Chicago honks for jobs (with video)

CHICAGO – During this week of action for jobs there are activities big and small all over Chicago. Through the AFL-CIO America Wants to Work and websites and other new media people are finding all kinds of ways to tell the Republicans to stop blocking the American Jobs Act and put people back to work.

The South Halsted Unemployed Action Center chose a local library for a vigil for public works jobs. (see video below) They argue that rehabbing and modernizing public buildings like libraries can put millions of people back to work.

The Bridgeport local library even has a vacant lot next to it for expansion – but nothing is happening. The library reports a two-fold increase in library usage since the start of the “Great Recession.” Patrons report as long as a two-day waits to reserve use of a computer. An extension of the library could include a state of the art computer center, very much needed by people in this working-class neighborhood. To add insult to injury, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new budget proposes cutting libraries’ hours.

The vigil got a great response in the neighborhood, with many signing a petition demanding that Congress pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act. People also participated in a “photo petition” calling on the mayor and Congress to fund public services and put public workers back to work.

Photo: Scott Marshall/PW


Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall is a vice chair of the Communist Party and chair of its Labor Commission. Scott grew up in Virginia where he first became active in the civil rights movement in high school, working on voter registration and anti-Klan projects in rural Southern Virginia and Tennessee. He was also active against the war in Vietnam.

Scott has been a life long trade unionist and was active in rank and file reform movements in the Teamsters, Machinists and Steelworkers unions in the 1970s and '80s. He was co-chair of the Save Our Jobs committee of USWA local 1834 at Pullman Standard in Chicago and active in nationwide organizing against plant shutdowns and layoffs. He was a founder of the unemployed organization Jobs or Income Now (Join), in Chicago, and the National Congress of Unemployed Organizations in the 1980s.

Scott has worked for the Communist Party since 1987 when he became the district organizer for the party in Illinois, a post he held until he was elected chair of the National Labor Commission in 1997. Scott remains active in SOAR (Steelworkers Active Organized Retirees). He lives in Chicago.