I didn't need to read Friday's jobs report
to know our economy is not recovering fast enough. From Evansville, Ind., to Titusville, Fla., and all across America, I've met with individuals whose lives and families are being torn apart. Each story is terrible and taken collectively it is a tragedy of epic proportions.
We are missing 11 million jobs—and millions more workers either have given up looking for jobs or are stuck in part-time work. Sadly, many politicians and pundits seem resigned to long-term massive unemployment in our country, but this situation is intolerable and action is required.
I know this, you know this and the entire movement of working people knows this. I am resolved to bring the full force and power of the labor movement to ensure everyone in our country has a good job.
To kick off this effort, the AFL-CIO Executive Council has called upon the entire labor movement
—our affiliated unions, our state and local labor councils, the millions of members of Working America and our allies in communities and progressive movements across this country—to come together to create and protect good jobs. In the coming months we will target politicians, Wall Street firms, corporations and all those who stand in the way of an economy that works for all in the name of speculation that benefits the few.
Will you join us?
Our first step is to hold Wall Street accountable and ensure the Big Banks pay to replace the jobs they destroyed.
While millions are suffering, the party on Wall Street continues—producing speculation instead of investment, executive bonuses instead of jobs and the sowing of the seeds of another financial crisis even as we continue to suffer the consequences of the current one. This is the legacy of the failed deregulatory economic model of the past 30 years and the failed presidency of George W. Bush.
We will carry out this effort to hold Wall Street accountable at every level—in Washington, D.C., in state capitols and city halls, in boardrooms and workplaces and in living rooms across this country.
Our message to the banks will be clear: Your risky schemes to enrich yourselves and your friends tanked our economy and took our jobs. You played Russian Roulette with our futures, and it's time you faced up to your responsibilities to the people whose lives you played with. It is time for you to pay back a small part of what you owe the American people instead of continuing to pay yourselves million-dollar bonuses.
Join us as we fight for Good Jobs Now and hold Wall Street accountable.
Together we will fight the complacency and obstruction that are preventing action, and challenge the speculation and greed that stand in the way of the investments that could create the jobs we need today and an economy that will work tomorrow.
The consequences of inaction for working people and their families—the lives put on hold, the homes lost, the communities threatened—are grim. Children in families touched by long-term unemployment are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to go to college. Young workers entering the job market now are likely to have diminished earnings throughout their careers. Older workers who are dislocated risk never being able to regain the economic standing and dignity that come from having good jobs.
The harm from this crisis to our society will be measured in more than dollars and cents, and only working together can we restore good jobs for all Americans—not just the privileged few.
Richard L. Trumka