Lansing, MI – 120 union members and supporters marched through downtown Lansing, July 15, chanting, “They say cut back! We say fight back!” The march stopped at a union worker statue where Nick Eaton of IATSE Local 247 spoke, “This statue represents the workers who built the new buildings you see in front of you. It also reflects the history of factory workers before deindustrialization left ugly scenes and empty lots, like many cities in the Midwest.”
COVID-19 infections and end to enhanced benefits to make a bad situation worse
San José, CA – On Thursday, July 9, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the broadest measure of people on unemployment continued to climb. In the week ending June 20, the total number was 32.9 million, up by 1.4 million from a week earlier. This number includes those who are receiving the regular state unemployment insurance benefits, the growing number getting the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, the Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC, and other smaller programs.
Grand Rapids, MI – After a lively rally on June 24 with nearly 100 workers, the stagehands union IATSE is calling a new rally on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol for July 15. The stagehands and other gig workers are demanding the passage of the HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act by the U.S. Senate. July 25 is looming as the $600 per week unemployment boost that keeps people paying their bills is set to run out. Tensions are rising not just in Michigan, but also for stagehands from New York City to Hollywood, across the whole country.
The U.S.-backed government of Philippines and its President Duterte is putting in place the legal framework to carry out a wave of repression against activists in the popular movements who are fighting for social and national liberation. Freedom Road Socialist Organization condemns the recently signed Republic Act 1147, also called Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, for what it is: an attempt to criminalize trade unionists, environmentalists, women’s groups, student organizations or anyone else who wants to challenge the cruel rule of Duterte.
San José, CA – In six weeks, tens of millions of unemployed people face the end of the additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance benefits. This additional benefit that helps low income workers the most is set to expire due to its being opposed by the Republican-controlled Senate. These same workers were hardest hit by the pandemic recession, and many face the prospect of their jobs not coming back. This is just another example of how the economic relief has helped large corporations, which can aided by the Federal Reserve, while low-income workers are subject to punishment by republicans who see the aid as discouraging people from returning to work.
Coalition to March on the RNC demands permits for August 27 rally
Jacksonville, FL – The Coalition to March on the RNC applied for permits from the city of Jacksonville, June 17, to hold a rally and march opposed to Donald Trump and the Republican National Convention.
Nearly three times as high as the pre-pandemic record
San José, CA – On Thursday, June 4 the federal Department of Labor reported that 1.9 million new claims for state unemployment insurance or UI benefits were filed in the week ending May 30. This was down by 250,000 claims from the previous week, continuing the slow decline in new applications. However, this was still more than two and a half times higher than the previous pre-pandemic record of almost 700,000 claims made during the deep 1981-82 recession.
Minneapolis, MN – Political Secretary of Freedom Road Socialist Organization Steff Yorek stated on May 26, “The United States has just reached a grim milestone, 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 with no end in sight, earning this country the dubious distinction of edging into the top ten for deaths per person, with 30.46 deaths per 100,000.”