Ticked off about the economy
and budget cuts? Join the crowd.
At noon this Saturday, April 16,
private and public sector unions angry with high unemployment and
government budget cuts will meet in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square
for a “Jobs,
Not Cuts” rally.
Organized by Portland Jobs with Justice
, the rally has more than 60 cosponsors from unions to community and environmental groups.
still at 10 percent
and a state budget deficit of $3.5 billion
organizers want to see Oregon’s economy grow while also making
sure social safety net programs won’t get slashed in the expected wave of budget cuts.
“There is a deficit and we need
to be frugal,” says Jobs with Justice organizer Chris Ferlazzo, “But making cuts
on working people and the poor is not the way.”
Along with preserving social programs, Jobs with Justice is also calling for a national program, similar to
FDR’s Works Progress Administration
—a call that is being echoed by environmental groups expected
to attend the Saturday rally.
“We need a massive public works program to create millions of new jobs
repairing the infrastructure and creating a 21st century economy focused on
reducing our reliance on fossil fuels," Dave King of the Climate Justice Coalition
said in a news release.
According to Ferlazzo, 11
Portland private and public sector unions totaling 15,000
union members, will be negotiating contracts this June. And Ferlazzo says he hopes to raise awareness about those negotiations at Saturday’s rally.
The Jobs, Not Cuts rally will also
include a talk by Professional Fire Fighters
of Wisconsin president Mahlon Mitchell
. He came to national attention after Wisconsin Gov.
Scott Walker clashed with public sector unions over Walker’s bill
stripping most Wisconsin public sector workers of the right to collectively
Exempt from Walker’s bill were Wisconsin police and fire
fighters unions, including Mitchell’s own union.
Mitchell, whose union joined those protesting Walker, has
been a key figure in the Wisconsin protests.
The Saturday rally beginning at noon comes less than 24 hours after this very different demonstration
on Friday, April 15, also in Pioneer Courthouse Square.