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February 15, 2024

During Black History Month, Pressley Unveils Federal Job Guarantee Resolution

Resolution Follows in Footsteps of Civil Rights Leaders Coretta Scott King, Economist Sadie Alexander, Among Others

Job Guarantee Would Provide Critical Safety Net, Good-Paying Union Jobs, and Close Income Gap

Resolution Text (PDF) | Summary (PDF)

WASHINGTON — Today, during Black History Month and over 60 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) reintroduced a historic resolution calling for a federal job guarantee. The resolution, which builds on the legacy and work of Black women in the civil rights movement, will help the United States achieve the promise of full employment, establish a more resilient and inclusive economy, and begin to close racial and gender income gaps.

“As a central and unfulfilled demand of the civil rights movement, a federal job guarantee is our opportunity to finally reach full employment and help achieve long-term economic security for everyone who calls America home,” said Rep. Pressley. “It’s been over 60 years since the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and it’s long past time we actualized the radical dream and legislative blueprint that leaders like Coretta Scott King and Sadie Alexander presented us with to affirm the fundamental right to dignified work and a living wage. I’m honored to mark Black History Month by introducing this bold resolution and standing on the shoulders of the civil rights leaders who came before us. Congress must pass our resolution without delay and make the investments necessary for everyone to thrive with dignity, not just survive.”

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 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. 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.

“We applaud Congresswoman Pressley for her steadfast commitment to justice and tranquility. This federal job guarantee resolution recognizes and promotes the infrastructure to put our most productive resources to work for a greener, more just and inclusive economy that works for us all,” said Dr. Darrick Hamilton, Founding Director of the Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy at The New School.

“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. 

For more information on proposed federal job guarantee projects, compensation and benefits, and program administration and financing, click here.

A copy of the resolution can be found here and a summary is here.

Rep. Pressley first introduced the historic resolution in February 2021. Following introduction. Pressleyquestioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in a House Financial Services Committee hearing about the need for a federal job guarantee to help the United States achieve full employment. In September 2021, she published an op-ed in The Nation outlining the civil rights history of the Federal Job Guarantee and discussed the urgent need to establish one.