE union calls out for help with their airport food workers:
"This Sky Chefs fight is a brutal one, and I'm hoping I can get some help from you and the other activists in Jobs with Justice.
'As a reminder, we have been in bargaining with Sky Chefs for 18 months, and the company has put very little -- a one-time 20 cent increase! -- on the table. Long-term workers here at DFW Airport and in the other 40 kitchens around the country have not had a wage increase for more than 10 years. Of course we know that this fight will not be won at the bargaining table and workers around the country are moving forward an inside-outside strategy to push back around a common theme of safety. We have learned that the workload increases and cutting corners have not been unique to Sky Chefs workers, but have become a dangerous practice by Lufthansa, Sky Chefs' parent company, all over the world.
'Following several serious workplace injuries here in Dallas, workers are going back to the safety rules they were trained to follow. Abusive supervisors, excessive workload have created an environment in which workers are pushed to ignore safety rules in order to complete their work. We anticipate push-back from the company when workers re- prioritize their own physical safety, and are trying to line up some additional support from outside to let these workers know they are not alone and have the company understand that their actions are being watched.
'We are asking for two forms of support:
- a physical presence outside the plant
- letters faxed to the company in support of the right to a safe workplace
I have attached one such letter so you can see it."
Lead Organizer, UNITE HERE
Dear Company Representative,
Recently I have become aware of concerns of Dallas Sky Chefs workers who feel pressured to break safety rules, work with unsafe equipment, or are unable to take their meal and rest breaks because of the workloads they are assigned.
DFW International Airport is among the busiest airports in the world. Any situation that compromises these workers’ safety not only has consequences on their health and livelihood, but also could affect the safety of planes on the ramp and the vast number of passengers traveling through the airport.
I frequently hear stories of people who have been injured at work and must find ways to support their families once they are disabled, injured or live with chronic pain. These stories compel me to support the UNITE HERE members and employees of Dallas Sky Chefs in their efforts to create a safer work environment to prevent any such injuries or accidents.
National Jobs with Justice is developing some important new national programs that we will participate in. One of the main ones is getting a big delegation to the national conference Aug 5-7 in DC. We need to send your application ASAP. The United Church of Christ’s Justice and Witness Ministries is providing partial scholarships to the JwJ national conference to UCC members who participate in their local Jobs with Justice affiliates and need financial assistance to attend the conference. The scholarships are available by contacting Edie Rasell at 866-822-8224, ext. 3709.
For more information contact organizer Gene Lantz at firstname.lastname@example.org
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