We, as a nation, are several years into a job crisis. Reports of highly disappointing May and June employment gains accompanied by slow economic growth for the first two quarters of 2011 highlight the urgent need for a national plan to grow the economy. The unemployment numbers throughout the country mandate legislative, tangible action to address the crisis. In response to the dismal unemployment figures, an open letter with almost two thousand (2,000) signatures was sent by the National Urban League to the President and Congress urging their support in the “War on Unemployment”.
For the past several weeks, this blog has focused primarily on recently introduced pieces of legislation and other activities undertaken to address the current economic crisis with a focus on addressing unemployment and the resulting record bankruptcies, foreclosures, growth in homelessness and food insecurity. Below are several pieces of recent legislation which were introduced to address the unemployment crisis:
Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act (H.R. 2611)
The Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act (H.R. 2611) is one such
piece of legislation. In response to record employment, the Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act (H.R. 2611) was introduced on July 21, 2011, by US Representative Raul Grijalva (S-AZ7). This piece of legislation would “…amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to prepare people with multiple barriers to employment to enter the workforce by providing such people with support services, job training, and education, and for other purposes. This new piece of legislation, H.R. 2611, has four (4) cosponsors. It is in the first step of the legislative process.
Earlier this year, another piece of legislation was introduced to amend the Workforce
Investment Act of 1998 to permit the establishment of Job Corps centers in the territories of the United States. On June 24, 2011, H.R. 2935 was introduced by Delegate Gregorio Sablan (D-MP) to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. H.R. 2935 has 26 cosponsors. It is also in the first step of the legislative process.
Like most Americans, some members of congress assert that, “It is time for action on
the most important issue of our time—economic opportunity through jobs! Every American deserves the right to be gainfully employed or own a successful business”—said U.S. Representative Cleaver. I agree. As a result, I just signed a petition that says “America wants to work. It’s time to move on from manufactured crises and focus on jobs.” If you agree with me, will you add your name to the petition? If so, go here to sign the petition: http://act.aflcio.org/c/18/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2640
Lamont Cranston reminds us that, ” History will judge us either for our activism or apathy. The choice is ours, but the impact of our decision is ultimately on our children.” If the pressing social issues covered in these posts are important to you, please contact your elected officials in Washington, DC. For further information on these pieces of legislation, please visit www.govtrack.us. www.opencongress.org.
Source(s): National Urban League. US Rep. Cleaver’s FaceBook page. www.govtrack.us. www.opencongress.org Lamont Cranston. www.grio.com. www.thecincinnatiherald.com. www.theblackamerica.com. AFL-CIO. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Earlier this month, people from all walks of life came together with the singular purpose of reclaiming the American Dream for all. In every congressional district, “Rebuild the American Dream” meetings were held in response to the challenges faced with the federal budget. It has been reported that the American Dream Movement is growing stronger by the day. As a participant at a Rebuild the American Dream meeting, I understand that the meetings held across the country were only the first of many steps on the way to regaining the dream for all. Participants are committed to ensuring that once again Americans are: employed, can afford to go to college, retire with dignity, and secure a future for their children and their communities.
This summer, important action is being taken to bring more people into the political process. In addition to the “Rebuild the American Dream” meetings, there were voter empowerment campaigns held this month across the country. There are three (3) stages in the voter empowerment process: registration, education, and mobilization. It has been reported that volunteers in all fifty (50) states were knocking on doors and registering new voters. The overarching goal of the voter empowerment campaigns lead by the Democratic Party is three-fold: to bring more people into the political process; to make certain that every voter who wants to exercise their right is registered; to ensure the reelection of President Barack Obama and that Democrats take back the United States House of Representatives.
Get involved. Take action that can and will change the future. If you are not already registered, get registered to vote. Seize the opportunity to cast your vote. As was aptly stated by President Johnson when discussing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” Your vote can be decisive, stand up, speak out, be heard— participate in the “Rebuild the American Dream” movement and vote!
For further information on the “Rebuild the American Dream Movement”, visit www.moveon.org. Sources: Moveon.org. Wikipedia. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
On July 13, 2011, US House of Representative Member, Emanuel Clever, III, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) introduced the “Congressional Black Caucus `For the People’ Jobs Initiative Resolution: H. RES. 348 in the US House–in response to record unemployment and the fact that there has been little or no action on the House floor taken to address this pressing matter. His rationale basis for the resolution is as follows:
“Over six months into the 112th Congress, no jobs creation legislation has been considered on the House floor despite the introduction of over forty bills by members of the CBC. It is clear that the unemployment numbers throughout the country require effective legislation and tangible action to address the crisis. The reported unemployment numbers in the African American community are hovering over sixteen percent.
The CBC is not standing idly by, but rather with the For the People Jobs Initiative, we are providing all of our constituents with what you need—aggressive action that remedies the stymied economy instead of protecting special interests and embarking on ideological crusades. To address the unemployment crisis and the need for job creation solutions in underserved communities, the CBC has called upon the private and public sectors to immediately remedy the crisis by going into communities with legitimate,
immediate employment opportunities for the underserved.”
Like most Americans, US Representative Clever asserts that, “It is time for action on the most important issue of our time—economic opportunity through jobs! Every American deserves the right to be gainfully employed or own a successful business.” Clever goes on to state that “…the Congressional Black Caucus is committed to that right and will not rest until there is parity in access to economic opportunity.”
The text of the resolution he introduced is below.
“Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that critical jobs legislation should
be considered and passed to address the growing jobs crisis throughout America,
and for other purposes.
Whereasthis resolution may be cited as the `Congressional Black Caucus `For the
People’ Jobs Initiative Resolution’;
Whereas over six months into the 112th Congress and no jobs creation legislation has
been considered on the House floor despite the introduction of over 40 bills by
members of the Congressional Black Caucus (`CBC’);
Whereas the unemployment numbers throughout the country mandate legislative, tangible action to address the crisis;
Whereas the reported unemployment numbers in the African-American community are
hovering over sixteen percent and in the double digits in other communities of
color in these United States;
Whereas for 40 years the CBC has introduced legislation for the people and has served
as the unwavering `Conscience of the Congress’;
Whereas the CBC recently launched the `For the People’ Jobs Initiative to directly
address the lack of jobs for people of color by holding job fairs and town hall
meetings throughout the country in areas hardest hit by the recession; and
Whereas, to address the unemployment crisis and the need for job creation solutions in
underserved communities, the CBC has called upon the private and public sectors
to immediately remedy the crisis by going into communities with legitimate,
immediate employment opportunities for the underserved: Now, therefore be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should– (1) consider and pass critical jobs legislation to address the crisis facing communities of color disproportionately; and (2) consider and pass critical jobs legislation to address the nationwide economic crisis.”
This resolution was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. For further information visit the websites listed below under sources.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
For almost two decades, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has afforded employment protected leave for workers to care for their new-born baby, sick family members, or to recover from their own serious illnesses. It has been reported
that since the enactment of FMLA millions of Americans have been able to take
up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave from work. Some assert that FMLA has proven essential to achieving greater employee retention and reducing employee turnover. The Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act (H.R. 2364, S. 1283) would not change the terms of the FMLA, but rather expand its coverage to more family members.
H.R. 2364 amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and title 5, United States Code, to permit leave to care for a domestic partner, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling, grandchild, or grandparent who has a serious health condition, and for other purposes. While protections afforded workers under FMLA have helped millions of families, they
do not show the many care-taking roles that workers may have, forcing many to choose between employment and responsibility to care for an ill family member. Many assert that all of America’s workers should be afforded the opportunity to fulfill their critically important family and caregiver roles while continuing to contribute to our nation’s economy. This belief led US Congresswoman Maloney to introduce legislation in the House of Representatives and Senator Durbin to introduce a similar piece of legislation in the Senate.
If this is an important issue to you, let your elected officials know about your support of this legislation. Let your voice be heard in Washington, DC. Get involved.
Sources: www.govtrack.us. www.opencongress.com. http://www.ifebp.org. Action Alert 9 to 5. www.lawheadlinesandnews.com/hd/index.php? =Family+Act+Leave. consultarehr.com/tag/work-family-balance/. “Bill Would Extend FMLA Benefits and Protections to Additional Family Members”, Washington DC Employment Law Update, Ilyse Schuman,
July 1, 2011.
Photocredit: Microsoft Clip Art
|What are some of the factors contributing to long-term unemployment? Some assert that unemployed workers are being discriminated against by prospective employers. In other words, when reviewing applicants some employers are only electing to interview workers that are currently employed. In response to this observed phenomena, this month, Democratic members of congress introduced legislation to prevent discrimination against unemployed workers. Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s of Connecticut and Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia introduced the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 (2501), which would prohibit employers and employment agencies from discriminating against unemployed job-seekers by refusing to consider them for employment. According to Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s press release—“In today’s tough economy, more than 6 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months. But companies across the country have begun to require current employment to be considered for available positions, and
these discriminatory practices are eliminating employment opportunities. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act will prevent employers and employment agencies from refusing to consider or offer employment to someone who is
unemployed, or including language in any job advertisements or postings that states unemployed individuals are not qualified. A recent survey, conducted by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), of four of the top job search websites, CareerBuilder.com, Indeed.com, Monster.com, and CraigsList.com, found over 150 job advertisements that specified applicants must be currently employed. And the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows that there are 4.7 unemployed workers for every 1 job opening.”
The legislation, if passed by the House and Senate, would apply to employers with over fifteen (15) employees and would provide protection to job applicants who are discriminated against because they are unemployed. Key provisions of the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 include but are not limited to:
(a) Employers – It shall be an unlawful practice for an employer to–
- any provision stating or indicating that an individual’s status as unemployed disqualifies the individual for a job; and
- any provision stating or indicating that an employer will not consider an applicant for employment based on that individual’s status as unemployed; and
3.Direct or request that an employment agency take an individual’s status as unemployed into account in screening or referring applicants for employment.
Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s press release aptly states that, “In a tough job market, where workers are competing against tens and sometimes hundreds of others for every available job opening, it is unjust for employers to discriminate against those who are unemployed. We have seen ample evidence that unemployed individuals are increasingly falling prey to discriminatory practices reducing their opportunities to be considered for a job. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 would prohibit employers and employment agencies from discriminating against unemployed job-seekers, and ensure that all Americans have the same opportunities for employment.
Discrimination against the unemployed – especially the long-term unemployed – in job advertisements and hiring practices flies in the face of what we stand for as a nation: Equal opportunity for all,” said Rep. Johnson. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 will help us level the playing field and get people back to work.”
Sources: Representatives Rosa DeLauro website, HR 2501, Representative Johnson website, and opencongress.org. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Today, Saturday, July 16th 2011, has been declared National Day of Action by the Democratic Party. Across the country there are efforts being made to bring new
supporters into the campaign. It has been reported that volunteers in all 50 states will be knocking on doors and registering new voters. The overarching goal for this campaign is to register voters in order to ensure: the reelection of President Barack Obama and that Democrats take back the United States House of Representatives.
This summer, important action is being taken to bring more people into the political process- thus making certain that every voter who wants to exercise their right is registered. There are three stages in the voter empowerment process: registration, education, and mobilization. Today, Democratic supporters can join a national day of action dedicated to voter registration. Get involved. Your vote can be decisive, stand up, speak out, be heard— vote!
Take action that can and will change the future. Seize the opportunity to cast your vote. As was aptly stated by President Johnson when discussing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”
Each election day, countless eligible voters deprive themselves of their voting right through complacency or apathy. Don’t be among them—exercise your right to vote.
Source:firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Georgia followed Arizona’s lead and passed stringent new legislation targeting illegal immigrants and those who harbor them. Supporters of the new law state that Georgia enacted anti-immigration law (House Bill 87) with the overarching goal of saving money. They contend that illegal immigrants are burdening Georgia’s hospitals, jails and public schools. Further, they assert that illegal immigrants are taking jobs in a period of record unemployment in the State. It was clear on its face that this piece of legislation would not have the anticipated result of saving money for the state or opening up jobs for citizens that were unemployed.
Prior to the passage of the law, there were rallies that opposed the legislation and urged the governor to veto the bill. Democrats vigorously fought House Bill 87 arguing that it would damage Georgia’s agricultural and tourism industries and force the state to defend itself against costly court battles. It was passed. Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal (Republican) signed the anti-immigration legislation into law.
In response to this poorly thought out piece of legislation, thousands Georgia residents
rallied against the recently enacted Georgia anti-immigration law House Bill 87. The Georgia Anti-Immigration law has had serious economic consequences for the
state. It has been reported that Georgia’s tough anti-illegal-immigrant law drove a sizable fraction of the migrant labor pool out of the state, and as a result, “millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops [are] unharvested and rotting in
the fields.”[i] “The jobs the migrants did paid an average of eight ($8)/hour, without
benefits, a wage that is so low that the state’s probationed prisoners have turned it down.[ii] Guest-writing in the Atlantic’s economics section, Adam Ozimek doesn’t believe that the farms would be viable if they paid wages that legal American workers would take: “it’s quite possible that the wages required to get workers to do the job are so high that it’s no longer profitable for farmers to plant the crops in the first place.” [iii]
Georgia’s tough anti-illegal-immigrant law has created a labor shortage in one the state’s largest industries.[iv] Hopefully, it is clear to the supporters of this poorly thought out piece of legislation that this law should be repealed. If not, it is certain that there will be a case filed by the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center barring its implementation in Georgia.
Sources: “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011″; “Georgia’s anti-immigrant law leaves millions in crops rotting in the fields” Cory Doctorow, BOINGBOING, Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011. HB57- Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011, Dustin, Georgia Politico, January 28, 2011. georgiabulletin.org. “Local ministers: HB 87 is NOT what Jesus would do” Gwynedd Stuart, Creative Loafing, April 25, 2011.
 “Georgia’s anti-immigrant law leaves millions in crops rotting in the fields” Cory Doctorow, BOINGBOING, Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011.