Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign
The Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign (WERC), a national campaign dedicated to organizing working people to fight for their own interests, strongly supports the protest demonstration organized by the Bailout People, Not Banks at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.
The G20 represents the wealthiest people from the wealthiest nations in the world. They are meeting in order to consolidate and expand their exorbitant wealth with little thought to the world’s billions of working people who are being forced to struggle more and more just to get by, not to mention the growing number of the world’s population who live in abject poverty.
The WERC has embraced the following 10-point platform:
Put a halt to the Wall Street bailout plan. Not one more penny should be earmarked to bail out the bankers and speculators. It’s time to bail out working people.
Enact a moratorium on all home foreclosures, utility shut-offs, evictions and rent hikes.
Enact H.R. 676 — the universal, single-payer healthcare plan. Take the private insurance companies out of the healthcare equation. Guarantee fully funded pensions for retirees, along with healthcare and other benefits.
Enact the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) so that every worker can have union representation.
Stop the layoffs in auto and other industries across the country. Re-tool the auto industry to build rapid mass transit, solar, and wind systems.
Stop the scapegoating of immigrant workers. Stop the ICE raids and deportations.
End all funding for the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our troops home now. The war expenditures in these countries alone are estimated at $3 trillion. Redirect all war funding to meet human needs.
Enact a massive national reconstruction public works program (minimum expenditure needed of $1 trillion) to rebuild the nation’s schools, hospitals and crumbling infrastructure and to put millions of people back to work at a union-scale wage. Provide all necessary funding for a genuine Reconstruction program in the Gulf Coast; enact the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (H.R. 4048).
Defend and expand the rights and economic security of those who are unable to work. Grant living-wage benefits to single parents, disabled, seniors, and the unemployed. End the arbitrary, punitive time limits, sanctions, denial of education, and forced unwaged workfare in the TANF welfare program.
Tax the corporations and the rich — not working people — to finance a workers’ recovery plan. The rich currently enjoy historically high levels of wealth while being taxed at bargain-basement rates. Implement a retroactive tax on windfall revenue on the oil-energy industry, return capital income taxation to 1981 levels, and repatriate the $2 trillion from the offshore tax havens.
We think it is crucial to mount a campaign directed at all the diverse issues that are economically crippling working people. In this way we can create a broad, powerful movement. In unity there is strength.
While the media have been trumpeting the sprouting of a “jobless recovery,” what they really mean is a recovery for the bankers and multinational corporations, while the suffering of working people grows ever worse. Already, the banks have returned to their perverse and reckless practice of offering huge bonuses to their brokers — in one case as much as $100,000,000. And by pouring millions of dollars into Congress, the bankers have succeeded in stalling any new significant legislation that would cramp their throw-caution-to-the-wind mode of operation.
However, as long as the inequalities in wealth between working people and the rich continue to rise, we will have economic crises. No economy can thrive as long as a small minority possesses the vast majority of the wealth.
On Monday, Sept. 14 at the AFL-CIO national convention in Pittsburgh, filmmaker Michael Moore premiered his new movie “Capitalism, A Love Story.” He also urged the AFL-CIO to call a national protest day in Washington, DC to fight for healthcare and the unemployed.
Moore’s proposal for a national march was cheered loudly by the convention delegates. One day later, the AFL-CIO convention voted to support single-payer healthcare, an important step forward for working people. Without a mass movement in the streets calling for single-payer, however, this resolution will remain a paper resolution. That is why it is urgent for the labor movement to call a Solidarity Day III march in the nation’s capital for single-payer, a real jobs-creation program, and a real Employee Free Choice Act, with card check. The time is now.
We also call on the Bailout People, Not Banks campaign and all other interested organizations to join the WERC in organizing a national conference in order to plan the next steps — including mass actions — in this campaign. The bankers have bought the politicians. We must fight for our own interests and demand that the economy operate in the interests of the majority, not in the interests of a small, obscenely rich minority.
Interim National Steering Committee of the
Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign (WERC):
Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Gulf Coast Reconstruction activist
Alan Benjamin,* Executive Committee member, San Francisco Labor Council
Mike Carano, Progressive Democrats of America
Colia Clark, Veteran, Civil Rights Movement
Donna Dewitt*, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO
Pat Gowens, National organizer, Welfare Warriors
Bill Leumer,* International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853 (ret.)
Luis Magaña, Coordinator, Organization of Farmworkers of California (OTAC)
Cynthia McKinney, Former Member of Congress, 2009 Green Party presidential candidate
Jack Rasmus, Economist, Professor at St. Mary’s College
Al Rojas, Coordinator, Frente de Mexicanos en el Exterior
Marc Rich*, United Teachers of Los Angeles
Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star mother, antiwar activist
Clarence Thomas, Member, ILWU Local 10
Mark Vorpahl*, SEIU Local 49, Portland, OR
Nancy Wohlforth*, Co-Pres., Pride at Work/AFL-CIO, Vice Pres., California Federation of Labor
* titles and organizations for id. purposes only