Monday, November 9, 2009


Money for jobs; not for war... unemployed workers shouldn't have to pay any taxes.

Make the minimum wage a real living wage based upon all the cost-of-living factors as scientifically calculated by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and then legislatively tie the minimum wage to cost-of-living increases.

A National Conference to Create Living-Wage Jobs,
Meet Human Needs and Sustain the Environment

November 13-14, 2009

New York, NY

The Problem: Even before the onset of our current, deep recession, we faced chronic unemployment, low and stagnant wages, myriad unmet needs and unprecedented environmental degradation.

Today’s rapidly escalating unemployment has put job creation back on the public agenda for the first time in recent history. Nearly 15 million workers were officially unemployed in June 2009, and hidden unemployment brings total joblessness up to almost 30 million with nearly 12 seekers for every available job. If it is possible to ignore the chronic unemployment that besets millions of people in normal times, it is much harder to ignore this current, mass unemployment and its staggering social and economic costs.

 What should progressive activists concerned about economic justice, labor, the religious community and other concerned people do about mass unemployment?
 What long-term goals should we have for the economy?
 How can we build a strong, effective unified movement to achieve full employment and living wage jobs for all?

A strong economic stimulus is imperative to meet the current emergency. Yet, even if the current stimulus package that achieves its intended goal of creating 4 million jobs, it would only reduce official unemployment by a third!

Nor is it good enough to return to official unemployment of 5 million women and men and millions more working poor even in the “best” of recent times, or to be satisfied with the host of unmet needs with which this recession began. In the words of FDR, “We cannot be content, no matter how high the general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people … is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.”

The Challenge: Crises present opportunities for progressive change. This is the time for Progressives people of good will to mobilize and to develop goals and strategies for an economy that provides living wage jobs for all, sustains the environment, and repairs our social and physical infrastructure and begins the transition to a more stable, productive economy that provides for shared prosperity.

Conference Goals and Intended Outcomes:

1. Expand public debate and action on the future of the U.S. economy
2. Increase public awareness of chronic unemployment and underemployment and its human and economic toll, even in better times
3. Build on Increase public awareness of current mass unemployment, its dire consequences for human beings and its waste of potential economic output;
4. Raise public awareness of our current economic dead-end—high personal and foreign debt, inequality, wage lag, environmental degradation, military overreach….
5. Steer public debate and action toward:
• Government promotion and creation of living-wage jobs, strengthening of the safety net and supportive fiscal, monetary and trade policies;
• Government promotion and creation of jobs that improve the physical and social infrastructure (repair of bridges, upgrading public transportation, building affordable housing, improving and expanding public education and child, health and elder care).
• Government promotion and creation of jobs that further the goal of a sustainable economy and begin to restructure it.
6. Develop plans to pay for this program of reconstruction through more progressive taxes and confinement of military spending to genuine defense needs

7. Initiate a movement for living-wage jobs for all and develop strategies for achieving this permanent economic reform-- including similar conferences in cities across the country and a mass mobilization in Washington on behalf of economic reconstruction.

You Are Invited to Be a Conference Convenor/Co-Sponsor: We seek broad participation and sponsorship for this National Conference, especially organizations with a primary focus on the quality and quantity of jobs, economic justice, social security, the safety net and poverty prevention. Other critical participants will be organizations not primarily concerned with employment, but whose goals for union rights, health care, education, child care, elder care, disability rights, housing, economic restructuring, public transportation, environmental sustainability, and the arts would be furthered by job creation in their areas of interest. The hope is to gain their ongoing commitment to conquering unemployment and low wages-- even after the crisis subsides. This would build on a plans of the National Jobs for All Coalition and the Chicago Political Economy Group to simultaneously create living wage jobs for all and, through a renewed public sector, to repair our deeply deficient social and physical infrastructure.