Open Letter to Barack Obama on Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign
Source The Organizer
Date 09/01/25/20:04

January 20, 2009

Dear President Barack Obama,

On November 4, 2008, millions of Blacks, Latinos, youth, and working people of all backgrounds seized on this election to say: Enough is enough, racism and oppression must end now. In the context of the deepening economic crisis, the election also was a cry from working people: We cannot accept the destruction of our jobs, our homes, our public services and our communities -- this crisis is not of our making and we should not be made to pay for it.

We, the undersigned, call upon you to submit to the Congress an economic recovery program that bails out working people -- NOT Wall Street. We also call on the AFL-CIO, Change to Win, and the organizations representing Blacks, Latinos, antiwar, immigrant rights and other social protest activists to endorse this 10-point platform of the Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign:

1) Put a halt to the Wall Street bailout plan. Not one more penny should be earmarked to bail out the bankers and speculators. It's time to bail out working people.

2) Enact a moratorium on all home foreclosures, utility shut-offs, evictions and rent hikes. Nationalize the mortgage industry, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

3) Enact H.R. 676 -- the universal, single-payer healthcare plan. Take the private insurance companies out of the healthcare equation. Guarantee fully funded pensions for retirees, along with healthcare and other benefits.

4) Enact the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) so that every worker can have union representation.

5) Stop the layoffs in auto and other industries across the country. Nationalize the Big 3 automakers. Re-tool the auto industry to build rapid mass transit, solar, and wind systems.

6) Stop the scapegoating of immigrant workers. Stop the ICE raids and deportations.

7) End all funding for the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our troops home now. The war expenditures in these countries alone are estimated at $3 trillion. Redirect all war funding to meet human needs.

8) Enact a massive national reconstruction public works program (minimum expenditure needed of $1 trillion) to rebuild the nation's schools, hospitals and crumbling infrastructure and to put millions of people back to work at a union-scale wage. Provide all necessary funding for a genuine Reconstruction program in the Gulf Coast; enact the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (H.R. 4048).

9) Defend and expand the rights and economic security of those who are unable to work. Grant living-wage benefits to single parents, disabled, seniors, and the unemployed. End the arbitrary, punitive time limits, sanctions, denial of education, and forced unwaged workfare in the TANF welfare program.

10) Tax the corporations and the rich -- not working people -- to finance a workers' recovery plan. The rich currently enjoy historically high levels of wealth while being taxed at bargain-basement rates. Implement a retroactive tax on windfall revenue on the oil-energy industry, return capital income taxation to 1981 levels, and repatriate the $2 trillion from the offshore tax havens.

INITIAL LIST OF CAMPAIGN SUPPORTERS (partial list of 500 endorsers; * org & title listed for id. only):

Nancy Wohlforth* (Co-Pres., Pride at Work/AFL-CIO, Vice Pres., California Federation of Labor)
Cindy Sheehan (Gold Star mother, antiwar activist)
Cynthia McKinney (former Member of Congress, 2009 Green Party presidential candidate)
Donna Dewitt* (President, South Carolina AFL-CIO)
Progressive Democrats of America
Nativo López (Hermandad Mexicana)
Colia Clark (veteran of the Civil Rights Movement)
Michael Eisenscher* (AFT Local 1603, OPEIU Local 3)
Mark Dudzic* (National Organizer, Labor Party)
Dennis Serrette* (Political Director, Communications Workers of America)
Bruce Dixon (Editor, Black Agenda Report)
Kali Akuno (Gulf coast reconstruction activist)
Gene Bruskin (labor and antiwar activist - Washington, D.C.)
Larry Pinkney* (Black Activist Writers Guild & The Black Commentator)
Al Rojas (Coordinator, Frente de Mexicanos en el Exterior)
Alan Benjamin (Editor, The Organizer)
Glen Ford (
Chris Silvera (Sec.-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 808, Long Island City, NY)
Traven Leyshon* (Pres., Washington - Orange - Lamoille Labor Council, Vermont)
Fred Hirsch* (Exec. Bd., Plumbers and Fitters Local 393, San Jose, CA)
Rev. Elston K. McCowan* (Public Sector Dir., SEIU Local 2000; current
candidate for Mayor of St. Louis, MO)
Bill Leumer (Workers Action)
Leonel Nixon* (Universal African Peoples Organization-St. Louis/Chicago)
Elizabeth "Betita" Martinez (Institute for Multiracial Justice)
Kentucky May Day Coalition
Renée Saucedo* (La Raza Centro Legal)
Andy Griggs* (Chair, National Education Assoc., Peace & Justice Caucus; UTLA)
Howard Wallace* (Pride at Work)
Clarence Thomas* (Exec. Bd., ILWU Local 10)
Don Bechler* (Single Payer Now!)
George Hutchinson* (Pacific Green Party, former OEA member)
Mike Carano* (Progressive Democrats of America-Ohio, Teamsters' union)
Jerry Gordon* (UFCW International Rep/retired; Chair, Ohio State Labor Party)
Ed Rosario (Co-Convener, OWC Continuations Committee)
Pat Gowens (Welfare Warriors)
Luis Magaña (Organización de Trabajadores Agrícolas de California)
Tim Kaminski* (UAW Local 110, former committeeman, retired)
Gustavo Bujanda (Raices Mexicanas)
Nancy Romer* (Professional Staff Congress, CUNY, AFT 2334)
Frank Martin del Campo* (Exec. Bd. member, S.F. Labor Council)
Mark Esters* (member, UAW-St. Louis, Missouri)
Jack Rasmus (Economist, Professor St. Mary's College)
Juan Rafael Santos* (South Central Farm Leadership Council)
Wes Brain* (Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice)
Adam Richmond (Committee to Overturn Prop 8)
James Vann* (Oakland Tenants Union)
Luis Alberto Rivera (President, PRD en el Exterior)
Jean Pauline* (SF Gray Panthers)
Akinyele Sadiq (The Troublemakers Union - band)
Hal Sutton* (UAW Local 1268 retirees chapter)
Filemon López (Radio Bilingüe)
Kristen Zehner* (AFSCME Sub Chapter 52)
C. T. Weber* (Peace and Freedom Party / California State Employees Association)
Dale Sorensen* (Task Force on the Americas)
Helen Spalding (AFSCME retiree)
David Walters* (IBEW Local 1245)
Randy Lopez* (By Any Means Necessary / Sacramento BAMN)
Jessica Sanchez (Workers' International League-S.F.)
Rodger Scott* (AFT Local 2121, retired)
Jose Luis Jaral Moreno (Comité Binacional de Derechos Humanos de los Migrantes)
Millie Phillips (Socialist Organizer)
Páramo Hernandez (Union Civica Primero de Mayo)
Steve Ongerth* (IWW, IBU SF Bay Region)
Vinnie Burrows* (AEG, SAG, AFTRA-NY)
Chris Kaihatsu* (
Dan Kaplan (Exec. Sec., AFT Local 1493)
Ann Robertson* (California Faculty Association, SFSU)
Marc Rich* (UTLA delegate, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor)
Paul Burton* (Northern Calif. Mdia Workers, CWA 39521, San Mateo Labor Council)
Allan Fisher* (AFT Local 2121)
Roger Dittman (Professor Emeritus, Physics, Cal. State Univ.-Fullerton)
Lisa North* (AFT Local 2)
James Keys* (Senior Action Network and SF Mental Health Board)
Larry Duncan* (CWA 14408, Co-Producer, Labor Beat-Chicago)
Marlena Santoyo* (Philadelphia Federation of Teachers)
Brian L. Rich* (Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights)
Laurence Shoup* (UAW 1981, retired)
Dennis Gallie* (UAW Local 249)
Rodrigo Ibarra (Co-Editor, El Organizador)
Kathy Lipscomb* (Exec. Bd, Senior Action Network - S.F.)
Jim Hamilton* (Member State Exec. Com., AFT Missouri)
Linda Ray* (SEIU Local 1021, San Francisco)
Ken Hollenbeck* (CWA 6300 delegate to St. Louis Labor Council
Roger T. Harris* (Task Force on the Americas, Corte Madera, CA)
Herb Johnson* (Missouri State AFL-CIO)
T. Rodgers (Sidewalk University, Los Angeles)
Lisa North* (UFT-AFT Local 2 - N.Y.)
Eugene Frison (Retired, St. Louis Court Workers' leader)
Rogelio Reyes (Prof., San Diego State University)
Mark Demming* (National Lawyers Guild, Oakland, CA)
Nikhil Kothegal* (AFT Local 420, St. Louis)
Robley E. (Rob) George* (Center for the Study of Democratic Societies)
Julie Utley (T.A. , St. Louis County Special School District)
Patty Jaundzems* (OPEIU Local 3)
Mark Vorpahl* (SEIU Local 49, Portland, OR)
Paul Joseph Poposky (Workers International League - St. Louis)
Francesca Rosa* (SEIU Local 1021, delegate to SF Labor Council)
Kathleen Densmore* (Phd., community activist, San Francisco)
Renate Bridenthal* (Prof. Staff Congress, PSC/CUNY)
Tucker Pamella Farley* (Prof. Staff Congress, PSC/CUNY)
Paul Colvin* (Communications Workers of America-ITU, retired)
Paul Lenart (IWW Organizing Committee-Reno, Nevada)
Michael Flynn* (National Lawyers Guild-Oakland)
Mary Moore* (Bohemian Grove Action Network)
Larry Lambert* (Coachella Valley MDS)
Helen Spalding* (AFSCME Local 1844, retired)
Joanne Husar (filmmaker, Los Angeles)
Col. Jeffrey Segal, Esq. (Louisville, Kentucky)
Eric Blanc (youth organizer - San Francisco)
Karen Parker* (Association of Humanitarian Lawyers)
Jack Chernos* (American Federation of Musicians Local 6)
Greg Miller* (Freelancers Union - San Francisco)
Francisca Ramos-Stierle (Metta Center for Nonviolence Education)
Esther John* (AFT-Seattle)
Donald Leisman* (AFT Local 420 - St. Louis)
Brian Hill (environmental activist, Eugene, Oregon)
Aaron Schuman* (NWU/UAW 1981 - Ithaca, N.Y.)
Steve Kessler* (member, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice)

[Campaign initiated by The Organizer Newspaper].

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