Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Executive Council Approves Action to Create New, Good Jobs

Saying “We will be in the street wherever the fight for jobs is being fought,” members of the AFL-CIO Executive Council today issued a call to action for the entire union and progressive movement to put America back to work and ensure those whose reckless acts created this jobs crisis pay a price.

At its meeting in Orlando, Fla., the AFL-CIO Executive Council approved a statement saying in part:

Mass unemployment is intolerable. Action is required. The AFL-CIO calls upon the entire labor movement—our affiliated unions, our state and local labor councils, the millions of members of Working America and our allies in communities and progressive movements across this country—to come together in a great effort to create and protect good jobs. This campaign for jobs must be carried out at every level—in Washington, D.C., in state capitols and city halls, in boardrooms and workplaces and in living rooms across this country.

The council outlined an ambitious plan that targets politicians who vote to deny aid for the unemployed and against action to create jobs. It also calls for strong actions against Wall Street firms that pay bonuses but won’t pay taxes and against corporations that take the public’s money and use it to downsize and outsource jobs.

Saying that to date, neither Congress nor the Obama administration has proposed a jobs bill on the scale that is needed to close our jobs gap, the council urges enactment of the AFL-CIO’s five-point plan for good jobs now. The five-point plan calls for:

•Extending current federal supplemental unemployment benefits programs to prevent a downward spiral as families fall into bankruptcy and lose their health care and their homes to foreclosure.
•Investing the money to meet the $2.2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs, while including prevailing wage protections and strong Buy America provisions.
•Helping state and local governments meet pressing needs to overcome an estimated $180 billion shortfall in the fiscal year 2011 and $588 billion over the next four years.
•Putting people back to work doing work that needs to be done by preserving good public jobs that provide vital services and capacity for building strong communities. In addition, expansion of vital services in targeted areas can reduce unemployment and provide infrastructure for economic growth.
•Easing the credit crunch for small- and medium-sized businesses by establishing a fund to lend TARP money to small- and medium-sized businesses at commercial rates, managed by the community banks left out of the Wall Street bailout, with the banks taking first-dollar risk.
It is only fair to ask Wall Street to pay for repairing the economy, the council said. The union leaders support a four-part package of measures to ensure the government has the funds to pay back what we have to spend to create jobs. These measures include imposing fees on Wall Street banks to pay back the cost of the bank bailout and a special levy on Wall Street bonuses.

The council also says it supports taxing the income of hedge fund and private equity managers at ordinary income rates, by closing the carried interest loophole.

The AFL-CIO also joins the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in supporting a financial speculation tax and calls on the Obama administration to support the proposals for an internationally coordinated adoption of such a tax by the world’s major financial market countries.

In addition, the council adopted a plan for mobilizing union members, communities and allies. The council called for all parts of the labor movement to act as one to restore good jobs for all Americans and to seek bold action from Washington, from state capitols and from local government, holding elected officials and the private sector accountable for what they do or don’t do.
Read more from the AFL-CIO HERE

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