The community organizing affiliate of the AFL-CIO is coordinating with state labor groups to hold monthly meetings of the unemployed in five U.S. cities, in hopes of connecting the jobless with helpful resources and involving them in local politics.
Hundreds of jobless Working America members (and non-members) have attended meetings in Portland, Ore.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Denver, Colo.; Pittsburgh, Pa. and Minneapolis, Minn., officials said. The meetings, which began in February, are part of a campaign called “America Wants to Work,” aimed at helping struggling workers at a time when public officials are more focused on slashing spending on social programs and taking away collective bargaining rights.
“We just want to help folks,” Chelsey Evans, state director of Working America in New Mexico, told HuffPost. “We’ve had several meetings and we’re coming together to provide services and support to anyone in the community who is unemployed. We’re finding that a lot of people really struggle to navigate through this extremely complex system, whether it’s unemployment, rental assistance, utility assistance, job counseling.”