Friday, January 1, 2021

[NJFAC] 7 Reasons Why We Need Federal Direct Job Creation!! (Jan 2021 NJFAN Newsletter)

Jobs for All Newsletter #5, (January 2021) COVID, Jobs, Bailouts and more

News and Updates from the National Jobs for All Network (NJFAN)
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National Jobs for All Network
P.O. Box 96, Lynbrook, NY 11563 · · 
Issue #5, January 2021
In this issue of the Jobs for All Newsletter:

The Covid-19 Relief Package: Too Little and Way Too Late

The $900 billion coronavirus relief package passed by the U.S. Congress Dec. 21st—and finally signed by President Donald Trump six days later—will bring immediate assistance to  millions of desperate Americans and provide some stimulus to the economy.

But the package falls way short of what's needed to address the deep human suffering and economic loss caused by  this pandemic-induced recession. Moreover, Trump's stall—as he called for a $2,000 check for each family member that he knew Republicans would never approve—delayed even further sorely-needed relief to millions of American families. Withholding aid during the season of giving!

The relief package—appropriating less than one-third of the cost of the $3 trillion HEROES Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May—is simply not large enough to last until the pandemic is under control.

This legislation is seen by many as a stop-gap measure until the administration of President-elect Joe Biden crafts a more comprehensive rescue package. Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) called it a "down payment." However, whether the new administration can deliver substantial relief and economic stimulus depends on Senate approval—which is very unlikely if the upper house remains in the hands of a Republican leadership that is opposed to more spending. Much therefore hinges on the outcome of the Georgia special election which will determine control of the Senate.
Read More


Seven Reasons Why We Need a Major Federal Direct Job Creation Program, ASAP


Millions of Americans need help right now. They cannot afford food, rent, or other necessities. We need a generous CARES Act II. But we need so much more.

President-elect Joe Biden and his team talk about bringing real economic opportunities, but old approaches and half-way efforts will not suffice. Obviously, the United States needs more jobs now, but the goal cannot be merely to get back to where we were before the pandemic. That should be just the beginning.

Prior to the pandemic, there were a lot of jobs but still not enough and many of them were lousy jobs. Real wages for workers in the lower half were barely higher than they had been in the 1970s.

Coming out of the pandemic, a standard economic recovery and business-as-usual will vastly improve life for millions of people, but that won't lift enough of them out of economic insecurity and poverty or near-poverty. We need federal direct-job creation programs. 

Here are seven reasons why.

Read More

New York and Massachusetts Introduce Job Creation Legislation


Help Start a New WPA Public Jobs Program in Your State!

Legislators in New York and Massachusetts have introduced visionary legislation to create statewide, publicly-funded job creation programs to hire jobless workers. The two bills are modeled after the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the New Deal. The WPA employed 8.5 million workers from 1935 to 1943 in a wide range of public works, construction, environmental restoration, and arts and culture jobs, that met urgent human and infrastructure needs. 

The sponsors of the proposed New York and Massachusetts WPA bills are calling for the federal government to appropriate and pass-through grant funds to states to fund the state jobs programs, which would be implemented by their respective state departments of labor, to create many urgently needed jobs to in response to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis.  

The National Jobs For All Network (NJFAN) encourages advocates to reach out to legislators in other states to encourage them to introduce similar bills. This will help publicize the need for state and national public service jobs programs and increase pressure on state and federal governments to act to fund and implement them.

Please contact Chuck Bell of National Jobs for All Network if you would like more information and/or to arrange a briefing for an interested group or legislator. Contact: Chuck Bell,, 914.830.0639.

Read More about the New York and Massachusetts job creation bills

Gender Inequality and Covid-19


Men are more likely than women to die from Covid-19.

But in many ways, women are being disproportionately hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which is exacerbating gender inequality.

"The resurgence of extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic has revealed women's precarious economic security," said Antra Bhatt, co-author of a United Nations report "From Insights to Action."

"Women typically earn less and hold less secure jobs than men," Bhatt said. "With plummeting economic activity, women are particularly vulnerable to layoffs and loss of livelihoods."

The UN report estimates that the pandemic will push 47 million women and girls into poverty worldwide. This will bring the total number of women and girls living on $1.90 or less a day to 435 million in the global economy.

"For the first time since 1964—the advent of modern U.S. employment statistics for women—this economic downturn, which began in February, has seen women lose jobs at a higher rate than men," Michael Madowitiz and Diana Boesch write in a report released in October by the Center for American Progress. "Women's employment and labor force participation rates have both fallen to levels not seen since 1986."

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Debate and Discussion

Could a Resurgence of FDR's Tree Army Be on the Horizon?

By AMY KUBIS, Digital Editor
The Allegheny Front

When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in the midst of the Great Depression he was facing record unemployment and a host of environmental problems. Sound familiar? In response, FDR established the Civilian Conservation Corps, as part of his New Deal. He introduced the idea to the nation in his second fireside chat broadcast by radio across the country on May 7, 1933.

During the Civilian Conservation Corps era, from 1933 to 1942, close to 200,000 Pennsylvanians served in camps across the country. The value of the work completed by the CCC nationwide is estimated at $8 billion.

Calls for a New CCC for the 21st Century

Now, some congressional Democrats are talking about a resurgence of the program to tackle both unemployment and environmental issues, including U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

"I think not only is it a great idea, it's an idea whose time has come," he said on a Zoom call with stakeholders recently. "It's an idea whose urgency is upon us. Maybe without the pandemic but ever more so in the aftermath of the pandemic." 

Casey is currently drafting legislation for a 21st Century CCC program that he's planning to introduce soon and thinks there is potential for bipartisan support for it. Once the legislation is finalized, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) would provide an estimate of the total cost.

"I can hear the howls from some in Washington saying, 'Oh my goodness, you mean you're going to use federal dollars to hire people?' " Casey said. "And I say, 'Damn right. You gotta do it.' There's no way we can wait for some package of incentives to kickstart a full, robust recovery." 

Editor's note: H.R. 2358, the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Act has been introduced in the House of Representative by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). See January 2020 Jobs for All Newsletter.

For the complete Allegheny Front article, go to
Movement News

Corporate Fat Cats Get Bailouts, Workers Get Pink Slips as Retailers File for Bankruptcy Protection

Retail giants hit by the Covid-19 recession are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections, letting go workers while giving bonuses to corporate executives.
Meanwhile, bankruptcy filings have allowed the companies to protect their assets and provide leveraged bailouts to their executives arranged by parasitical private equity firms.

Clothing retailer J.Crew filed for bankruptcy in May. As of mid-August, the number of its stores was down to 170, compared to 500 before the Covid-19 recession.

Just a week after J.Crew's. bankruptcy filling in early May, Neiman Marcus filed for Chapter 11 protection, threatening the livelihood of its more than 13,000 employees. The company told the bankruptcy court it planned to close 21 locations permanently. In February, Neiman Marcus paid its CEO a $4 million bonus, and a week before the bankruptcy filing, other executives received $25 million.

"In a perfect world, we would prohibit LBOs because they are primarily predatory and often destructive of value and jobs," writes Bill Barclay, a Democratic Socialists of America organizer, member of the of Chicago Political Economy Group, and NJFAN board member, in an article on the DSA's website, Democratic Left. "In this world, we could at least put restraints on the LBO market."                                                   
For the full story, click here.

Helping Mexican Folk Artists Market Their Work

A GoFundMe drive raised $21,000 to help artists in the Mexican state of Oaxaca who are facing financial hardship because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Shown here are examples of submissions to a competition of folk art on the Covid-19 theme that was organized to create interest in the fundraiser.  
"Fundraisers are important," says Alan Goldberg, an architect who initiated the project, "but long-term solutions are needed."

Goldberg, in partnership with associates in Oaxaca, will soon  launch the Mexican Folk Art website (MFA) to enable these artists to access national and international markets. The organizers feel MFA is the best way for these folk artists to cushion themselves against the financial effects of future pandemics, natural disasters, and other hardships. 

Currently, Goldberg is completing a book on Oaxacan Covid-19 folk art. Sponsored by the Mexican Museum in San Francisco, the book gives the artists an opportunity to share their work and culture with a wider audience.


Palliative Care Bill Advances

Health-care advocates are fighting for legislation that would ensure medical professionals are trained to provide more humane and coordinated care of patients.

Grassroots activists are calling on U.S. senators to pass the Palliative Care Hospice Education Training Act (PCHETA). The U.S. House of Representatives approved its version of the bill last year.

Sen. Tammy Suzanne Green Baldwin (D-WI) is the sponsor of the Senate bill (S. 2080). Currently, S.2080 has 37 bipartisan cosponsors. If the Senate fails to approve the bill in the current session, PCHETA will need to be reintroduced in both houses.

The House version of PCHETA was approved on Oct 28, 2019. 

The legislation would require training for medical professionals on how to provide more humane and coordinated care.  Currently, they don't get this palliative care training as part  of their medical education.

Book Nook

A History of Unemployment and the Search for Solutions

American Unemployment: Past, Present and Future
Frank Stricker
University of Illinois Press
Hardcover $125
Paperback $19.95
Ebook $14.95
ISBN-13: 978-0252043154
ISBN-10: 0252043154


There are some books that all members of the jobs-for-all/right-to-work/full-employment/job-guarantee advocacy movement should have on their bookshelf or in their computer library. Frank Stricker's new book, "American Unemployment: Past, Present and Future," is one of those.

Stricker is an historian, and the primary purpose of the book is to provide an account of the nature and extent of the unemployment problem in the United States since the beginning of the industrial era following the end of the Civil War.

The theme of this history is that there has always been a lot more unemployment in the United States than people realize. During economic contractions, the problem is clearly visible, as is its link to business cutbacks and outright failures. But when "good times" return and the economy is "booming," it's hard to see unemployment for what it is. Instead, individuals and groups that lack work are much more likely to be blamed for their own joblessness. Stricker's book provides a powerful retrospective antidote to that assumption.
Read More

An Appreciation

Helen Lachs Ginsburg, Scholar-Activist and Leader in Advocacy of Living-Wage Jobs for All


Helen Lachs Ginsburg, life-long advocate for full employment and a Job Guarantee, died on Oct. 8 at the age of 91. She retired some years ago as professor emerita of economics from Brooklyn College. Professor Ginsburg gained distinction in a field that was dominated by men, particularly some 70 years ago when she launched her career as an economist.

As a founding member of the National Committee for Full Employment, led by Coretta Scott King, Ginsburg wrote and lectured around the country in the 1970s in support of the full employment legislation proposed by Rep. Augustus Hawkins (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Sen. Hubert Humphrey (D-MN).

The original legislation would have given everyone a decent job who wants one
a key policy to reduce inequality and poverty. As a tireless promoter of full-employment legislation, Ginsburg came to be a link between those like her who fought for full employment 50 years ago and the young activists now pressing for a job guarantee, a $15 minimum wage, and a Green New Deal that would include a right to living-wage work. 

The Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978, a much watered-down version of the legislation originally proposed by Rep. Hawkins, guaranteed neither full employment nor balanced growth.
In the wake of her disappointment with the legislation, Professor Ginsburg began her study of Sweden's successful, sustained full employment policy.  
Unemployment Data
The Full Count: November 2020

Officially unemployed: 10.7 million (6.7%)

Hidden unemployment: 13.8 million
(Includes 6.7 million people working part-time
because they can't find a full-time job;
and 7.1 million people who want jobs,
but are not actively looking)
Total: 24.5 million (14.6% of the labor force)

There are 3.7 job-wanters for each available job!

For more information and analysis, visit:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Support NJFAN

Dear Friends,

We write to you with hope that 2021 will be a much better year than the one that is coming to a close—with control of the coronavirus and large steps toward economic, racial, and earth justice. 

Healing Our Divided Nation

President-elect Joseph Biden aspires to govern for all Americans. Full employment—a guarantee of living-wage work for all—is essential to unifying this country and repairing the economic policies that have damaged and divided us. A Job Guarantee is a universal measure and, as such, a unifying measure—available to all and at the same time benefiting most those who suffer disproportionately from unemployment and its consequent ills. We continue to believe and to advocate forcefully for a Federal Job Guarantee—an essential foundation for a just and equitable society.
A 21st Century Job Guarantee  will not only solve the scourge of unemployment but will rebuild our depleted resources—just as New Deal government job creation did.  Soon, a high-profile member of the U.S. House of Representatives, whom we have been advising, will announce new legislation for a Job Guarantee featuring the creation of jobs that expand our human services, repair our depleted infrastructure, increase affordable housing, and help to sustain our endangered planet. We look forward to bringing you details of this initiative in upcoming issues of our newsletter and on our website 

Building a Job Guarantee Movement: The Jobs for All Newsletter

During this grim year, NJFAN moved vigorously ahead with its on-line Jobs for All Newsletter, proposing programs of Relief, Recovery, and Reform in response to our nation's acute health and economic crisis. The Jobs for All Newsletter (all back issues available at our website, is a clearinghouse for information about a wide range of economic justice issues and initiatives and an effort to increase communication, cooperation, and unity among the forces for economic and social justice. 

Every issue features Movement News, such as articles in a recent edition on the proposed National Infrastructure Bank and the Poor People's Campaign Digital Rally. We urge you to send us news about your actions on behalf of economic justice so that we can encourage more such ideas and actions.

Every issue contains NJFAN's signature Full Count—not the official unemployment undercount but the actual number of jobless Americans and the number of job seekers in relation to available jobs. The official undercount discourages action on this serious social problem because it underestimates the number of individuals and families that suffer from unemployment. The Full Count is a movement-building tool for supporters of full employment and economic justice because it shows that the problem is widespread. 

Please send us your email address (if you haven't done so yet) so that we can send you the Jobs for All Newsletter.  And please share it with other actual and prospective advocates for Jobs for All.                                                                                                                                                         
NJFAN Co-Founder Professor Helen Lachs Ginsburg

Among other dispiriting occurrences this year was the death of Helen Lachs Ginsburg – our co-founder and a leading intellectual and activist force in our movement. Helen's 1983 book—"Full Employment and Public Policy: The United States and Sweden"—was an important influence on the thinking of those who advocate full employment—or as Helen referred to that goal in the title of a 1978 article in "The Nation": "Jobs  for All." 
Please read our own reflections about Helen in the newsletter, which includes a link to her obituary in The New York Times. We celebrate her contributions as well as mourn her loss to our group. In doing so, we recognize her continuing influence on those of us who had the privilege of working closely with her.  

A Rebirth of Economic Justice

We know there are many calls on your generosity this year.
A Job Guarantee is a centerpiece of the nation's economic recovery and rebirth of economic justice.  Presented with an idea for reform, FDR reportedly replied that it was a good idea, saying. "Now go out and make me do it."

Your tax-deductible contributions will help NJFAN to make our new leaders "do it." They need us!

Warm regards,

Trudy Goldberg

Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, Chair

P.S. -  Please make out your checks to National Jobs for All Coalition or pay via PayPal on our website:

Get Involved!!

 Join/Donate!  Subscribe!

The National Jobs for All Network is dedicated to the proposition that meaningful employment is a precondition for a fulfilling life, and that every person capable of working should have the right to a job.  As part of our mission, the NJFAN promotes discussion, encourages networking, and disseminates information concerning the problem of unemployment, the struggle for workers' rights, and the goal of guaranteeing decent work for everyone who wants it.

NJFAN relies on your support. If you find our material useful, please make a tax-deductible donation. We are all volunteers, except for a part-time coordinator and a part-time administrator.

We are publishing this newsletter to provide a public forum where the multiple groups and countless individuals interested in promoting this goal can learn what others are doing to promote the Job Guarantee idea, build public support for it, and pursue legislative initiatives to implement it.

We invite our readers to:
  • Help us to establish a Jobs for All Action Clearinghouse by informing us of publications, actions and events that promote a Job Guarantee or related economic justice goals so we can share the information with other readers
  • Comment on the contents of this issue of the Jobs for All Newsletter
  • Submit ideas for articles in coming issues of the Jobs for All Newsletter
  • Provide names and email addresses of individuals to whom we may send a subsequent issue of the Jobs for All Newsletter
Please send your updates and contact suggestions to: Thanks so much in advance for your help in building this important social movement.

Newsletter Committee: Gregory N. Heires, editor; Chuck Bell, production manager; Trudy Goldberg, Philip Harvey, Logan Martinez (Action Updates); June Zaccone (the Full Count and NJFAN Website).

National Jobs for All Network
P.O. Box 96
Lynbrook, NY 11563
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National Jobs for All Coalition

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

[NJFAC] founder Helen Ginsburg

We are sorry to inform you of the death of Professor Helen Ginsburg, one of the founders of the National Jobs for All Coalition. An obituary will appear soon in the NY Times. You can access it at the link below. She was both scholar and activist, and her work with us was indispensable. We shall miss her.
June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition

This list is only for announcements, so you may not post. To contact the list manager, write to njfac [at]
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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

[NJFAC] Building the Movement for Economic Equality: Update on Coronavirus Recovery and Reform

National Jobs For All Network
P.O. Box 96, Lynbrook, NY 11563 · · · tel. 203-856-3877
Dear Friends,
We're sending you this copy of our September newsletter—in case you missed it or didn't see it. We welcome your comments and would be very pleased to include in our November issue a report of some action on behalf of economic justice that you have been involved in or think we should cover.
We'd also appreciate your sending copies to people who, like you, advocate a Job Guarantee and related economic justice policies—or provide us with a list.
Best regards,
Trudy Goldberg, Chair

September 2020 News and Updates from National Jobs for All Network (NJFAN)
View this email in your browser
National Jobs for All Network
P.O. Box 96, Lynbrook, NY 11563 · · 
Issue #3, September 2020

The Jobs for All Newsletter:
Building a Social Movement for the Job Guarantee

In this issue:

NJFAN Rallies Supporters to Press Federal Government for New Legislation to Address Coronavirus Crisis


Millions of Americans are struggling harder to survive the economic wreckage caused by the pandemic-induced economic crisis as Washington politicians skipped town after failing to act on a new relief package in August.

The CARES benefits—desperately needed by millions of Americans--were about to expire at the end of July when the National Jobs for All Network issued an emergency message urging its supporters to press legislators to continue funding unemployment compensation for jobless Americans, provide assistance to cash-strapped state and local governments facing huge budget shortfalls, and provide assistance to tenants and homeowners.

Loss of these benefits, the message said, would not only be devastating to millions of Americans but, in reducing consumer spending, also disastrous for the economy.

Recognizing the special importance of this political moment, we urged our readers to do all they could to rally support for legislative action that preserves the COVID-19 income and housing benefits; mandates federal leadership over the nation's response to the coronavirus epidemic; and provides vital aid to state and local governments.

In our emergency message, we emphasized that this is a pandemic-induced recession and that, in addition to the relief and recovery measures that are necessary responses in any severe downturn, Washington must adopt a coordinated national plan to control the spread of COVID-19—to put an end to unnecessary illness and death.

That, instead of premature opening of the economy, is the road to recovery.

Read More

Debate and Discussion

A Missing Pledge in the 2020 Democratic Party Platform


For 52 years—from 1936 to 1988—the Democratic Party pledged support for the achievement of full or maximum employment.

These pledges began before economist John Maynard Keynes even coined the term, "full employment." They were initially inspired by the 1935 report of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's cabinet-level Committee on Economic Security (CES). The CES report is best known for proposing the establishment of the nation's Social Security system.

Less well known is the report's proposal for achieving what it described as "maximum" employment. Indeed, the report described the achievement of maximum employment as the "first objective in a program of economic security" (emphasis added), and its proposal for achieving that goal was the report's first recommendation.

To achieve maximum employment, the CES proposed that the federal government provide the nation's workforce with "employment assurance" by stimulating private employment and providing public employment for those able-bodied workers whom industry cannot employ at a given time. In other words, the CES proposed a combination of what later came to be known as the Keynesian full employment strategy (the use of stimulus spending to promote private sector economic growth) and the New Deal's own strategy of providing work for the unemployed in direct job creation programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administrations (WPA).

Read More

Public Policy and the Coronavirus Pandemic

Europe Protects Jobs While the United States Accepts Mass Layoffs


The United States faces its greatest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression in the wake of the economic wreckage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Not so in Europe.

The Euro area has only experienced a blip in joblessness since the outbreak of the coronavirus as the unemployment rate increased from 7.2 percent in February to 7.4 percent in May. In contrast, the official unemployment rate in the United States more than tripled from 3.5 percent in February to 11.1 percent in June.

The differences in unemployment levels reflect dramatically contrasting philosophies about the role of government and public policy—dare we say even opposing moral perspectives.

European countries generally responded to the pandemic by taking steps to help companies keep workers on their payroll.

On the other hand, in the United States, the federal government allowed mass layoffs to occur while providing temporary unemployment insurance benefits to the affected workers--and largely doing nothing to guarantee that they will be able to return to their jobs once the pandemic is over.

Read More

Life at the Edge: Living Paycheck to Paycheck during the COVID-19 Pandemic


When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States in early 2020, it landed in a nation that was already experiencing the intense economic polarity of the Second Gilded Age. Decades of accelerating income and wealth inequality had already concentrated financial gains at the very top of the income distribution, and tens of millions of households were paycheck to paycheck, with little or no savings or financial assets.  

"Although everyone is vulnerable to contracting the virus, the risk of developing severe or lethal illness is not equally distributed across the population," according to Prosperity Now, a group that tracks income and wealth disparities. Their April report, "The Unequal Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Households' Financial Stability," highlights the risks of the pandemic for the country's most vulnerable residents.

According to Prosperity Now:
  • 45 million households don't have enough cash on hand to weather an emergency;
  • 39 percent of U.S. households can't afford an emergency expense of $400, without selling assets or borrowing from relatives;
  • 27.6 million people--17 percent of the labor force--are employed in low-wage occupations, which are much less likely to provide health insurance, retirement savings plans or paid sick leave;
  • People of color, immigrants and women are much more likely to work at low wage jobs, and live paycheck to paycheck. There is a stark racial wealth and savings gap: Over 58 percent of Black and Latinx households are "liquid asset poor" compared to 28 percent of White households.
  • Undocumented immigrants are largely excluded from social supports. Yet undocumented workers constitute 4.6 percent of the U.S. labor force, including a quarter of all farming jobs, 15 percent of construction jobs, and 9 percent of service jobs.   
A follow-up survey in August found that nearly 40 percent of lower-income households feel worse off financially because of the pandemic. Almost half of households surveyed were unable to fully cover at least one basic expense, such as housing, food or health care. With little financial cushion to fall back on, Black, Latinx and low-income households are highly likely to turn to credit products, such as credit cards and payday loans, that could sharply increase their financial vulnerability.

Read More

Reading Nook

Book Review: The Case for Reparations

William A.  Darity, Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black American in the Twenty-First Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2020.


Published earlier this year, "From Here to Equality" makes a persuasive case for reparations for Black Americans.  As such it qualifies as a manifesto for the popular movement that began as a protest against racist police violence and has become an outcry against centuries of oppression and destruction of black lives.

Darity, professor of public policy, economics, and African and African American studies at Duke University, and Mullen, writer, curator, and folklorist, have exhaustively researched the white atrocities against African Americans that began five centuries ago with chattel slavery and that persist, crying out for recompense today.

In making the case for reparations—"a program of acknowledgement, redress, and closure for grievous injustices"—Darity and Mullen examine in depth "three tiers or phases of injustice: slavery, American apartheid (Jim Crow), and the combined effects of present-day discrimination and the ongoing depreciation of Black Lives."

Read More

Movement News

A National Bank to Repair Our Crumbling Infrastructure and Create Millions of New Jobs


Elected officials have not yet focused on a concrete plan for how to pay for our pressing infrastructure needs, nor to create millions of jobs to replace those lost on account of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Congress to create a National Infrastructure Bank—HR 6422—does both.

Infrastructure Funding at a 70 Year Low

Our nation's spending on public infrastructure has fallen to its lowest level in 70 years, or 2.5 percent of the GDP. That's half the comparable level in Europe, and one-third the level in China. As a result, productivity, investment, and manufacturing have collapsed, and we are losing our world-wide competitive edge.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that $4.6 trillion is needed just to repair our infrastructure. Of that, $2.1 trillion is currently needed for unmet funding of roads, bridges, mass transit, electricity grids, schools, dams, ports, airports, rail, water, and more. In addition, we need high speed rail, complete broadband, and affordable housing, as well as major water projects to combat flooding and produce more electricity.

All of these projects require a steady source of long-term funding and the latest technologies for optimal efficiency and minimum environmental impact. Along with these pressing infrastructure needs, our country confronts an employment crisis. The new bank would allow the country to address both these challenges.

As of June 2020, 44 million workers had filed first-time unemployment claims since mid-March, and 18 million were counted as officially unemployed. What's worse, these numbers may be underestimates, as layoffs continue on account of COVID-19 re-closings, and more businesses falter due to financial stress.

A significant number of the lost jobs will not return, even after the economy fully opens up. Latest forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office, International Monetary Fund, and top economists suggest that the ultimate impact of the economic crash will be like nothing we have seen in our nation's history.
We must prepare now to address these challenges by enacting a new National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) that invests at least $4 trillion in infrastructure, not merely to revive the old economy but to create a new, sustainable one.

The proposed NIB would:
  • create an independent government-owned, depository/lending bank with full disclosure of its expenditures.
  • provide capitalization through existing, privately-owned Treasuries (the same method as four NIBs in our nation's past).
  • lend up to $4 trillion with well-targeted project selection.
  • charge participants an affordable 2 percent annual interest rate for loans. Earnings would provide the government with $80 billion a year in dividends and coverage for overhead costs.
  • Provide flexible loan repayment for states, counties, cities, utilities, authorities, and cooperatives. Repayments could be drawn from general revenues, special revenues, or user fees.
Significantly, the infrastructure bank is a politically attractive proposal: The new institution would be self-funded. The federal government would not have to assume any new debt or adopt new taxes to fund infrastructure projects.

Benefits of Infrastructure Funding

The expected benefits of the bank would include:
  • re-vitalizing our crumbling infrastructure: This would lead to less traffic congestion and CO2 pollution; lead-free water; state-of-the-art schools, affordable housing, and adequate funding for infrastructure projects in every single state.
  • helping workers: The bank would create millions of jobs paying Davis-Bacon wages. It would allow for the re-hiring of millions of Americans now unemployed and provide them with training for permanent construction occupations with benefits.
  • supporting businesses: The bank would pour billions of dollars into spending on construction and manufacturing, boosting business productivity and consumer demand.
  • stimulating the economy: The infrastructure investment would help ensure that the coronavirus recession is V-shaped with a quick recovery, it would help push up long-term growth from an estimated 1.8 percent to 5 percent a year, and it would help end the strain on federal and state budgets by quickly re-employing workers without jobs.
Investments by the NIB would build up a new workforce by re-training workers for permanent occupations, creating an opportunity for the NIB to coordinate with job creation programs like H.R. 1000 in the areas of configuring job training courses and matching workers with construction needs.

Please support the NIB by doing whatever you can to support HR 6422 and create a $4 trillion National Infrastructure Bank right away.

Alphecca Muttardy is a macro-economist with the Coalition for a National Infrastructure Bank and 25-year veteran of the International Monetary Fund. For background on the coalition, go to


Poor People's Campaign Digital Rally Exposes the Country's Political and Economic Injustices


The Poor People's Campaign held a digital justice gathering in June that focused on the injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, and the morally bankrupt narrative of religious nationalism that plague the country's politics and economy.

Over 50,000 people watched the live broadcast of the Digital Mass Poor People's Assembly and Moral March on Washington on the group's website on June 20. Tens of thousands more viewed the weekend event on Facebook and up to one million, including other media platforms.

The Poor People's Campaign and its mobilizing partners of more than 200 organizations worked with the campaign to support the event.

The digital assembly shared powerful presentations of poor people telling their stories and inspirational speeches by the Rev. William Barber, the campaign's co-chair, and other leaders.  

The three-hour broadcast was filled by poor and working people telling the extraordinary stories of their lives. A theme song and poem running through the program carried a poignant message: "Someone is hurting my brother and it's gone on for too long and we won't be silent anymore."

The assembly highlighted stories about the struggle for political and economic justice. These included:
  • A car caravan demanding unemployment benefits in Florida where a large number of people had yet to receive their checks.
  • A Kentucky coal miner with black lung disease who started work in 1968 describing how he has not seen a doctor in 18 years.  
  • Flight attendants refusing to work because the federal government won't set safety standards for flying. 
  • Bartenders in Washington, D.C. living "tip to mouth" on a sub-minimum wage of $4.75 an hour.  
The Poor People's Campaign has produced a must-see video of the rally for political and economic justice. View it at For more info, visit the campaigns web site at 

Logan Martinez is the outreach coordinator of the National Jobs for All Network (NJFAN). The Jobs for All Outreach Committee is planning to document and record stories of the unemployed in the current crisis. We are asking unemployed workers to record their stories and for people to record stories of the unemployed in their community. If you would like to help, contact: Logan Martinez at 

Connecticut State University Faculty Backs the Job Guarantee

The union representing faculty at four Connecticut State University campuses has backed the Jobs for All Pledge that calls for the federal government to enact a Job Guarantee.
At its final regular meeting of the academic year in May, the state council of the Connecticut State University-American Association of University Professors (CSU-AAUP) unanimously voted to pass a resolution in support of the pledge.

In backing the resolution, CSU-AAUP joins many other labor and social justice organizations across the country in advocating for full employment and a real right to work, a goal of the labor movement for many years.
The Job Guarantee was first endorsed by a local chapter at Southern Connecticut State University at its Feb. 7 executive committee meeting. The local then sought the endorsement of the statewide council.
"It is hoped that these endorsements will aid in the struggle to attain a basic human right to employment in the United States and raise the profile of this movement for a job guarantee among political leaders in the State of Connecticut," said Stephen Monroe Tomczak, who is the chapter president of the Southern Connecticut State University-American Association of University Professors local that supported the original resolution.

Tomczak, who is a member of the union's state council and also a member of the National Jobs for All Network, had requested the resolution be introduced earlier in the year, but council action was delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The faculty represented by CSU-AAUP work at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

The Full Count: August 2020
Unemployment Data

Officially unemployed: 13.6 million (8.4%)

Hidden unemployment: 14.6 million
(Includes 7.6 million people working part-time
because they can't find a full-time job;
and 7 million people who want jobs,
but are not actively looking)
Total: 28.2 million (16.8% of the labor force)

There are 4.8 job-wanters for each available job!

For more information and analysis, visit:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Who Botched the Unemployment Count in April and May?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment report for June was relatively upbeat. The official unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent, job totals were up, and the undercount of people laid off by the virus had been reduced to about 1 percent of the labor force. In April and May, the miscount had been much higher.

Reasons for the Undercount

What was the miscount about? The category of unemployed workers on temporary layoff--people not working but expecting to return to their former employers--had zoomed up in April to 18.1 million workers. That was ten times the March total.

But the real situation was worse. The BLS admitted that the number was a substantial undercount. Every month people are on temporary layoff or leave for reasons that have nothing to do with losing their jobs or business closures due to economic reasons.  They may not be included in the count because they suffer from an illness.  Or, they may be on vacation, or away from work because severe weather that shuts things down. They are not normally considered unemployed.  However, the BLS told interviewers that employees who were temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus were to be listed as unemployed.

But not all interviewers followed instructions: Millions of people out of work due to pandemic shutdowns were listed as employed. Had they been sorted properly, unemployment rates would have been 5 points higher in April—not 14.7 percent but 19.5 percent—and 3 points higher in May—not 13.3 percent but 16 percent.

We don't know why the miscount happened.

Were interviewees confused about the questions? And, despite instructions, did some interviewers decide that business and government shutdowns due to the coronavirus were like shutdowns caused by other acts of nature, such as severe weather? In the latter case, employees are not considered unemployed. Finally, did some interviewers have a problem with the fact that people in the category of "unemployed on temporary layoff " don't have to search for jobs to be considered unemployed, while other kinds of workers do?

I don't know the answers.

Read More

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The National Jobs for All Network is dedicated to the propositions that meaningful employment is a precondition for a fulfilling life, and that every person capable of working should have the right to a job.

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