Sunday, September 13, 2009

Major labor unions back jobs march in Pittsburgh

By LeiLani Dowell

Published Sep 2, 2009 7:27 PM
Momentum is building for the National March for Jobs and Tent City from Sept. 20-25 that will confront the leading finance ministers and bankers of the world’s wealthiest nations who will be meeting in Pittsburgh for the G-20 Summit.

In a major development, both the Steelworkers union and the United Electrical union—the only two international unions with national headquarters in Pittsburgh—have endorsed the Sept. 20 March for Jobs.

The Steelworkers union, which originally only represented those working in the steel industry, has diversified through a series of mergers and now represents workers in other industries as well, including those in other metals and manufacturing, paper and forestry products, the chemical industry, health care, pharmacies and pharmaceuticals, public employees, mining, and energy and utilities.

UE, one of most radical unions in the country, calls itself “the rank and file union.” The union represents “some 35,000 workers in a wide variety of manufacturing, public sector and private non-profit sector jobs.” (

No to a jobless recovery

Bail Out the People Movement activists, along with others mobilizing for the Global Week in Solidarity with the Unemployed, note that G-20 summit participants will be meeting from Sept. 24-25 to discuss plans to protect their interests during the economic crisis—but not those of the working people throughout the world who are affected the most by this crisis.

While the March and Tent City will address multiple concerns—including U.S. imperialist wars, health care, foreclosures and evictions, political prisoners and more—the principal issue will be the need for a serious jobs program. Organizers wish to carry on the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose final struggle in the days before he was assassinated was the fight for jobs at a living wage.

The March for Jobs will assemble at 2 p.m. at Monument Baptist Church, located in the Hill, an historic African-American community adjacent to downtown Pittsburgh. Marchers will return to the Tent City, located in a lot next to the church and dedicated to the unemployed people of the world.

Both events will demand the rejection that a jobless recovery should be accepted or tolerable. BOPM organizer Larry Holmes told WW, “We must not accept a recovery only for Wall Street—a recovery for profits, but a jobless recovery.”

Building actions throughout country

Outside of Pittsburgh, activists are organizing to bring caravans of unemployed and their supporters to the week of action. A big push is being made at Labor Day events throughout the country to win the support of more unions.

Many activists vowed their support at a labor meeting in New York on Aug. 31, which featured workers from the Stella D’Oro factory in the Bronx; the president of the Vulcan Society, Black firefighters who just won a discrimination lawsuit against New York City; the vice president of Service Employees Local 1199; a co-chair of the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights; among others.

A speaking tour of Ohio is gathering momentum for the events, and an organizing meeting will take place in North Carolina involving Black Workers For Justice, the youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together), UE Local 150 and other community and labor forces.

Resolutions supporting the March for Jobs and Global Week in Solidarity with the Unemployed have been adopted by the San Francisco Labor Council, the International Longshore Warehouse Union Local 10 executive board and Golden Gate Branch 214 of the Letter Carriers union. (See WW, Aug. 23.)

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