The attack on public sector unions is an attack on Black workers

By Elizabeth Falcon and Sequnely Gray This month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. The case could interfere with the ability of working people to stick together in strong unions to improve their workplaces, their lives and their communities by attacking the collective power of local government workers. Here in DC, it’s DC Public Schools teachers, nurses, and bus drivers, professors at UDC, trash collectors, neighborhood librarians, and crossing guards who keep our community running that are under attack.  Data analysis done by DCist using 2013 data showed that the areas with the highest level of government workers in the District  are wards 5, 7, and 8 – areas that include higher levels of unemployment and poverty than the rest of the District. These are jobs with a true path to the middle class for District workers, and have been so for decades.  (Adjoining Prince George’s County, one of the richest Black-majority counties in the country, shows over 30% of the workforce employed in the public sector – clearly demonstrating how public sector jobs have contributed to the total economic security of county residents.) Across America, state and local governments have historically provided more employment and advancement opportunities for Black workers in comparison with the private sector. Through legislation and the adoption of affirmative action and antidiscrimination policies, the public sector exceeds the private sector in maintaining a commitment to a diverse workforce. As a result, Black Americans comprise a higher share of the state and local workforce compared to the private sector (12.8 versus 10.3 percent). Similarly, women constitute a disproportionately...

Join our Team! DC JWJ Seeks Organizer

DC Jobs With Justice is looking for an enthusiastic individual to join our team! The ideal candidate will excel at developing and implementing strategic campaigns, building and maintaining relationships, and building consensus among diverse stakeholders with different priorities to enable effective work together on a common goal. This person will be a team player, excited about the role of unions and coalitions in social change, and committed to justice in Washington, DC. We are currently listing two positions – one full time and one part time – in order to reach a wide diversity of candidates with varying availability. We will only fill one position. The part time position will have the option to work full time with DC JWJ after three months. Full Time Position Part Time Position Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Please send a cover letter, resume, and three professional references with emails and phone numbers to jobs@dcjwj.org . DC Jobs With Justice is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage people of color, women, LGBTQ, and differently-abled people to...

DC Jobs With Justice Resolution in Support of Inauguration Protesters

The DC Jobs With Justice Executive Committee has made the following resolution and is proud to share it with you: DC Jobs With Justice Resolution in Support of Inauguration Protesters WHEREAS, DC Jobs With Justice works for justice in Washington, DC; WHEREAS, the right to free speech and free expression of ideas is enshrined in the first amendment of the Constitution; WHEREAS, the labor movement was formed by workers bravely exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech; WHEREAS, increased policing,  militarization of local police departments, and excessive use of force disproportionately impacts African American communities, other communities of color, immigrant communities, trans communities and persons who are homeless; WHEREAS, DC Jobs With Justice and our members at times participate in protests and other exercises of their right to free speech on the streets of Washington, DC; WHEREAS, on January 20, 2017, when tens of thousands of citizens gathered in Washington, DC to exercise their first amendment right to protest the inauguration of President Trump, a crowd of more than 200 individuals – including journalists, medics, and bystanders – were rounded up without warning and mass arrested without individuated probable cause; WHEREAS, 190 of those arrested are now facing outrageously inappropriate and draconian multiple felony charges and up to 61 years of prison time for exercising their first amendment rights, and such reprisals constitute a dangerous chilling effect on the right to speak out and all forms of free expression; THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, that DC Jobs With Justice wholeheartedly condemns the arbitrary, overbroad detention and arrest of hundreds of citizens exercising their right to free speech while...

Press Release: DC Government Must Stop Delays and Step Up to Help Student Loan Borrowers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, April 24, 2017 CONTACT Ari Schwartz, DC Jobs With Justice, 202-674-3228 or ari@dcjwj.org DC Government Must Stop Delays and Step Up to Help Student Loan Borrowers Link – http://bit.ly/2oEqcRj As Trump’s Department of Education and loan servicers abandon borrowers, the DC Government must hire its Student Loan Ombudsman to bring much-needed oversight over loan servicers and guidance for District borrowers WASHINGTON, D.C. – Months after the DC Council unanimously passed legislation to create a Student Loan Ombudsman with authority to license loan servicers, the relevant DC government agency has yet to hire the Ombudsman. At a time when the country’s largest student loan servicer, Navient, declares “there is no expectation that the servicer will act in the interest of the consumer,” the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) should not be dragging its feet.  Instead of moving forward with hiring this crucial position, DISB has undermined the law and its own ability to find a qualified applicant by requiring the position also serve a secondary, distinct role as Foreclosure Ombudsman. Elizabeth Falcon, Executive Director of DC Jobs With Justice, issued the following statement: “More than ever, DC residents desperately need support from District Government to fight our student debt crisis. We are the most indebted jurisdiction in the country, as around 140,000 residents owe an average of $40,885, and 1 in 10 DC borrowers are in default. East of the Anacostia, our neighbors face the brunt of predatory loan servicers and are three times more likely to be behind on their payments. “In December, we were heartened to see Councilmember David Grosso  and the DC Council...

On May 1, Out of the Workplace and Into the Streets!

May 1 is our day. It’s International Workers’ Day and it’s our time to celebrate our victories and resist against the oppression our communities still face. This year, Washington, DC will be at the heart of that resistance. Across our neighborhoods, businesses, and communities, thousands will be on strike, in the streets, and showing our resistance. We stand together to fight racism and xenophobia, challenge unfair workplaces and corporate exploitation, and join together in solidarity. We support the brave workers who are going on strike, closing businesses, and leading the resistance. DC Jobs With Justice is committed to supporting those workers and their vision for our future. We’ve compiled lots of the action happening on May Day into one info sheet. You can find it here   Join us on May Day! Find out where you can get involved by clicking...

How to request support from the Solidarity Squad

Process: The Solidarity Squad Advisory team will meet weekly on Monday morning to review requests. This team reflects DC JWJ staff, board, and membership. Please send requests in as early as possible so staff can ask any clarifying questions and present to advisory team. Staff will have a limited ability to approve requests that come in after Monday morning on an emergency basis. Submit requests to solidarity@dcjwj.org. Criteria:  The central decision-making body for DC JWJ is the Steering Committee or organizational members of DC JWJ. As a result: To request solidarity, you must be a member of DC JWJ or partnering with a DC JWJ member. Solidarity requests that already have been supported through the DC JWJ Steering Committee will be given preference. The leadership team may not be able to approve support for an activity that has not already had approval from the DC JWJ Steering Committee. Organizations wishing to become members are encouraged to do so All requests should include types of solidarity you are requesting such as mobilization, event support, canvassing, etc. Preference will be given for solidarity requests that connect local targets to national threats arising from the current right-wing federal government. These include but are not limited to: Threats to communities of color, immigrant communities, Muslims or other religious minorities, and LGBTQ people Expansion of corporate power over individuals and/or privatization of public goods Threats to collective action especially threats to unions Threats to working families and DC’s safety net Threats to DC’s autonomy Preference will be given to actions that target local government and/or corporate targets where DC residents have leverage to sway...