Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As economic leaders gather in Washington for the White House Jobs Summit, working people will come together in Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico, and California to talk about their experience in communities hard hit by the economic crisis. Members of Working America and the AFL-CIO will join religious and labor leaders in Dayton , Columbus , Minneapolis , Sacramento , and Albuquerque to discuss how the economic crisis has affected them and call for the implementation of national policies that will create good jobs immediately.

The roundtable discussions are part of an initiative led by the 11.5 million member AFL-CIO and affiliates like Working America to push for the immediate creation of good jobs. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will be at the White House Jobs Summit calling for a five-point plan that will create and save at least 2 million jobs over the next year. The plan includes:

· Extending the lifeline for jobless workers;

· Rebuilding America’s schools, roads, and energy systems;

· Increasing aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services;

· Funding jobs in our communities; and

· Putting TARP funds to work for Main Street.

“The job crisis is hitting all working Americans across the country.” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. “That’s why every day we are calling for immediate action to turn around the economy. We need jobs—now. And I’ll be delivering that message from millions of working people at the White House Jobs Summit.”

Working America represents 3 million members, 16.5 percent of which are unemployed, making it one of the largest organizations of unemployed workers in the country. Recently, Working America launched the Unemployment Lifeline (at which is a resource for people who’ve lost their jobs and are struggling to find a new one.

“Every night we talk to thousands of people in neighborhoods across the country and they all tell us the same thing – that they need urgent action on jobs and economy to stay afloat,” said Karen Nussbaum, Executive Director of Working America. “The jobs crisis is in every neighborhood, every family. The question we’re asking is what do working Americans think of the economy and how has it impacted them. That's just as important as what Goldman Sachs thinks.”

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  1. Statement on President Obama's Job Summit

    For Immediate Release: December 2, 2009
    Contact: Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x 115

    Washington, D.C.- Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Dean Baker issued the following statement on President Obama's upcoming jobs summit:

    It is encouraging to see the Obama administration return its focus to job creation. The stimulus bill passed last February was an important factor in stopping the steepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. The latest report from the Congressional Budget Office indicates that the ARRA of 2009 may have been responsible for creating as many as 1.6 million jobs, lowering the unemployment rate by as much as a full percentage point.

    Nonetheless, the downturn has been markedly worse than was predicted last winter. The unemployment rate is at an unacceptably high level and is now projected to remain high long into the future, remaining in double digits for most of 2010, and not falling below 7.0 percent until late 2012. President Obama has rightly decided that this baseline is unacceptable.

    There are four steps that can be taken to reduce the unemployment rate quickly:

    1. Flexible employment credits to allow employers to shorten work hours instead of laying off workers: Each month, employers are laying off close to 2 million workers. If the government gave employers tax credits to shorten work time while leaving pay unchanged, it could reduce these layoffs. If the number of layoffs fell by just 10 percent, this would have the same effect on employment as adding 200,000 jobs a month or 2.5 million a year. Germany has used this mechanism to keep its unemployment rate from rising, even though it has experienced a steeper recession than the United States.

    2. Support for education, health care and other vital state and local government services: Under budget pressure, state and local governments across the country are cutting these services and laying off workers. Aid from the federal government can allow these workers to keep their jobs and services to continue to be provided.

    3. Direct job creation: There are parts of the country where the unemployment rate now exceeds 25 percent, with youth unemployment well above 40 percent. To prevent a generation of young people from being locked out of the job market, it is important to have public service jobs that can employ people immediately.

    4. Right to rent for homeowners facing foreclosure: If homeowners facing foreclosure had the right to remain in their homes as tenants paying the market rent for a substantial period (5-10 years), it would provide substantial housing security to millions of families while stemming the nation's rising number of foreclosures. This policy could also provide an economic boost since it would free up money for millions of homeowners who are now struggling with mortgage debts that they cannot pay. This would in turn lead to a boost in consumption that would increase demand in the economy.

    These steps would go far in reducing layoffs, fostering job growth and giving relief to the millions of Americans suffering as a result of the economic crisis.