Leading Progressive Organizations, Unions Announce Major National Campaign to Pass Obama’s Jobs and

Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery Now


CONTACT: Jeremy Funk, 202-470-5878

DATE: December 18th, 2008

Leading Progressive Organizations, Unions Announce Major National Campaign to Pass Obama’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan

Washington, DC – Amid a worsening economic recession that has left nearly 2 million Americans without jobs and over 2.5 million more without homes this year, the nation’s leading progressive organizations and unions held a press conference call today to announce a major national campaign to pass the jobs and economic recovery package being proposed by President-Elect Barack Obama and Congressional Leaders. Addressing the worst economic crisis the nation has seen since the Great Depression, President-Elect Obama, during his December 6th radio address, outlined priorities to be included in his economic recovery plan, including the single largest investment in U.S. national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s, as well as massive investments towards making public buildings more energy-efficient, upgrading and modernizing school buildings, and modernizing our health care system – smart, long term investments that will help create or save at least two and a half million jobs within 3 years , encourage a stronger future economy, and boost America's hurting middle-class families.

The plan is said to include careful, targeted spending with strong “use it or lose it” accountability measures. The Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery Now will utilize all the resources and techniques of a modern campaign to pass the Obama plan and to pass it overwhelmingly. From grassroots and grass tops contacts to phones, emails, web videos and paid advertising – this $4-5 million campaign aims to build a movement for an overwhelming victory for this package so that the American people have confidence in the plan and its ability to help turn our economy around.

As the first show of commitment to this effort, the campaign held more than 40 events with local labor and community leaders all accorss the country today urging their U.S. Senators and Representatives to back Obama’s economic recovery plan as soon as the new session of Congress begins in January.

Gerald McEntee, AFSCME International President: ”President-elect Obama’s dramatic, bold and innovative jobs and economic recovery program is a clear sign that the change he promised in his campaign has arrived. President-elect Obama understands that we need to fast-track improvements in our roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructure. He knows that public investments create jobs and help the economy in the long-run. He also recognizes that there needs for accountability, which is why his people are working closely with the nation’s governors and mayors to identify projects that are called “shovel-ready,” and are based on national priorities and not political considerations. We have a big task ahead of us. Congress has got to pass President-elect Obama’s plan, the sooner the better.”

Dennis VanRoekel, President, NEA : "In a time of crisis, like now, we must act boldly . All roads to economic security and prosperity go through our public schools. Public investments in the nation's infrastructure, and especially our public schools, provide immediate, short-term economic stimulus and build the foundation for long-term economic growth. These investments have shown to have a significant, and welcome, ripple effect on state and local economies."

Khalid Pitts, Director, Political Accountability, SEIU: "President-Elect Obama wants to begin fixing our economy by providing billions in federal funding to state and local government to stop layoffs and major cutbacks that will further hurt our communities. We need to make sure Congress follows through and passes an economic recovery package that will maintain the public services our communities need, keep people working, and create millions of new jobs."

Brad Woodhouse, President of Americans United for Change: “President-Elect Obama’s bold economic recovery plan will pave the way for immediate job creation through solid and sound investments in health care, energy efficiency, transportation and education. Following 8 years of misguided economic policies that gave priority to tax breaks for multimillionaires and big corporations, the Obama plan will get America’s disappearing middle-class working again right away and make smart, long-term investments that will keep them working long after.”

Alan Charney, USAction Program Director: “We need jobs and we need them quickly. Come January, there will be an outpouring of support from Americans all over the country for an economic recovery package. USAction and our allies will organize at the grassroots so that everyone’s voice will be heard.”

Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research: “Economists from across the political spectrum agree that we are witnessing the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression. The vast majority also agree that the necessary response is a massive government stimulus package. It is fortunate that we have a new administration that clearly recognizes this need and is prepared to make a large stimulus package the top item on his agenda. Ideally, President Obama will have a stimulus bill on his desk the day he takes office so that we can begin restoring life to the economy as quickly as possible.”

Roger Hickey, Co-Director, Campaign for America’s Future: “Our organization recently put out a bold "Main Street Economic Recovery" plan which called for $900 billion over two years to maintian state and local services and greatly expand green investment in rebuilding America. But the economic crisis is worsening so quickly that the new Obama administration may well go beyond that minimum plan. America needs fast action, and that's why we have joined this coalition.”

Debbie Sease, National Campaign Director, Sierra Club: "We are working to ensure that this once in a lifetime investment in our country’s infrastructure matches the vision laid out by the president elect of a greener and energy efficienct economy and is not weakened by “business as usual” attitudes" said debbie sease, director of nationals campaigns"A truly green economic recovery package could translate into a massive boost for clean energy, mass transit, repair of aging infrastructure, building of new green infrastructure and millions of good, green jobs.”

Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer of ACORN: “The incomes of the top one percent of the population have exploded in recent years, while the middle class is being squeezed like never before. With thousands of middle class American families each day losing their jobs, homes, and healthcare under the Bush economy, the time has come for economic policies that work for everyone, not just the wealthy special interests in Washington. President Elect Obama is offering that kind of change and we hope that Congress will support his urgently needed plan to put America back to work.”

More than 20 leading progressive organizations and unions with millions of members have signed onto run a major campaign to pass a significant jobs and economic recovery package to create millions of jobs and help the economy grow in the near and long term. To date, the following organizations have signed on the Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery Now: AFSCME, SEIU, AFLCIO, NEA, Americans United for Change, USAction, Campaign for America’s Future, ACORN, Health Care for America Now, Sierra Club, People for the American Way Foundation, National Women’s Law Center,, Young Democrats of America, 21st Century Democrats, Community Action Partnership, Institute for Policy Studies – Cities for Progress, Progressive Future , National Priorities Project , Cities for Progress, Progressive Future,Working Group on Extreme Inequality, YWCA USA , Economic Policy Institute, Women’s Voices. Women’s Vote Action Fund and the League of Conservation Voters. ###