Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

America Wants to Work Week of Action Spotlights Rising Call for Jobs

October 14th, 2011 | Mike Hall

Image: Mike HallMike Matthews, president of the Kanawha Valley (W.Va.) Labor Council, knows why more and more people are taking to the streets and speaking out against Big Banks, Wall Street and congressional Republicans who are standing in the way of job creation.

Everybody’s frustrated, especially when you don’t have work.

Wednesday in Charleston, union and community activists marched and rallied as part of the AFL-CIO’s America Wants to Work National Week of Action to promote a real jobs agenda. See more from WSAZ-TV.

In Fort Collins, Colo., several dozen gathered to highlight one of the most effective and quick ways put Americans back to work—rebuilding the infrastructure, including the states’ 128 bridges that are rated in poor condition. Says Colorado AFL-CIO Executive Director Mike Cerbo:

America is still suffering from the worst job crisis since the Great Depression, yet our infrastructure is still crumbling—we can put people back to work tomorrow.

In Eau Claire, Wis., union members and student and community activists held a wake for the death of good jobs. They also expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement that is growing across the nation. Mark Slepica told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram:

I just want to show solidarity for the movement that’s beginning all across the U.S. It’s not just a Wall Street thing. It’s not just a big cities thing. I hope that people see that their neighbors are part of this.

This afternoon in Boston, union members from the Greater Boston Labor Council are joining in solidarity with the Occupy Boston protesters in Dewey Square to demand that Congress act to create jobs and financial institutions invest some of the trillions they are sitting on into job creation.

In Baltimore tonight, hundreds of working families are expected to attend a townhall forum on joblessness and its devastating impact on the local economy and on communities of color.  The town hall is sponsored by the Metropolitan Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO Unions in coalition with the NAACP, BUILD and Ministerial Alliance.

The National Week of Action runs through Oct. 16. Click here to find an America Wants to Work action near you. You also can sign an America Wants to Work petition to Congress here. Follow the action on Twitter with the hashtag #want2work. Find an Occupy Wall Street event near you here. You can share Occupy Wall Street events on Facebook here.

This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO Now Blog on October 13, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. He came to the AFL-CIO in 1989 and has written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety. He carried union cards from the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, American Flint Glass Workers and Teamsters for jobs in a chemical plant, a mining equipment manufacturing plant and a warehouse. He’s also worked as roadie for a small-time country-rock band, sold blood plasma, and played an occasional game of poker to help pay the rent. You may have seen him at one of several hundred Grateful Dead shows. He was the one with longhair and the tie-dye. Still has the shirts, lost the hair.


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