PIIN Jobs and the Economy Task Force
The PIIN board formed a Jobs and the Economy Task Force to focus on access to good jobs for people in our communities. At the 2011 Public Action Meeting, PIIN secured agreements from public officials to work with us to guarantee that a portion of highway and bridge project funds in Allegheny County are used to ensure marginalized, unemployed, and underemployed members of our communities have access to jobs created by any public investment project in Allegheny County. The task force is currently meeting with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials and local job training and apprentice programs to shape their strategy for access to highway jobs. With other Transportation Equity Network members across the country, PIIN sent leaders to Washington D.C. to meet with legislators about the new transportation bill that is key to the funding of highway jobs. The Jobs Task Force also links PIIN to our labor partners. PIIN clergy and lay delegations to businesses during contract negotiations have helped service workers get salaries and benefits that can sustain a family.
It Is Simply Unjust
Things should never have reached this point.
Every day, the American Dream seems a little farther away. More of our grandparents are being thrown from their homes. Our mothers and fathers can’t retire because their pension funds tanked. Our brothers and sisters are burdened by student loan debt. For our children, budget cuts have resulted in crumbling schools, skyrocketing class sizes, and teachers being denied the support they need to do their best. Our friends and family are being denied rights in their workplaces and are falling further and further behind. Our neighbors are being poisoned by pollution in our air and water. In recent years, millions of jobs have been destroyed, homes foreclosed, and today, more of us live in poverty than at any time since the Great Depression.
This is no accident. It is a result of the deliberate manipulation of our democracy and our economy by a tiny minority in the top 1%, those who amass more wealth and power at our expense. Today, the richest 10 per cent own 70 percent of all wealth, while the remaining 90 percent share 30 percent. The richest 400 people in our country have more riches than the next 150,000,000 of us. Corporate contributions to the tax base that fund our schools and transit systems have fallen by 86 per cent since the 1970s. And perhaps worst of all, the most powerful in our society are mounting an attack on our right to vote, to assemble, to protest and to use our collective strength in unions and community organizations
to build the world that we want to see.
We are at a crossroads as a country. Do we want greater wealth for a few or opportunity for many? Tax breaks for the richest or a fair shot for the rest of us? A government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people?
The choice is in our hands.
We know great change is possible. We inherit a history of everyday people standing up for their own dignity, freedom, and self-determination, shaping our direction as a country; the seamstresses in Alabama who launched a bus boycott, the farmers in New England and Virginia who imagined we could be a free nation, the workers in Flint, Michigan who occupied their plant to win collective bargaining rights, the farmworkers in California who liberated our fields, the women in New York who dreamed they could one day speak with equal voice, the mother who stood up in Love Canal to stop the poisoning of her community, and the students who risked their lives during Freedom Summer to register voters.
In the past year we joined teachers and fire fighters of Wisconsin as they stood for the rights of workers. We took on the richest greediest corporations whose tax-dodging can no longer be tolerated. We joined those who Occupied Wall Street, inspiring us to stand with the 99%. We helped janitors to win family-sustaining wages. We went to Selma, to revisit the past and to commit ourselves to defending the rights of everyone to vote for representatives of their choosing.
Together we are rising, because we DO hold these truths to be self evident—that all men and women are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Will you rise with us?
Manor Building, 564 Forbes Ave, Suite 808
Pittsburgh, PA 15219