As the newly elected secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, I traveled the country this fall, talking with workers and hearing their concerns. The economic crisis is causing a lot of pain. So many people have no jobs, no health care—and many are losing their homes. And as I looked into the faces of young workers, the reality hit home that these young people are part of the first generation in recent history likely to be worse off than their parents.
On Dec. 15, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will host a live online conversation on the nation’s jobs crisis–and you can take part.
Investment in rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure can put millions of people to work now and improve our country for the long term. The United States has some $2.2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs. That’s a lot of work that needs to be done, at a time when 26 million people are unemployed or underemployed.
The first step in this plan is to extend a lifeline to the people who have been hit the hardest by the jobs crisis. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, unemployment benefits were extended for millions of workers. Those who lost jobs got added food aid and assistance in getting COBRA health coverage. That was the right policy—but even as the crisis continues, those benefits are expiring.
Today, the Campaign for America’s Future is holding a “Building the New Economy” conference. As we build the new economy, it’s important we build one not based on the assets bubbles of the past but on the firm rock of manufacturing.
More than 5,000 people are packing the streets of downtown Chicago this morning, chanting, marching and rallying against Big Bankers and financial institutions that have taken taxpayer money and are using it to give big bonuses to CEOs and to lobby against financial reforms that would ensure they don’t go back on the public dole.