October 14, 2011
Lighting up the night, pounding pavement in the daylight
Columbus Day was the start of “America Wants to Work” and the beginning of a nationwide week of action to urge members of Congress and our state legislature to quit playing defense for those who don’t need defending and start working for the other 99% of us by adopting bold solutions that will put Americans back to work rebuilding our state and our country. From Charlotte to Raleigh and onto Dunn, North Carolina’s labor movement has responded to the call of action.
Monday afternoon in Charlotte, the Southern Piedmont CLC led a demonstration to demand Sue Myrick focus on what matters: our jobs crisis! Since our September 27 rally to save America’s postal service, Rep. Myrick has still not signed onto HR 1351, a bill that would prevent thousands of additional job losses that North Carolina’s economy cannot afford. So on Monday, we returned to Rep. Myrick’s district office in Charlotte to remind her that her duty is to the people of North Carolina, not Bank of America, Wall Street, and her big-money backers in the top 1%.
Monday evening in Raleigh, working families and community members – about 70 people in all – gathered at a vigil for good jobs. Luminaries around Bicentennial Mall and along Edenton and Jones Streets brought to light North Carolina’s 1.2 million jobless and low-wage workers whose struggle goes largely unnoticed by our politicians. Each of 500 candles lit represented 2,400 such workers.
The program opened and closed with a song – Amazing Grace and Solidarity Forever – and remarks by area ministers, including Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.
Key to the vigil were remarks by two Raleigh-area jobless workers, Hope Krehbiel and Marcella Robinson, who spoke with emotion and conviction about their situations.
Hope, who is 56, has been unemployed since 2009, and this year she became homeless for lack of an income. Marcella, who has been unemployed going on two years, is fighting to keep her house from Bank of America, and with that unresolved, her daughter is having to put off going to college.
NC State AFL-CIO president said Americans want politicians at every level of government focused on creating good jobs that pay better than poverty-level wages.
“Today’s press report tells a sad story about the increase in the poverty rate inNorth Carolina, highest rate since 1981.
“Without bold action on a jobs creation agenda, this sad trend will continue while the top 1% destroys the hopes and future of the rest of us.”
Alexandra Sirota, director of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, outline what policy makers can do right now to stop the job losses and get Americans back to work. That that hasn’t happened yet is no accident, Sirota explained:
“Policymakers have choices. They have chosen NOT to act on the jobs crisis. We must urge them to change course.”
Our luminaries event received great coverage by NBC 17, where we led the 11 o’clock news, and WRAL. ABC News 11 also covered the event.
- Click here for the NBC 17 coverage.
- Click here for the coverage by WRAL.
- Click here for ABC 11 coverage.
Then on Thursday in Dunn, a group of about 20 workers from all walks of life walked a picket line outside Congresswoman Renee Ellmers’ district office. The jobs crisis is the number one threat to our economy, but Renee Ellmers hasn’t been paying attention.
Ellmers had refused repeated requests by one of her constituents to meet to discuss the American Jobs Act and what else she could be doing to put America to work. So instead, we left her a message: