CFL News
November 18, 2011

Working families stand up for 'jobs, not cuts' as part of day of action

Unions and community groups organized a major protest in Chicago as part of a national day of action for economic justice

Over 2,000 people marched downtown and occupied the LaSalle Street Bridge for over an hour to oppose cuts to essential services and demand job creating policies. Forty-six people were arrested for occupying the bridge, an act symbolizing an “Economic Emergency for the 99%” with the deterioration of our infrastructure as the 1% prosper and demand more tax cuts.

“I wanted to remind those of us who are lucky enough to still have a job that we’re just one layoff away from losing our health insurance or our homes,” said Hayes, an organizer with the group Arise Chicago. “What little safety net we do have in this country will be taken away if the 1% has their way. If that’s not class warfare, I don’t know what is.”

“After putting their lives on the line for our country, veterans need to be able to trade their combat boots for work boots,” said Will Attig, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan and recipient of two Purple Hearts, addressing the rally. “We’re protesting on a bridge that is in need of repair. Let’s put veterans to work fixing our bridges and roads.”

“I’m 85-plus years old,” said Ruth Long, another speaker at the rally. “I depend upon Social Security, Medicaid and public housing to meet my basic needs. But I’m not just here for my own sake. There are 34 million children dependent on Medicaid.”

Culminating with a large rally and march beginning at Thompson Center Plaza, Chicago’s JOBS NOT CUTS Day of Action was one of hundreds of protests across the nation today.

The Day of Action comes on the eve of the Congressional “Super Committee” recommendations for more job-killing budget cuts, which will disproportionately impact the city’s -- and the country’s -- most vulnerable populations, including senior citizens and unemployed veterans.

“Drastic times call for drastic measures,” said Jamie Hayes, who was arrested in the demonstration. “Nobody wants to get arrested, but this is a real crisis. The Super Committee is trying to convince us that this is a deficit crisis, but that’s a lie – it’s a jobs crisis.”

Unemployed workers, struggling families and other members of the 99%, including Occupy Chicago and members of the Stand Up! Chicago coalition, called for real job creation and demanding that big banks be held responsible for the damage they did to the economy.

"We need jobs,” said Alfonso Pulido, an unemployed machine operator, at the rally. “The big corporations have more than their share of the pie. Enough already.” Both Pulido and his wife were laid off and support four young grandchildren living in their home.

The JOBS NOT CUTS Day of Action was a Continuation of the October 10–14 Take Back Chicago Week of Action that brought 7,000 protesters together outside the Art Institute’s Modern Wing on October 10 to take back the jobs, homes and schools taken from working families by the financial institutions that plundered – and continue to plunder – our economy.

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