Date: Mon, 27 Oct 97 08:45:09 CST
From: email@example.com (Peoples Weekly World)
Subject: Rallies boost Martinez jobs bill
Organization: Scott Marshall
Rallies boost Martinez jobs bill
Evelina Alarcon, in People's Weekly World
25 October 1997
LOS ANGELES - Spirited rallies, marches and lobbying
actions took place in over 20 cities across the country on
Oct. 18 to demand Congress pass the Martinez Jobs Bill (HR-
950), a $250 billion public works jobs-creation bill.
Whether in response to welfare reform, NAFTA, downsizing or
deteriorating cities, the determination to pass HR-950 - as
a part of the fight to take back the Congress in 1998 from
the Republican ultra-right - echoed from New York City to
Los Angeles on this National Day of Action.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.),
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of
the Congressional Black Caucus, and Dolores Huerta,
national secretary-treasurer of the United Farm Workers
Union, were among those who addressed the rallies.
HR-950, the Jobs Creation and Infrastructure Restoration
Act, was introduced into Congress by Rep. Matthew Martinez
(D-Calif.). A campaign in support of the legislation is
being organized by the National Labor Community Coalition
for Public Works Jobs which initiated the Day of Action.
Speaking from the steps of City Hall, Waters said, "We've
got to stand with Marty Martinez and say we don't care what
the atmosphere is in Washington. We want to change the
To the cheers of hundreds of Los Angelenos, including more
than 50 labor, community and religious leaders, Waters said
that with HR-950 "we are going to do to Newt Gingrich what
we did to him when they didn't want to increase the minimum
wage - we beat him!"
Waters called HR-950 a platform for organizing. "I am going
to stand with Marty Martinez and all the co-sponsors to
sing the praises of this living wage jobs bill in the Halls
of Congress, but not only that," she pledged. "I organize
better than I legislate, and I am going to organize rallies
and marches among the young, seniors, women and all of
"When we come together, we have the power to change the
course," Rev. Jesse Jackson told the crowd. "What I like
about this rally is that there is a time for us not to talk
about it, but to fight about it!"
Jackson connected his support for HR-950 to the fight to
win back affirmative action in California and the Oct. 27
"Save the Dream" rally in Sacramento.
"The dream is not for a chicken in every pot or a car in
every garage," he said. "The dream Dr. Martin Luther King
marched for was not just about self esteem, the content of
one's character or the color of one's skin. It is about
public policy. Dr. King marched to shift public policy for
jobs and justice ... He marched for the right to vote!"
Dolores Huerta, who described the horror of farm workers
who have been cut off of food stamps altogether because
they are not citizens, called rally organizers and
participants "the visionaries who are giving voice to the
Martinez Jobs Bill."
She criticized Congress for not addressing HR-950. "You
would think that with welfare 'deform' that a public works
jobs bill would be a priority ... but it's not! Congress
and President Clinton should be putting this bill first
instead of last!"
Joining the Los Angeles speakers was City Councilman
Richard Alarcon who had introduced into the council the
unanimously-passed motion to endorse HR-950. He commended
Rep. Martinez for "his vision which is at the fundamental
root of what we should stand for in America."
Alarcon said, "It is not easy to be [in the] vanguard of a
movement and a bill which requires an investment when the
government is downsizing, but [he] recognizes that we must
preserve our infrastructure and in so doing we preserve the
dignity of working class people which makes America
Twenty leaders spoke at the Los Angeles rally including
Alejandro Ahumada, president of Utility Workers Union of
America Local 132, who announced that his national
executive board just voted to affiliate with the national
coalition organizing for HR-950. Alejandro Stevens,
president of Service Employees International Union Local
660, representing the largest local in L.A., also spoke on
behalf of his International, a national co-sponsor of the
Art Rodriguez, coordinator of the National Coalition which
initiated HR-950, opened the rally in Los Angeles.
Rodriguez told the World that the actions all over the
country set the stage for passing HR-950.
"These rallies established a long-range commitment by
members of Congress, state legislators, local elected
officials and hundreds of leaders across the country," he
said, "that they will fight for passage of the bill no
matter how long it takes."
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