Wednesday, August 26, 2009

September 20 Pittsburgh March for Jobs Right on Time

Sept. 20 Pittsburgh March for jobs right on time

By Steven Ceci
Published Aug 23, 2009 9:07 PM

On Sunday, Sept. 20, a National March for Jobs will step off from the historic Hill District in Pittsburgh, declaring that the unemployed, the homeless, the hungry and the poor must no longer be invisible and silent. The march is set for just prior to a summit of the G-20, the Group of Twenty finance ministers and central bank governors, being held in Pittsburgh Sept. 24-25.

This is particularly urgent for young workers, as highlighted by New York Times columnist Bob Herbert on Aug. 10. Herbert wrote: “Two issues that absolutely undermine any rosy assessment of last week’s employment report are the swelling ranks of the long-term unemployed and the crushing levels of joblessness among young Americans. ... The plight of young workers, especially young men, is particularly frightening. The percentage of young American men who are actually working is the lowest it has been in the 61 years of record-keeping, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

“Only 65 of every 100 men aged 20 through 24 years old were working on any given day in the first six months of this year. ... For male teenagers, the numbers were disastrous: only 28 of every 100 males were employed in the 16- through 19-year-old age group. For minority teenagers, forget about it. The numbers are beyond scary; they’re catastrophic.”

John Smith, a 21-year-old unemployed Black resident of the Hill District, is typical of many young people. Smith told an organizer for the Sept. 20 March for Jobs: “It’s hard out here. People can’t take care of their responsibilities. There are no jobs; we need a march for jobs because it could bring change.”

Another unemployed Black youth from the Hill District, 17-year-old Shardaya Brown, said: “The job situation is poor and I don’t see things getting better. I think we need to demand jobs, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. Because people can’t find work there is more crime and I don’t feel safe.”

Herbert called the 0.1 percent unemployment drop in July “wildly deceptive,” because the decline was “not because more people found jobs, but because 450,000 people withdrew from the labor market. They stopped looking, so they weren’t counted as unemployed.”

Larry Hales, youth organizer for the Bail Out the People Movement, said: “Young workers, in particular youth of color, are demanding meaningful jobs and education, not jail or the military. The ‘free marketers’ disrupting health-care town halls hide their anti-worker economic policies that increase poverty and unemployment.”
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Labor support for unemployed march in Pittsburgh grows

Published Aug 23, 2009 8:57 PM

The following resolution was adopted by delegates of the San Francisco Labor Council on Aug. 10. Similar resolutions were also adopted by the International Longshore Warehouse Union Local 10 executive board on Aug. 11 and by the Golden Gate Branch #214, National Association of Letter Carriers on Aug. 5 in support of the March for Jobs and Global Week in Solidarity with the Unemployed–Pittsburgh, Sept 20-26:

Whereas, there is no recovery in sight from the current economic crisis, although government measures have enabled Wall Street to pocket hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, still unemployment, foreclosures and poverty continue to soar; and

Whereas, in September the eyes of the world will be on Pittsburgh, where the G-20 countries will meet on what to do about the global crisis, and this will be an excellent opportunity for labor and its allies to present OUR workers’ recovery agenda; and

Whereas, while the G-20 meets in Pittsburgh, a Global Week in Solidarity with the Unemployed will highlight the suffering, desperation and anger of the millions whose lives are being devastated by this crisis, and demand that the U.S. and other governments address their needs; and

Whereas, a March for Jobs will take place in Pittsburgh on Sunday, Sept. 20, calling for a real jobs program to provide full-time, living wage jobs. Instead of bailing out banks and funding wars, there must be money to create jobs, provide healthcare, stop foreclosures and bail out the unemployed; and

Whereas, from Sept. 19-26 a tent city dedicated to the unemployed, poor and underemployed will be erected next to Monumental Baptist Church, located in an historic part of the African-American community in Pittsburgh called The Hill, not far from the G20 summit; and

Whereas, “March for Jobs” caravans of unemployed people and supporters from across the country will converge on Pittsburgh to join the march and tent city, similar to the marches for jobs that took place in the 1930s; and

Whereas, Martin Luther King Jr. once called “the second civil rights movement” the fight for the right to a job or a guaranteed income. King dedicated the last year of his life to planning a mass movement for jobs, and his dream has to be revived; and

Whereas, the San Francisco Labor Council in January 2009 called for a National Recovery Plan, stating, “To end this recession and prevent a depression, there needs to be gainful productive employment for all” and “any bailout needs to be for workers, their families, children, students, seniors, small farmers, small business–the everyday folks,” and calling for a massive, publicly supported jobs program as existed in the 1930s; therefore be it

Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council endorse the March for Jobs in Pittsburgh on Sept. 20, 2009, and the Global Week in Solidarity with the Unemployed, on the occasion of the G-20 summit in that city.
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G-20 Activists Want Emphasis Back on the Economy
Sunday, August 23, 2009
By Jerome L. Sherman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

City officials and local media have spent too much time focusing on
disputes over protest permits and the possibility of violence during
next month's G-20 summit, neglecting the serious economic concerns behind those protests, one group of activists said yesterday in the Hill District.

"We're not interested in all the talk about permits and troublemakers," said Larry Holmes, a spokesman for Bail Out the People and a community organizer from New York City. "People are suffering. They need jobs."

Mr. Holmes spoke with reporters on a grassy lot at the corner of Soho Street and Wylie Avenue in the Hill, where his group plans to launch a "national march for jobs" on Sept. 20, the Sunday before world leaders gather in Pittsburgh.

The site, owned by neighboring Monumental Baptist Church, will also host a tent city for unemployed and homeless people and their supporters from Sept. 20 through the end of the two-day summit, on Sept. 24 and 25.

"We feel that we need to stand up and be vocal," said the Rev. Thomas Smith, the church's pastor. "We need to make sure people have decent jobs to realize the American dream."

On Friday, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said all five groups seeking protest permits around the summit will be given conditional approvals for events in Downtown, the South Side, North Side and the Strip District. The city will also create two protest zones near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

Bail Out the People, a national group based in New York that grew from outrage over the billions of dollars in government money given to failing banks last year, has asked for approval for its Hill District
march and the use of Allegheny Commons Park on the North Side Sept. 19-25 and Market Square on Sept. 24 and 25.

Organizers are planning to start the march at 2 p.m. on Sept. 20, and it will end at the Hill's Freedom Corner.

Mr. Holmes said he was hoping for an "enormous" gathering, with
potentially thousands of marchers, including prominent civil rights and union leaders. There are tentative plans for buses to come from New York City, Detroit, Chicago and other cities.

"We need everybody to know this is going to be a peaceful event. This is going to be an orderly event," Mr. Holmes said.

He and other organizers are concerned that Pittsburgh's heavy emphasis on security -- officials hope to have as many as 4,000 police officers on city streets -- will dissuade some people from participating in protests.

The Wylie Avenue tent city will allow people who can't afford to stay at
hotels to be near Downtown during the summit.

"We'll take as many as we can," the Rev. Smith said.

He said the site would have Porta-Johns and water, and the church is seeking volunteers who can donate food or time to help organize the march and the tent city.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to call 412-780-3813 or send an e-mail to

Jerome L. Sherman can be reached at or 412-263-1183.

First published on August 23, 2009 at 12:00 am

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