It used to be that the most typical worker in America was a man in a hard hat. Now it's the person in the unemployment line. Twenty-four million Americans are looking for work, are working part-time because they can't find full-time work, or have stopped looking even though they want a job -- making them the largest sector of the workforce. Two million workers have lost their jobs so far this year, and the New York Times says this will be the longest recession since World War II. That's why Working America and the AFL-CIO are launching a new online center called Unemployment LifeLine, to connect unemployed workers and give them access to resources and a way to act.
Recent months have provided an extraordinary lesson in economic theory. It was a short road from deregulation to Wall Street impunity -- and then to economic ruin. Now working people are left holding the bag.
Unemployment insurance is running out and there are few new jobs. The stimulus package is one badly needed lifeline; UnemploymentLifeLine.com is another.
UnemploymentLifeLine.com is the most complete site of information for unemployed workers, providing information on more than 50,000 local resources and an opportunity for workers to share experiences -- a Yellow Pages-meets-Wikipedia for laid-off workers. Put in your zip code and you will find where to go to find unemployment insurance, nutritional assistance, heating subsidies, credit counseling and job training programs, to name just a few. Workers can also add resources to the site that they find out about.
Most importantly, UnemploymentLifeLine.com brings workers together. It is a support structure, an online forum to provide a sense of community to those who are facing demoralizing realities when the framework of their lives -- their employment -- has been ripped away. And it creates collective power among atomized workers to act on issues.
Working America is taking the LifeLine to street level, as well. Organizers are going to unemployment offices, libraries and neighborhoods, helping workers connect with each other and find the resources they need to ride out the worst recession in decades.
Greedy corporate executives changed the rules, grew rich at our expense, left the economy in ruins and sailed away safe in their private yachts. Ordinary Americans have been left to suffer, laid off because of an economic crisis they had no hand in creating. Working America and the AFL-CIO are providing this LifeLine to give workers a voice after they've lost their jobs, and a way to get active. If you're unemployed, join us at UnemploymentLifeLine.com. If you're fortunate enough to still have a job, send your friends and family.