Tag: Employment Working Group

Employment Working Group: March 4, 2012

Ed, Al, and Amanda met in Glenwood Coffee & Books, 9:30—11:00 a.m.

Coming in, Ed said, teasingly, “Well, how many jobs are we creating today?”

As it turned out, that’s exactly what we discussed and decided to do! Soon, summer, there will be unemployed high school young men and women out of work, nothing to do, wanting meaningful work and a few bucks. What if we enabled them to start a business, a worker/owner/management co-op?

There are plenty of needy people in Glenwood for example, wanting their grass cut and other “handyman” chores – work they’re too feeble to do themselves (but can’t afford the prices big companies charge for helping). Moreover, we’re all trying to do for ourselves, rather than rely on Gov’t or Corporations! And we’re trying to create confident, experienced young people, especially in cooperative ventures!

After the meeting, Al spoke to his high school friend, Selena Gama, 18 in April; she would make the perfect administrator for such a project. “I’ll be in charge,” she thought, but Al explained the concept of working together, horizontal leadership, and everyone profiting equally (“gain share” like we do in the bookshop). Selena wondered if it would be too much for her, but Al encouraged her to try, to “crunch it down,” start simply with just a couple of tiny steps… Selena decided she was up to it, if her foster mother approved…

Respectfully submitted,

Employment/Unemployment Working Group: February 4, 2012

The Employment/Unemployment Working Group met at Glenwood Coffee & Books Saturday morning, 9:30–11:30 a.m., February 4th, Paul facilitating. Attending, in addition to Paul, were Ed, Lynn, Dave, Larry, Michael, and Keith.

The meeting contained two discussions, each lasting an hour. The first, led by Keith, included a new idea of his of creating a Greensboro Technological Cooperative (GTC), “radically re-conceptualizing what we mean by employment.” Incorporating models already being developed by members of our WG, Keith made some original and potentially exciting proposals. His idea is based on understanding the new paradigms of economic life in today’s world of globalization. One example he gave was the redundant concept of “outsourcing.” Business People today, multinational, have no “out” or “in.” All is “Made In The World.” So, for example, when looking for a job, I am competing not only with talented individuals in my own locale, no, I am competing with everyone in the world. Does not Greensboro’s Volvo Truck not use “illegal” employee/nationals from countries elsewhere?

The GTC would highlight local talent and resources. Keith gave an example of a model industry based on “Open Source” operating systems, which he felt illustrated his new idea, this based on the idea that local homeowners could not easily figure out the Linux O.S. So, there are alternatives to proprietary software.

Keith bases most of his contribution on the fact that EDUCATION is the largest economic component in Greensboro: Engineering & Technology. Health Care would be an aim of GTC as well.

Larry continued the good work of our last Saturday’s meeting, covered by the minutes Keith took and posted from that meeting (which see). Larry recommends doing a lot more research before we approach the City Council, which we have been thinking of doing early in March. Recall that the current qualifiers for Development Grants are 35 jobs and a capatalization of $9,000,000. The big question is, “How to get the City Council to make a major shift in its thinking/policy?”

Our goal is to make alloted monies more productive. But, first, we have to propose a vision, perhaps cooperatives? As yet there is only an embryonic understanding of “co-ops.”

Larry explained the importance of city staff in our approach. Little of our approach is written in concrete at this time, mostly jello in fact, and we will certainly have this near the top of the Agenda at our next meeting (along with further discussion of Keith’s ideas, too). Larry urged more outreach, before we appear before the council.

As a context for all our work, it was proposed that this is a People’s Movement: “Our fundamental over-riding objective must be to move the wealth of the city from the hands of the Power Brokers and return it into the hands of the people.”

Because Ed is leaving town for a while, he will do a workshop for us on co-ops at our next meeting, next Saturday morning, 9:30, at the bookshop.

Respectfully submitted,

You are fodder for the factory and battlefield, choose to be free!

A crowd of us marched today from the Greensboro Public Library on Church Street, to Governmental Plaza to raise awareness about unemployment in Greensboro and to start the conversation about how we can build a better economy.  Once at Governmental Plaza, we heard from several speakers, including Christine Chaplik, who had prepared a speech which she agreed to publish here.

We are here today to shine a light on the fact that, at minimum, 14 million Americans are unemployed and at least 26 million are un or under employed, Many people’s jobs have been out sourced to other countries.

And now, some Americans are outsourcing themselves to other countries in order to be able to work.

Big business has no intention of helping us, their only concern is the bottom line, not the lives of the people who have been destroyed by these corporate policies of greed, bad business decisions and pollution. Congress won’t help us, they have another master, and it’s not we the people. They blame the dismal economic situation regarding lack of jobs on lazy people who want to live off the system. They bail out their buddies and refuse to help citizens who are losing every thing they have worked for all their lives due to illegal foreclosure practices. There is just no end to their greed. Unemployment insurance is a vital important lifeline and if millions lose unemployment benefits, it will only compound the human suffering that is sweeping through our cities, our suburbs,and our rural areas as a result of the Great Recession.

They teach us of the vital importance of other lifelines – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are even more important during hard times.

They want us to beg for crumbs, those of us that are working are experiencing stagnant wages or decreased earning potential. Decreased benefits, or no benefits. In the mean time, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, CEOs in 2010 received pay at a ratio of $375 to $1 and yet refuse to pay anymore in taxes instead trying to shift the burden to the middle class, the poor, disabled and retired. Anyone but them!

These corporations are receiving billions in taxpayer subsidies using it to pollute our air and soil and contaminate our water extracting fossil fuels through mining, drilling or hydraulic fracturing and refuse to accept any responsibility for poisoning our planet and all who live on it. Congress refuses to cut these subsidies but will not vote to extend unemployment benefits for millions out of work through no fault of their own.

So, we can’t depend on corporations or the government to dig us out of this hole. Who can we depend on? We have to approach it from a solution point of reference. Stop feeding the machine.

We can depend on ourselves, occupy our lives.

How do we do this? How do we occupy our lives? By bypassing corporations and their polluting services. Our food supply is approximately 80% genetically modified frankenfood. Grow your own or buy locally from those that do. Save rain water, water is going to be a serious issue in the near future, learn now to conserve. In Southern Florida they used cisterns on the top of their houses to collect rain water. For those that can, open your own environmental friendly businesses, supplying your communities with needed products and services. Support those businesses. If you are knowledgeable about running a business, help someone else. Use credit unions or small banks to obtain financing or other banking needs, Fire the big banks!

Duke Power is requesting an 18% rate increase for residential services, less for businesses. People are out of work, struggling with diminished wages if they are working, and they want to increase our rates, while making millions in profits every quarter? Their reason for requesting this rate increase to build more coal plants to continue to pollute our environment. So they want us to pay them more money to kill us. In this case we need to occupy our energy. Fire Duke Energy!

Recently I saw a video about a school in India called the Barefoot College. It is a place where uneducated, illiterate woman, some who don’t even speak the language, go to learn to become solar engineers. They are taught by watching and doing. It is a six month course and when they complete it they return to their communities and install solar power giving their communities, in some cases, their first experience with electricity. If they can do it, we can do it.

They also are advocates of rain water harvesting, finding it the best solution to areas that experience droughts routinely. Mahatma Gandhi’s central belief was that the knowledge, skills and wisdom found in villages should be used for development before getting skills from outside. He also believed that sophisticated technology should be used in rural India, but it should be in the hands and in control of the poor communities so that they are not dependent or exploited as it leads to replacement.

Sounds to me like he was telling the people to occupy their resources. We need to occupy our food, our jobs our energy and resources. It might not be tomorrow, but we can work our way toward making corporations and big banks obsolete.

When I first moved to Greensboro, there was a sign painted on a building in my neighborhood. If left such an impression on me I never forgot it. It said: You are fodder for the factory and battlefield, choose to be free!

We are the 99%, choose to occupy your lives, your freedom.