“We Need Jobs Bill, Not Bull!”
99ERs RELEASE FLASHMOB VIDEO CALLING FOR JOBS; UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENSION and TOWN HALL MEETING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA: NEW YORK - October 7, 2010
An entertaining new flash mob video is hitting the internet today, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONv-xrjC9Qg, whose creators hope will shine a light on the plight of the long-term unemployed, or “99ers”, those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and are still unable to find a job in this economy. In a truly grass-roots effort, the video was conceived, produced and staged by jobless workers themselves; people who, in the words of the video, “have worked all their lives, until they were laid off at the beginning of the recession.”
Documentary filmmaker and Academy Award nominee Immy Humes is the Director. The video is being released through the web site www.FlashMobs4Jobs.com , one of a growing number of social networking sites where 99ers and the unemployed are airing their grievances and organizing as a political force for the November elections.
“We never thought this could happen to us in America,” said Yvonne Fitzner, one of the 99ers who appears in the video, “that our government would turn a deaf ear while we lose everything.” In the video, these laid-off workers are dressed in work clothes- many in the attire of their former jobs.
Accompanied by a “street musician” they dance around the Wall Street Bull singing the song “Get a Job” made famous by the Silhouettes, with lyrics altered to fit their present situation. “We‟re dressing up and dancing around because we want to be entertaining, but we hope that people don‟t lose sight of the very serious situation we„re in,” said Fitzner, “We need Congress to pass S.3706,” a bill that would extend benefits for the unemployed an additional 20 weeks and provide incentives for employers to hire the long-term unemployed. The bill, sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), recently received the backing of the powerful AFL-CIO.
The participants in the flash mob say they are not too proud to take whatever jobs are available. “Sure, we started by looking for jobs in our own field,” said Connie Kaplan, a laid-off corporate librarian, “but after months of getting turned down, we‟ll take anything we can get; the jobs just aren't there.” With a reported five unemployed for every job opening, this is the grim reality. In addition, many say rampant age discrimination is another barrier keeping them from the workforce. “Employers say we are “over qualified”, says Kaplan, “but we know what they mean”.
“We are struggling to keep the American Dream alive in the worst economy our country has known in generations,” added Lisa Sgambati, an interior designer and single mother. “The government helped keep the rich bankers afloat when they needed it. Are they going to stand back and watch while our lives go into the toilet?”
www.FlashMobs4Jobs.com, and it‟s sister site, the Unemployed Workers Action Group, www.uwag.org, have been organizing to bring attention to the jobs crisis, and the suffering of the 99ers, in particular. The group staged a rally in August on Wall Street, has participated in other rallies and plans more flashmobs4jobs in the near future. Many 99er groups have recently joined forces to press the need for passage of S3706 in the short term, and a jobs bill in the longer term. “What we are witnessing is nothing short of the melt-down of the middle class, right before our eyes”, said volunteer organizer Sam Talbot, also unemployed. “We will keep organizing, no matter the odds. We will win; the question is how many Americans must suffer, and for how long, before our politicians will act”.
END Press Release -
Now the hard part comes. We all need to post this video link everywhere so that the video goes viral! The 99er cause is truly the definition of a grass roots movement. Today’s grass roots movements, by definition mean the use of Social networking, but it does not end there.
In order to get the most from our efforts, everyone who can needs to get involved. Getting involved means you start where you live. In every district in America, you have politicians courting your vote. Contact them about this Tier 5 issue. Email them the link to this article and tell them to watch the video and that you will contact them after to see what their position is on Tier 5 legislation for all states, before the election.
Organize a few of your friends and do a 'Honk & Wave' in your own community. A 'Honk & Wave' event only takes 3 to 6 folks on a busy street corner with signs (which can be home made for little or no money) that say things like "Honk if you support JOBS for Americans" or "Honk if you need a job or Tier 5" - perhaps something like "Honk if you are a 99er." Be creative and do not forget to alert the local press about the event.
If you have children, bring them with you. What better way to show them how the American process of "Grass Roots Change" works, than to expose them to seeing their parents fighting for what they believe in? If police show up, you will not be arrested. Be polite, as we want to be good citizens at all times.
If people in communities across the nation will just do this one thing, the main stream press will pick up the story. This is great publicity for the 99er cause, but It begins with you. Forward a link to this article to everyone on your email lists, post on all of your social media pages, send it by text to everyone on your phone list.
This is not the time to indulge our disappointment over Tier 5 not yet becoming law. This is time to "Step it up" and intensify our resolve. Renew your commitment to the cause and remember we are fighting for our very survival. Do whatever each of you can do, as if your lives depended upon it - because it truly does.
Tags: 99ers s3706 stabenow "ed schultz" "jobless benefits" "americans want to work act" "tier 5 to survive" "unemployment extension"