The unemployed need support, and they need a voice in Washington. In response to these needs, the Rev. Paul Sherry of the Washington DC office of Interfaith Worker Justice recently announced the creation of a new Faith Advocates for Jobs Campaign. Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith groups are joining with the AFL-CIO and U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown, Robert Casey and Bernie Sanders to help the jobless and push for job creation. The idea is to create worker support clubs in over 1,000 liberal congregations nationwide that will both help workers and also form a national political network of the unemployed and underemployed. The Faith Advocates for Jobs Campaign will help the unemployed organize and collectively put pressure on the Obama administration to do more to create jobs.
According to Rev. Sherry, “These clubs would assist the unemployed and their families emotionally, spiritually, physically and at the same time build a base of support for the kind of change that will be required if we’re going to turn this unemployment crisis around.”
The mission statement of the Faith Advocates for Jobs Campaign is:
As people of faith, we call for an economy that provides a job for everyone who wants and needs one. We affirm that all jobs should be good jobs, paying living wages and benefits, allowing workers dignity and a voice at the workplace, ensuring workers’ health and safety, and guaranteeing their right to organize unions.
The committees will join together to pressure Washington for new policy initiatives to address the jobs crisis, including:
- An economic stimulus package to create and retain millions of jobs, including revitalizing the manufacturing sector.
- A public jobs program as a component of the economic stimulus package.
- A public jobs program that will create vital and sustainable jobs: jobs that will rebuild our nation’s infrastructure; green jobs; mass transit; jobs that the private sector cannot create, such as expanded child care and clean-up of toxic dumps.
- Support for unemployed workers and families. This support should include extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, COBRA subsidies, food stamps, and other safety net programs.
- Support for states and municipalities to maintain and strengthen social safety programs, retain teachers, police, fire fighters, and other essential public workers.
- Development of educational programs in support of job creation and retention and a restored economy.
photo: Associated Press