In the 1940’s, labor unions in the Congress of Industrial Organization demanded the government provide jobs for all. In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a Second Bill of Rights, which included the universal right to meaningful work. In the march on Washington, civil rights leaders called for a Federal Jobs Guarantee. People have rallied around the idea of good jobs for all for over 80 years, and yet, despite a pandemic and a global shutdown, this goal has yet to be achieved.
Not only would a federal jobs guarantee help establish economic stability and end involuntary unemployment, it would also be used to combat the unfolding climate emergency. We don’t have time for political maneuvers and superficial reforms; what we need is the Green New Deal—legislation that would mobilize our country to address the climate crisis on the scale necessary to fully confront it. As the first pillar of the Green New Deal, the federal jobs guarantee would put millions to work building sustainable infrastructure as we transition our economy away from fossil fuels.
A transition is inevitable. Sea levels rise, pandemics spread, cities burn; people tire from being pushed to the bottom for so long, forced to bear the brunt of the climate crisis and systems rooted in oppression. Our world is changing. But the way we face this inevitable crisis is not set in stone.
It’s time for our politicians to be brave, so we don’t have to be brave for them. So frontline workers don’t have to risk their lives to put food on the table, and so that millions across the globe aren’t left jobless in the wake of a crisis. That’s good jobs for all. It’s building resilience so our communities can overcome the hurricanes that ravage our coasts, or the recent freeze in Texas.
Congressman Mike Thompson: Sonoma County faces devastating wildfires and a drastic shortage of affordable housing. We need a federal jobs guarantee. As a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and an advocate for progressive change, it’s time for you to be brave and keep your promises.