Welcome Letter from Tom Buffenbarger

January 11, 2010

Dear Jobs Activist:

Have you lost your job?

So have 15.7 million other Americans.

Another 16 million sit at home hoping their luck will turn. They, too, were idled to some degree by this Grave Recession.

So, you’re not alone.

More than 31 million Americans share your strain – sleepless nights worrying about the bills, dreary days surfing job listings, weekends shopping for cheap eats.

They share your pain – calls from debt collectors, no calls from employers and higher prices for things they need.

And they share your drive to survive, to get back to work, to rebuild their lives.

But they cannot do it alone.

Nor can you.

They need you. You need them. You need each other.

And that’s what Ur Union of Unemployed – nicknamed UCubed – hopes to do. Unify the unemployed in a unique and useful way.

UCubed connects the unemployed in a zip code into cubes of six people to end that sense of being all alone.

UCubed then organizes those cubes into neighborhoods of nine cubes, and then builds them into blocks – power blocks politicians cannot ignore, purchasing blocks merchants cannot avoid.

And UCubed offers you a way to use your skills and talents to help others through these hard times even as you help yourself. There is strength in numbers.

There is even more strength when those numbers work in unison.

And what will jobs activists like you do?

First and foremost, you’ll help each other get through these next few years. Each activist has a unique set of skills, talents and experiences that can be shared or bartered. Working together, you can build a network of mutual support.

Second and equally important, you can pressure the federal government to respond faster and more effectively to this jobs crisis. The UCubed website will have links to our JOBS Now! campaign. And it will enable you to email your Members of Congress on urgent issues.

The new jobs bill, expansion of unemployment compensation, extension of the COBRA subsidy, food stamp appropriations, tax relief – all are issues that demand immediate action. And both Congress and the White House need to hear from UCubed activists like you every single week.

Third, you will have access to the Machinists Mall. Deeply discounted sales will be highlighted weekly on the website. UCubed activists will qualify for the two to six percent quarterly rebates on purchases that Machinists Union members now get.

As the UCubed blocks multiply, we hope to add a searchable library of skills and talents. There, both activists and potential employers can find possible barter partners or potential new-hires. But that comes down the road.

This is, after all, Ur Union of Unemployed. As a UCubed activist, you will decide how this concept evolves, develops and is governed. You will select your own leadership – in each cube, at the neighborhood and power block levels and, hopefully, within zip code and state organizations.

Ur Union of Unemployed will be built, literally, from the ground up.

Why is the Machinists Union doing this?

More than 35,000 members of our union have been laid off. Others are working fewer hours each week because their employers simply do not have orders to fill. And the real recovery, not the false one on Wall Street, still seems years away.

Most Machinists Union members will not return to work until the broader economy starts to grow again. So there is an element of self-interest in this endeavor. We desperately want JOBS Now!, not just for our members, but for all Americans.

Everywhere we turn we see the personal devastation this Grave Recession has caused. And we hope UCubed provides a measure of relief – an end to the sense of being all alone, a chance to build something useful and unique, and an opportunity for the unemployed to change things for the better.

Ur Union of Unemployed is a way – I think it is the best way – for thousands of unemployed to get and stay active during those dreary days and sleepless nights.

And I am convinced that this unique, useful and unifying idea will add a real sense of urgency to efforts to get all Americans back to work.

Help us. Help yourself. Help your country.

Start by creating a cube in your zip code. Your life will change a little bit at first. But the lives of those you connect with via UCubed will change dramatically.

And with your activism, UCubed can grow exponentially.

Sincerely yours,

R. Thomas Buffenbarger
International President

International Association of Machinists
and Aerospace Workers