Greensboro rally prepares Jobs with Justice for national walk

On September 15, the NC Triad chapter of “Jobs with Justice” held a rally at the Phil McDonald Government Plaza in downtown Greensboro. “Jobs with Justice” is a national network of local coalitions that bring together labor unions, faith groups, community organizations and student activists to fight for working people, according to a JwJ press release.

The rally was sponsored by the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

The rally included statements by North Carolina State AFL-CIO President James Andrews, North Carolina Human Relations Commissioner Richard Koritz, co-chair of NC Triad “Jobs with Justice” Sandra Koritz, immigrant rights activists, and other concerned citizens.

“The purpose of this rally is to help mobilize more thousands to the march on Washington, DC for jobs on October 2, in the ‘One Nation Working Together’ demonstration sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National AFL-CIO,” said Richard Koritz.

Ken Gilmore, associate professor and chair for the department of political science, said he will be interested to see what kind of turn out there will be at the march.

“Of course, bringing one’s ‘fellow travelers’ together is good for group solidarity; I’ll be curious, however, to see how many people show up for this rally.”

Gilmore said that unfortunately rallies like these are only as effective as the news coverage they receive.

Even in the face of scant attention, some, like Dustin Nettleton, a UNCG history major and former Guilford student, continue on their grassroots effort to advocate for jobs.

“We want to help empower the public to militantly fight for workers’ rights,” said Nettleton.

With the national economic crisis, Nettleton said this is the only way, especially with Greensboro’s unemployment rate nearing nine percent.

“This is a state of emergency,” said Richard Koritz. He pointed to communities of color in particular, noting that their unemployment was hovering in the double-digits.

“Fifteen million Americans are out of work, and without a major federal investment in creating jobs, jobless rates will be 8-13 percent into the next decade,” said Koritz.

The jobs deficit, according to Koritz, means state and local revenues are drying up and local tax bases are eroding. This will threaten vital public services, not to mention putting another 500-700 thousand people out of work across the country.

“We need government intervention to lift this country out of deep joblessness,” said Koritz.

The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) is one of the largest and most diverse unions in North America, with members in virtually every sector of the economy, according to UAW’s website.

John Crawford, president of UAW local 5287, agrees there is a crisis.

Crawford said, “Congress has an opportunity to fix the problem by creating jobs and retooling the economy. We must challenge elected leaders, especially senators, who are blocking good jobs and a real recovery.”

Crawford said the JwJ wants to get the attention NC senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr.

Jobs with Justice is mobilizing support for job creation initiatives like the Local Jobs for America Act, which will potentially create one million good jobs providing needed services in local communities.

The JwJ said they are advocating for a tax on Wall Street banks to help the country recover from the financial crisis those banks profited from.

“A tax on financial speculation could raise an estimated $200-$500 billion every year,” said Sandra.

According to Senator Burr’s website, “to help North Carolina specifically, Senator Burr has hosted economic development workshops and summits focused on small business development, entrepreneurship, the federal grants process, community colleges, and other related topics throughout the state. These workshops are designed to promote economic development and to make North Carolina more competitive in the future.”

Hagan’s website announced, “Joining with moderate senators from both sides of the aisle, Hagan will fight for fiscal responsibility by holding the line on frivolous spending, working to pay down our national debt and fighting wasteful federal contracts.”

Both Burr and Hagan serve on the Health and Labor Committees in the United States Senate.

For more information on JeJ and the march in Washington, DC on October 2, visit http://www.jwj.org.