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Groups Urge Congress to Act Now; Touted Tax Fairness and Support for Occupy Wall Street
Los Angeles - The state’s two largest educator unions joined forces with Los Angeles community and other labor groups in a news conference in front of Esperanza Elementary School today to push support for President Obama’s American Jobs Act, and to show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement and its call for tax fairness and putting people back to work. Yesterday a Senate vote temporarily stalled the critical jobs measure, blocking a piece that would have provided $35 billion to keep teachers, police, and firefighters working.
"Americans deserve an explanation from lawmakers who oppose putting teachers, police, and firefights back to work," said CTA Secretary-Treasurer Mikki Cichocki. “Congress needs to step up to the plate; educators are fed up seeing our students go without, while banks are being bailed out, and the poor and middle class are being shut out. That’s why movements like Occupy Wall Street are building momentum and why they have our support.”
“At a time when millions of Americans are without work and have little or no prospect of finding jobs, the President's plan to put people to work is the absolute right thing to do,” said California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt. “Our children need their teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors and other school employees back on the job. Our children can't wait, the American people can't wait and our Congressional representatives should do the right thing to pass this jobs bill now.”
"The American Jobs Act is the best down-payment on getting our nation back to work, keeping teachers in our classrooms, librarians in our libraries and critical education support staff in our schools," said Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. "We demand Congress represent the American people, put country before party and pass the American Jobs Act piece by piece."
"Earlier this week, we delivered more 27,000 signatures from our members to Speaker John Boehner demanding that he take up a vote on the jobs bill, but he was too busy golfing with his rich lobbyist buddies to pay any attention to us," said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the 700,000 member Courage Campaign. "Jobs are not a partisan issue and the time has long passed for Congress to work with the President to get us out of this mess. People need jobs, not fancy golf parties at resorts which only the 1% can afford."
“I have a college degree and for the last 20 years I have worked as a tax accountant. But for the past 2 years I survived off unemployment and my 401k which are soon to be exhausted" said Taylor Mayfield, South LA resident and member of SCOPE & California Calls. "As I travel through my neighborhood I observe that many of my neighbors are out of work and frustrated. I feel their frustration. This jobs bill will bring needed relief to South Los Angeles.”
President Obama has promised to keep pressing ahead and he issued a statement last night urging Congress to put people before party and to pass the American Jobs Act piece by piece. Organizations at today's news conference vowed to continue strong support for the measure and to hold lawmakers accountable.
Watch a portion of the news conference.
The 325,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.