Jobs stats prompt demand for action

DALLAS – North Texas Jobs with Justice initiated a news conference on July 2 as the regular first-Friday unemployment statistics were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unionists and community leaders joined together to say that, despite the surface numbers, the crisis is not getting better and cannot be expected to get better until the federal government takes action.

Republicans in the Senate, including both Texas Senators, were taken to task for having sabotaged the “almost trivial” jobs bill before leaving for their July 4 holidays. The G-20 world leaders were also blamed for having adjourned without addressing the worldwide jobs crisis. Instead, after spending trillions to bail out corrupt bankers, reactionary national and world leaders now claim to be focusing on deficit reduction.

JwJ organizer Gene Lantz told the reporters that the slight reduction in the “official” unemployment rate had not resulted from more people getting jobs. Instead, it came from an unusual spike in the number of workers who are giving up.

The Associated Press had reported that over 600,000 jobless workers had stopped looking for work in June and were, consequently, no longer counted as “unemployed.”

Lantz said only government intervention could resolve the economic crisis and that individuals and progressive organizations must join together into a mighty movement to demand real solutions.

Community organizer Perry Forshee talked about the need for unity. The Rev. Ed Middleton quoted scripture to show the religious and ethical reasons that people must get active to solve the crisis.

Micky Morris, Texas leader of the National Association of Letter Carriers, warned reporters that tens of thousands of layoffs will result if the post office carries out a plan to discontinue Saturday mail service. City worker Christopher Head talked about the use of Keynesian [government-spending to create jobs] economics to get through America’s last great jobs crisis and called for more deficit spending today.

Aerospace union leader Pete Jimenez spoke in Spanish and English about how employers are greedily using the jobs crisis to put downward pressure on everybody’s wages and benefits.

Long-term unemployed activist Brad Walker made a very brief statement about how difficult it is to keep his head up while seeking work and throwing himself into helping fight the jobs crisis. Reporters kept him overtime in an extensive questioning session.

At least three television stations carried parts of the news conference that day. For more coverage:

Photo: Steelworkers union leader Christopher Head told reporters that Dallas city workers do not deserve the layoffs that are threatened. Jim Lane/PW