Chicago unemployed organize

CHICAGO – Unemployed workers took to the streets here the day after Memorial Day to demand jobs and extension of unemployment benefits.

The newly formed Chicago Unemployed Workers Council organized its first action at an Illinois Department of Employment Services (IDES) office in the Pilsen neighborhood. The unemployed council was formed at the initiative of Chicago Jobs with Justice, with the participation of several community and labor groups and unemployed workers.

The group gathered petitions calling for jobs and unemployment extensions and talked to people entering the IDES office. Many people walking by the office stopped to talk and to sign petitions. Some were not aware, and shocked to find out, that Congress had recessed for the Memorial Day holiday without authorizing funding to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

The council plans to take action weekly at area IDES offices and other places where the jobless gather.

Video: PW/Scott Marshall



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.