House Introduces Public Jobs Bill

After more than a year since the launch of the IAM’s JOBS Now! campaign, legislation to quickly reverse high unemployment by hiring the unemployed to work in the public sector has finally been introduced.

Rep. George Miller, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, released details of the “Local Jobs for America Act” Wednesday. The legislation aims to invest $75 billion for local communities to hire vital staff immediately. Miller estimates the bill will create a million full-time public and private jobs this year.

“Our nation is going through one of the most difficult economic times in its history,” says Miller. “We must do everything to help create jobs for those who are struggling to support their families. At the same time, the recession is forcing states and municipalities to cut jobs that are critically important – teachers, police, firefighters, childcare workers, and others. The Local Jobs for America Act will provide our economy a shot in the arm by putting a million people to work restoring these services in local communities.”

The legislation provides for on-the-job training in the private sector in order to help local businesses put people back to work, as well. Miller says support will be targeted directly to states and municipalities with the greatest number of jobless residents.

“Rep. Miller’s bill is really good news for the millions of unemployed Americans who want so badly to return to work, but just need the opportunity,” says IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Much of the bill’s provisions echo proposals put forth in the IAM’s year-long JOBS Now! campaign. While we believe it’s only a start towards recovery, it’s the only real start we’ve seen introduced thus far.”

JOBS Now! calls for a second stimulus package focused on putting millions of Americans back to work immediately, through the creation of a 21 st century version of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA was responsible for employing 8.5 million Americans in public sector jobs during the Great Depression, cutting the unemployment rate by more than half.

The Economic Policy Institutes believes Miller’s bill is exactly the kind of bold, hard-hitting response needed to address the current jobs crisis. The Institute predicts the total impact of a million jobs “will likely be higher because of the indirect job creation that happens when people have more money to spend at local businesses.”

Show your support for this first real step towards economic recovery. Send a letter to your Congressperson and urge them to co-sponsor Rep. Miller’s “Local Jobs for America Act” today.