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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2010
6:13 PM

CONTACT: Jobs with Justice

Erica Smiley 
smiley@jwj.org
;
(202) 393-1044

Nationwide Demonstrations to Demand Extensions of Unemployment, TANF Emergency Fund

Actions Target Senators during Thanksgiving Recess

WASHINGTON - November 22 - Starting this week, Jobs with Justice coalitions in dozens of cities will bring the voices of un- and under-employed workers into the debate on how to move forward on a jobs plan that would put people back to work immediately.  15 million Americans are out of work, and with out a major federal investment in creating jobs, (official) jobless rates will be 8-13% into the next decade.  Meanwhile, corporations are sitting on more than $8 trillion in reserves that could be used to create jobs.

After Thanksgiving over 2 million Americans will be cut off from their existing unemployment benefits. These benefits have helped keep more than 3.3 million jobless workers and their families out of poverty. [1]  Moreover, before hitting the campaign trail Congress failed to extend the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) emergency fund, which subsidized jobs for nearly 250,000 otherwise unemployed parents and youth.  Never before have federal jobless benefits been cut when unemployment levels were so high (9.6%) for so long.

“I lost my home and my family, and now I’m on the verge of being homeless,” said Rafael Guzman, a transit worker in Orlando, Florida who has been unemployed since August 2008 and is in line to lose his benefits.  “If Congress can’t create new jobs for people like me, they have to at least provide us with the unemployment benefits to help us get through this crisis.”

Guzman may join Central Florida Jobs with Justice in targeting Senator Nelson while he is in district for the holidays in hopes of getting him to commit to voting for the extension.

While the core demands of the protests are to extend unemployment benefits and the TANF emergency fund, Jobs with Justice coalitions from Philadelphia to San Francisco are struggling under the banner of full and fair employment - including passage of legislation like Local Jobs for America Act which would save or create 1 million jobs along with the passage of a Financial Speculation Tax that would rein in the more destabilizing aspects of Wall Street and generate $200-$500 billion annually.

“Nationwide, the “jobs deficit” is about 11 million, with 5 job-seekers for every job opening,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice.  “When Wall Street was in crisis, Congress found hundreds of billions of dollars to bail them out.  We need to respond to the jobs crisis with the same urgency.”

For a list of cities planning actions and to learn more, visit www.jwj.org/jobs.

In addition to the September 15 Day of Action, Jobs with Justice coalitions across the country are organizing to address the jobs emergency in multiple ways, including organizing local Unemployed Workers Councils, participating in a United Autoworkers and Rainbow Push march for “Jobs, Justice and Peace” in Detroit August 28, and building for the “One Nation Working Together” march on Washington on October 2.

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Jobs with Justice is a national network of 47 local coalitions that bring together more than 1,500 labor unions, faith groups, community organizations and student activists to fight for working people.

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