Thursday, December 3, 2009

Organize and Build Community Power for Direct Public Job Creation!!

December 3, 2009

Dear Jobs Advocate,

Our November 13-14 National Conference to Create Living Wage Jobs, Meet Human Needs and Sustain the Environment greatly exceeded our expectations. Over 125 attendees came representing over 50 organizations. The diversity of attendees was as impressive as their numbers. People came from Atlanta, Chicago, California and many points in between. Participating organizations spanned the broad range of constituencies we need to mobilize to achieve the conference goals of jobs for all at a living wage. The religious community, labor, community non-profits and employment policy experts all participated.

The passion that the speakers, panelists and audience members expressed at the conference was contagious. Equally striking to us was the widespread agreement on the essential components of a jobs program: that besides promoting a decent, living wage job for all who want to work, it should be long-term, address the shortfall of social investment and the lack of the human services needed to build a good society, and include a significant role for the public sector.

So, where do we go from here?

We -- and attendees like you -- have lots of ideas. There have been suggestions that similar events be held in other parts of the country so that those who came to NYC can kindle the excitement about a jobs program in their own region. Others are urging development of legislative proposals as the basis of a national political campaign. Today, December 3, President Obama is holding a jobs summit at the White House that offers an opportunity to advance the jobs agenda into the national policy debate And there is talk of a mass mobilization for jobs in D.C. sometime in late 2010 or early 2011.

All of these – and more – ideas are good ones. We are excited by the willingness of so many to stay involved on this issue. We are writing to ask if you would continue to work with us on the goal of achieving living wage jobs for all of our people. We envision an ongoing grassroots and national advocacy network, led by a Continuation Committee representing the array of groups and constituencies that were with us in NYC. This Continuation Committee would have several functions:

Communication & Coordination -- the Continuation Committee will provide a vehicle for sharing information among us on the wide range of local and state initiatives on jobs, and provide a means to coordinate between different locales to increase the impact of actions that have been initiated in one place and that others find useful.

Organizing and Outreach – The Committee would also work to recruit additional religious, labor, community and policy organizations to form an ongoing national advocacy network that supports public job creation and social investment.

Tools Development and Resource Center -- The Continuation Committee would also lead efforts to compile resources resources and ideas that could be drawn upon by groups around the country in their work. A variety of proposals were made to carry out local "demonstration projects" to raise the visibility of the jobs crisis and engage community members. We can create and disseminate simple tools such as local unemployment report cards, resolutions for state and local legislatures, guides to organizing community hearings and "truth commissions," community jobs needs assessments, etc.

Strategy Development, Resource Mobilization, and Organizing -- Finally, and most ambitiously, the Committee could be charged with developing a political strategy around the living wage jobs for all agenda, and developing a political campaign on this issue that is strong and vibrant at the grassroots, but fully national in its scope. The committee will also need to secure funding and mobilize resources to support the proposed organizing campaign, and ensure we are able to do broad outreach to the many affected communities and groups who are concerned about jobs issues.

We have revised our Conference Call to Action to accommodate the new, ongoing organizing focus outlined above. We therefore have four requests:

1. Will you please endorse the revised Call to Action, so we may continue to list your name/organization as a supporter of the proposed advocacy network?

2. Please indicate whether you would be willing to serve on the network’s Continuation Committee and/or Steering Group, and any particular areas you can help with, such as organizing and outreach, convening local or regional meetings or conferences, public policy analysis, and/or fundraising.

3. Please recommend 2-3 other organizations or individuals you think should be invited to endorse the Call to Action and join the network.

4. Please share any additional thoughts and ideas that you have for how we can follow up on the conference, and continue momentum toward development of a powerful social movement for economic renewal. (NOTE: if you have additional drafting suggestions or recommendations for additional points or policy recommendations to include in the Call to Action, please let us know that as well.)

In solidarity,

Bill Barclay, Chicago Political Economy Group
Chuck Bell, Conference Chair, and Vice Chair, National Jobs for All Coalition
Larry Bresler, Executive Director, Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign*
Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, Riverside Church of New York, Pres., Healing of the Nations Foundation
Barbara George, Healing of the Nations Foundation
Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, Chair, National Jobs for All Coalition
Logan Martinez, Miami Valley Full Employment Council/Organize Ohio (Dayton, OH)
Bill Quigley, Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
Annie Rawlings, Associate Executive Presbyter for Social Witness, Presbytery of New York City*
Elce Redmond, Organizer, South Austin Community Coalition (Chicago, IL)
Melvin Rothenberg, Chicago Political Economy Group
Rev. Marcel Welty (New York, NY)

* Organization listed for identification purposes only

Please Endorse the Call to Action by sending your name, affilliation and contact information to


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