The National Jobs for All Coalition is dedicated to the propositions that meaningful employment is a precondition for a fulfilling life and that every person capable of working should have the right to a job.
The Coalition not only fights to make these propositions facts of life, but it publishes invaluable research by noted scholars to support them. It regularly produces short, readable articles and pamphlets on such subjects as the phony Social Security crisis, the moderate costs of a full-employment program, the importance of labor unions, and the undercounting of the unemployed. These publications are invaluable tools for those of us engaged in popular and labor education as well as for those teaching in traditional high school and college classrooms. I urge everyone to support and join the Coalition.Â
Michael Yates, author of Why Unions Matter and Longer Hours, Fewer Jobs (both Monthly Review Press), labor educator and professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.Â
What is the Coalition?
The National Jobs for All Coalition is committed to building a new movement for full employment at livable wages. This goal unites a diverse group of otherwise divided, single-issue constituencies. The Coalition includes individuals and organizations with a wide range of interests–workers’, women’s, children’s and seniors’ rights, civil rights, and economic justice. Others work on health care, the environment, economic conversion, are academics, social workers and lawyers, artists or simply concerned individuals. The goals of all of us would be easier to reach if there were jobs for all at decent wages.
The Coalition is committed to a sustainable peacetime economy and to a democratic workplace that is supportive of families and communities. We believe in equality for groups traditionally disadvantaged in the workplace: women, minorities, youth, the elderly, the disabled, immigrants, and gay men and women. Coalition policies would also enhance the economic security of a middle class suffering from downsizing and work stress.
Coalition members believe in the dignity of work and in a nation where everyone who wants to work can find a decent-paying job.Â Although the need for certain government benefits will be reduced when we get jobs for all, some public income support will still be needed. Full employment would be real welfare reform. In the meantime, we must strengthen our safety net.
Why We Need Jobs for All at Decent Wages
Even when the official unemployment rate is considered low, millions of people are unemployed, working part time for lack of full time jobs, too discouraged to look for work, or earning poverty wages. Others can find only temporary jobs or must hold several jobs and work long hours to make ends meet. More and more workers have no health benefits. Downsizing continues toÂ destroy economic security for many workers. Profits are up, but real wages are lower than they were twenty-five years ago. Many inner cities are urban wastelands with few jobs, and welfare “reform” is adding job seekers but notÂ jobs. Little will be done unless people demand jobs for all at decent wages. Joining the Coalition is a way to do just that.
The Coalition’s Program
Our environmentally sound program requires fiscal and monetary policies directed toward the creation of sufficient jobs, both public and private, paying decent wages. We need policies that inhibit inflation without curbing job growth, and many other measures. These include increased public investment, affordable child care, paid parental leave, and other family-friendly policies. The list also includes reduced work time, protection of workers’ and union rights, living wages, adequate income support, anti-discrimination policies, rebuilding our cities, sound government finance, lifelong learning, military conversion, fair trade, and working towards a global New Deal.
Our Vision of a Just Economy:
â€¢ Economic security
â€¢ A democratic workplace
â€¢ Rising living standards
â€¢ Adequate income support
â€¢ Family-friendly policies
â€¢ Equal opportunity
â€¢ Shared prosperity
â€¢ A healthy environment
â€¢ Safe and vibrant cities
â€¢ Sustainable development
â€¢ More leisure time
â€¢ A peaceful world
The Coalition provides:Â Â
- Uncommon Sense, a series of briefings on decliningÂ wages,Â unemployment, public job creation and related topics such as the deficit, the environment and jobs, and family policy.
- Good Jobs for All Newsletter with the latest national and international job-related news and grassroots activities.
- goodjobs email list–occasional messages and information on employment, wages, inequality and other issues related to jobs for all at decent pay.
- Speakers for local, national, and professional groups, as well as for radio and TV
- Dissemination of information to organizations, media, and policy makers
- A forum for discussion of employment and related issues
- Assistance in setting up local groups.
- Jobs For All:Â A Plan for the Revitalization of America, the Coalition’s comprehensive program for full employment
- Occasional and position papers.
The National Jobs for All Coalition was founded in June 1994 at a National Leadership Consultation for Full Employment that brought together representatives from over 70 regional and national organizations. The convening group, New Initiatives for Full Employment (NIFE), consisted of an ethnically and racially diverse group of social activists and academics who had worked together since 1986 to develop a feasible plan for full employment, suited to the economic realities of the late twentieth century and to the new millennium that was then around the corner. The Coalition’s plan takes into account the increasing globalization of trade and financial markets, a post-industrial economy in which service employment predominates, and a workforce comprised not only of all male job seekers but of all such women as well. New Initiatives for Full Employment began meeting in New York City in 1986 and established a Seminar for Full Employment as part of the Columbia University Seminars Program that enabled it to confer with scholars doing cutting-edge work on problems of employment and related issues in the U. S. as well as other countries. As a result of the Seminar, several conferences featuring leading economic thinkers, and our own deliberations, we developed the plan that was set forth in Jobs for All: A Plan for the Revitalization of America, a short book with which we launched the National Jobs for All Coalition. The organizing consultation was hosted by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York.