(C. Proxmire, June 29, 2013)
Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) joined a rally of about 50 green jobs activists at the corner of 9 Mile and Woodward on Friday to talk about HR 1000, the “Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act.” The act would be similar to The New Deal plans of the 1930s that brought America out of the Great Depression by putting people to work building infrastructure throughout the country.
The bill is similar to those that have been introduced in recent years without success. It has a funding plan written in, which includes a 25 cent tax on all stock trades over $100 and other provisions that would mainly tax those in the upper income levels.
“I’ve got a lot of bills…The most important is creating a job as a right for everybody in America that wants to work. As the richest economy in the world, there’s no reason for us to have unemployed people. And for all the public works that we need – bridges, roads, highways, schools – we could put everybody to work. And then for the young kids we have a training program inside. So I’ve got a lot of bills, but this is the most important,” Conyers said.
John Dick, Co-chair of SE Michigan Jobs with Justice, led the rally which he said embodied “community groups, faith-based groups, and labor groups all coming together for the society we want to see for the future and for our children.”
The Sierra Club, Pure Oakland Water, Jobs with Justice, and United Auto Workers were among those at the rally. The converging interests of environmentalists pushing for “green” infrastructure, unions pushing for worker’s rights, and groups that want to see revitalization of communities and a strong economy make up the base of support for HR 1000.
Former Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey, now working with Oakland County Water Resource Commissioner Jim Nash and the newly formed Pure Oakland Water, touted the environmental aspects of the bill. “We should be a leader in green energy. We should not be moving backward with fracking. We should be moving forward with wind, solar and biomass energy,” Covey said. “We can put people to work building an infrastructure that protects our nation’s water and creates green jobs.”
Riverview hip hop artist and community-building activist G-Style talked about the importance of educating people and teaching them to use their voice. He likened silence to the perils of holding one’s breath, saying the only way to live was with an open mouth. His Feed Da Streetz campaign is helping share food in Detroit, and he’s working to recruit activists in the movement towards economic recovery. “If we don’t have a working wage, we don’t have a future,” he said.
“Imagine a government that takes its resources and puts people to work and not to war,” Dick said.
On his website, Conyers gave background on America’s current economic state. “Since 2000 more than 50,000 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. have closed and roughly 50,000 industrial jobs have been lost each month. Now service sector jobs, where the remaining two-thirds of all workers are currently employed, are disappearing. Because of, but not limited to technology advances, these middle-income jobs are not likely to come back, effectively hollowing out the America’s middle class and leaving millions of unemployed and underemployed workers with limited future prospects. The effect of these trends on American jobs were significantly aggravated by the Great Recession.
“Meanwhile, in spite of the Great Recession, the wealthiest 1% of Americans has become even richer. The share of income taken by the top 1% has more than doubled by 2007, U.S. corporations became flush with record profits, and the stock market has rebounded to all-time highs. All while stagnate wages for the working poor and middle-class remained and, in some cases declined, over the same time period.”
To learn more about HR 1000, visit http://www.johnconyers.com/hr-1000-humphrey-hawkins-full-employment-and-training-act.