Thursday, June 24, 2010

Saturday, June 26: STAND UP for Social Security and Medicare, and against the deficit hawks!

On Saturday, the latest attacks on Social Security begin, with an America Speaks National Town Meeting. Don't let the deficit hawks endanger America's most effective social program. Make your voice heard.

Philadelphia Jobs with Justice encourages everyone to join with Social Security Works in a picket at the America Speaks National Town Meeting, which aims to gut Social Security and Medicare. Please join us at the picket line at 10:30, or, if you can, register to attend the event and speak up! More about the President's bi-partisan commission and the likelihood it will recommend devastating cuts to these critical programs, can be found here.

PICKET: 10:30 am, Saturday, June 26, 38th & Market Streets

The Philadelphia Town Meeting details:
Sat, Jun 26, 2010  |  11:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Philadelphia Grand Ballroom, 3rd Floor
First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Dear Friends,

It doesn't matter that spurring job growth is the best way to address the nation's economic problems. It doesn't matter that most of our deficit today stems from the economic crisis, President Bush's tax cuts for the rich and the cost of two wars that were never paid for. It doesn't matter that long-term deficits are driven by the inefficiency of our health care system.

Conservative groups and Wall Street players are spending more than $1 billion to convince the public to cut Social Security to ribbons and stymie the kinds of domestic investments that fuel job growth--all in the name of deficit reduction. Social Security--which is not responsible for the deficit and should be providing more, not less, retirement security--must not be on the chopping block.

The next big attack on Social Security starts in earnest on Saturday, during an America Speaks National Town Meeting in at least 19 locations and online. Organizers and funders include groups that have been gunning for Social Security, and although the national town hall is billed as "neutral," we expect the questions asked will be skewed to solicit responses aimed at cutting the budget at the expense of working people and retirees and sparing Wall Street and the wealthy from having to pay their fair share for the investments needed to fuel strong job growth. Don't let the conversation be one-sided.

Outside some of the meetings, activists will be protesting under the banner "Hands Off Social Security and Medicare: Make Wall Street Pay." 

Organizers plan to present results from the national town hall meeting to Congress, President Obama, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force and the public--and to lobby to get them enacted.

Make sure the point of view of pro-worker, pro-retiree progressive activists is heard loud and clear by taking part.

In solidarity,

Marc Laitin

AFL-CIO Online Mobilization Coordinator

Thursday, June 10, 2010

LISTEN: Residents Battle Service Cuts at City Hall




At a rally at City Hall, the Coalition for Essential Services called for a stop to cuts, and more taxes for big business. A report by Milena Velis for Labor Justice Radio. Featured MMP Audio

Last Thursday, the Coalition to Save the Libraries demonstrated in City Hall alongside AFSCME Local DC47, Firefighters Local 22, and over 50 friends and allies to demand that this budget crisis be paid for by the businesses that caused it, and not the poor and working people of Philadelphia.

In late May, when Mayor Nutter heard that City Council had adopted a regressive 9.9% real estate tax instead of his proposed soda tax, he threatened the City with another $15 million in surprise cuts, including $2.5 million in cuts to libraries, which would reduce library hours from five to four days a week.

“It would be horrible [to go from five to four days]," said Joe Baker, president of the Friends of the Independence Branch Library. "To me, it's a sign the city is dying."

When Mayor Nutter took office in 2008, a decade of tax breaks and handouts to big corporations had already devastated Philadelphia’s finances. Center City lobbyists were invested in political candidates who promised to be “pro-business” and elected officials had directed millions of dollars in public funds towards skyscrapers convention centers, stadiums and casinos. By the time the Recession hit, Philadelphia was giving away over $80 million dollars in corporate tax cuts per year.

It’s no wonder that, by November of that same year, Nutter was forced to announce a 1.4 billion dollar budget shortfall. Instead of closing the deficit by reversing the business tax cuts, the Mayor and City Council passed the cost onto Philadelphia residents with a regressive sales tax increase and drastic cuts to essential city services, including an attempt to close down 11 city libraries that was defeated by a grassroots effort.

“Philadelphia is supposed to be the creator of liberty,” said Sheila Washington, of the Haddington branch library, speaking in front of Council Chambers. “But they are taxing the poorest the highest. It isn’t fair.”

A year later, City Hall continues to protect businesses at the expense of neighborhoods and communities. Youth violence reduction programs are facing an irresponsible 1.7 million dollars in spending reductions, supportive housing services are losing half a million dollars, and firefighters are being threatened with the loss of two fire companies – a full 40 positions. “My job is to save lives,” said Bill Gault, president of the Local 22 Firefighters Union. “With fewer firehouses this becomes harder for me and my team to do.”

The cuts go into effect on July 1st, and neither the Mayor nor Council have shown any interest in avoiding them. Reverend Jesse Brown concluded the demonstration in City Hall with a short prayer, asking God to give Philadelphia politicians the courage to stand up for the needs of regular people as the budget crisis continues.

Zachary Hershman
Coalition to Save the Libraries

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Join Wake Up Walmart Activists Across the Nation on June 4, 2010

Wake Up Walmart activists will be gathering across the country on Friday, June 4, at the same time that Walmart holds its annual shareholder meeting. They will be asking Walmart shoppers to write to Walmart executives demanding Walmart prove that female associates have an equal opportunity at the company.

Walmart located at 1675 S. Chris. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA.
Beginning at 3 pm.

United Food and Commercial Workers