We are in the midst of a global pandemic of a scale and magnitude difficult to comprehend.
COVID-19 has put the gaps in our supposed social safety net into sharp focus. Gaps that have always impacted society’s most vulnerable – gig and temp workers, renters, the undocumented, houseless people, the millions locked up in prisons and jails across the country, and many others – first and worst.
To contain COVID-19 and emerge from the brewing economic crisis, we need bold action and solutions that leave no one behind. As industry after industry asks our federal government for massive bailout packages, we need to be clear: business as usual simply won’t cut it. We cannot continue to offer massive corporate giveaways that leave workers and their families high and dry. Only public actions that invest in good jobs and healthy communities will do. That means every single public dollar we spend must put people and communities over profit and corporate shareholders. Or, as we like to say at Jobs to Move America: our public goods must do the most public good.
Our public dollars are the most powerful tool we have to shape the economy. This pandemic has made that truth ever clearer. Which is why we will work to advance our vision of an economic recovery package that uses our public dollars to create millions of good jobs, build healthy and resilient communities, and create a climate-safe future for the next generation.
We plan to work tirelessly to make our vision a reality.
Real recovery requires creating good jobs. Jobs to Move America firmly supports the Build Local Hire Local Act, a job creation package that features our road-tested good jobs and equity policy, the U.S. Employment Plan. We believe the language in this legislation can and must be included in every piece of economic recovery and stimulus legislation adopted by Congress to ensure that public money leads to the creation of good union jobs for all.
Paid sick leave for ALL workers. All workers, not just those who work for smaller companies, need paid sick leave. The emergency legislation passed last week only guaranteed paid sick leave to 20 percent of private sector workers; leaving out the millions of people who work for companies with 500+ employees. Many companies like New Flyer Industries – a Canadian bus manufacturer with factories in Alabama – are refusing to provide workers with even the most basic sick leave. The same goes for juggernauts like Amazon. “It is outrageous that a billion-dollar company like New Flyer is refusing to provide paid sick leave to their workers during this pandemic,” says Charles Crooms, JMA’s community organizer and a former New Flyer worker at the company’s non-union factory in Anniston, AL. Communication Workers of America members at New Flyer’s plant in Minnesota have also circulated a petition demanding the company continue to make them whole throughout the duration of the crisis.
Emergency protections for public transit. For many doctors, nurses, janitors, and other critical frontline workers, public transit is the only way to get to work. Transit agencies are taking extraordinary steps to protect transit workers and riders during this crisis, but they need serious help. Jobs to Move America, along with 222 other organizations, signed on to a letter written by Transportation for America and the Union of Concerned Scientists urging Congress to provide transit agencies with nearly $13 billion in emergency funding to ensure that transit agencies are able to provide safe and reliable access to jobs, schools, and services for millions of people. Read the letter here.
Our New York office also organized a letter to the New York Congressional Delegation from union and community allies in support of the MTA’s $4 billion bailout request.
Social solidarity. We’re already seeing fierce organizing and strong mutual aid networks emerge at the community-level. Our coalition partners across the country are creating action teams to protect workers, like the Jobs with Justice Unified Action Team. Our team in California recently joined the Healthy LA coalition to call on Los Angeles to protect renters and houseless Angelenos during this emergency. In Illinois, our partners at Sierra Club are calling for a “just recovery” that protects workers and our climate. We’ll keep amplifying this critical work. If you or your organization have information or initiatives for us to amplify, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building power behind ideas. Recently, an organizer told me that she believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has put “everything on the table” in terms of solutions. She’s right. The activists and community leaders who fuel our movements are forwarding brilliant, visionary ideas to get us through this crisis. Jobs to Move America will pour our energy into championing such ideas through research, public education, and advocacy efforts. Stay tuned for more.
Now is the time to advance our shared vision of a healthy, equitable future with good jobs for all.
This is a crisis that can only be solved collaboratively. Be safe. We’ll see you in the fight.