February 18, 2021
Rep. Pressley, Economists, Advocates Unveil Historic Federal Job Guarantee Resolution
Resolution Builds Upon Historic Advocacy of Civil Rights Leaders Coretta Scott King, Economist Sadie Alexander, Among Others
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined economists and advocates to introduce a historic resolution calling for a federal job guarantee. The resolution, which builds on the legacy and work of generations of Black women in the Civil Rights Movement, will help the United States achieve the promise of full employment, ensure a just, equitable recovery, establish a more resilient and inclusive economy, and begin to close racial and gender income gaps.
“It’s time to establish a legal right to a job for all people in America. For years, we have legislated hate, harm and injustice in this country. It’s long past time to pursue bold, intentional policies that affirm equity and recognize the dignity and humanity of all people,” Congresswoman Pressley said. “A federal job guarantee is an important investment in the American people, our communities, and an equitable economy that works for all. It affirms the right to meaningful, dignified work and a living wage. I’m proud to build upon and honor the legacy and work of generations of Black women Civil Rights leaders by introducing this historic resolution.”
Congresswoman Pressley joined Dr. Nina Banks, Professor Darrick Hamilton, and Angela Glover Blackwell to discuss the resolution during a call with reporters yesterday. Rep. Pressley is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. Banks is the president of the National Economic Association. Hamilton is the director of The New School’s Institute on Race and Political Economy. Glover Blackwell is the founder of PolicyLink, a national research institute focused on the advancement of racial and economic equity.
Full video of the press call is available here.
A federal job guarantee would provide every person with an enforceable legal right to a quality job. Extending beyond a project based approach, the Resolution calls for the creation of federal jobs that meet long-neglected community, physical and human infrastructure needs, such as delivering quality care for children and seniors, building and sustaining 21st century transit systems, strengthening neighborhoods, and protecting the environment. Funded by the federal government and implemented locally in partnership with communities, the program would provide public jobs for all adults seeking employment.
By ensuring everyone has access to a good job with dignified wages, safe working conditions, health care and other benefits—including full worker rights and union protections—a federal job guarantee would address the current jobs crisis while laying the foundation for an equitable economic recovery. It would also set a new standard for quality jobs, pressuring low-wage employers to increase wages and benefits. It would create a pathway to stable employment and begin to close the gaping income and wealth gap for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous workers who continue to face discrimination and are often the “first ones fired, last ones hired” during economic crises. It would also ensure economic inclusion for those experiencing discrimination in the labor market, including people with disabilities, transgender people, caregivers, and people with criminal records or involvement with the criminal legal system. By hiring workers in the midst of a downturn, a permanent job guarantee would operate as an automatic stabilizer, maintaining consumer spending and protecting us from prolonged recessions and jobless recoveries — making the economy more resilient as well as more inclusive.
A federal job guarantee is a long-overdue policy that will help us achieve true full employment, increase economic security, and reduce racial and gender inequities. It prevents the many social and economic costs of unemployment and invests in people, our communities and the planet. It is the most powerful reform we can implement to create an equitable, resilient and sustainable economy that delivers prosperity to all.
For more information on proposed federal job guarantee projects, compensation and benefits, and program administration and financing, click here.
Supporters of Congresswoman Pressley’s federal job guarantee resolution include: PolicyLink, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), ACRE, Sunrise Movement, Peoples Action, Center For Popular Democracy, Ady Barkan (Be A Hero), One Fair Wage, Public Money Action, Demos, National Employment Law Project, National Community Re-investment Coalition (NCRC), Caring Across Generations, Franklin Roosevelt III, The People’s Bailout, The Democracy Collaborative, National Black Worker Center, National Jobs for All Network, National Youth Employment Coalition, National Partnership for Women & Families, Labor Network for Sustainability, Progressive Democrats of America, Pittsburgh Black Worker Center, Dallas Black Clergy, Greenpeace USA, Southern Connecticut University-American Association of University Professors (SCSU-AAUP), Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice, Real Progressives, Our Money, Bard College & OSUN Economic Democracy Initiative, National Gray Panthers, Community Change Action, VA Progressives, Lewis & Clark College, Real Progress in Action, Virginia Progressives, NOVA Catholic Community, Beyond-The-Spectrum, Liberation in a Generation, Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, Harrisonburg Martin Luther King, Jr. Way Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America – Anchorage Chapter, Full Employment Now PAC, WESPAC Foundation, Inc., Impact Equitable Justice Inc., Mississippi Low-Income Childcare Initiative, The Unity Council, Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice, North Carolina Justice Center, The Living New Deal NYC, Women’s Foundation California, Heartland Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Right To The City Alliance, New Consensus, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement-New York City.
“Good, family-supporting jobs are the cornerstone of thriving communities. But as corporations boost profits by making jobs more and more precarious, millions of working moms and dads have to deal with the chronic stress of worrying about finding reliable work that pays enough to cover all their bills. A job guarantee and more access to good union jobs will help create a stable future for working people of all races and backgrounds. It will help us to join together to build a balanced, inclusive economy that works for all of us,” said Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union.
“In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, every person deserves to have a meaningful job, healthcare and a living wage. Congresswoman Pressley’s Resolution is an opportunity for our country to step up and invest in its people, rather than big corporations and fossil fuel CEOs,” said Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement. “Sunrise Movement has been calling for the government to guarantee everyone a good paying job to stop the climate crisis through the Green New Deal. This Resolution is not only a step towards a brighter future for young people, working people and for people of color, but is a vital leap towards what’s needed for a Green New Deal.”
“Our siblings in the Black Freedom Movement had the foresight to champion a Federal Job Guarantee to deliver economic security for all people,” said Michael McAfee, President and CEO of PolicyLink. “Today, 100 million people are experiencing chronic financial insecurity due to decades of persistent racial and economic inequality. This moment calls for nothing but bold, transformative policies. A Federal Job Guarantee is an investment in people and their communities, and our only path to full employment.”
In July, Congresswoman Pressley and UCLA historian David Stein co-authored an op-ed on CNBC.com in which they called on the Federal Reserve to take specific steps to address Black unemployment, including by not standing in the way of a federal jobs guarantee.
One year ago, in a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Congresswoman Pressley questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the issue of full employment and the Civil Rights history of the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate. Powell conceded, for the first time in Federal Reserve history and on the Congressional record, that the Fed alone cannot get the United States to full employment.
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