The Washington Socialist Weekly Update <> April 7, 2017
By Leo Gertner
[filed 4/1/2017] On the first of March, the DC Jobs with Justice Steering Committee met at SEIU Local 32BJ’s offices on Vermont Avenue to take up new business, re-double its commitment to local fights, and welcome a new member to the coalition. Brian Wivell and Leo Gertner attended as Metro DC DSA representatives. Our chapter is one among nearly fifty leading local organizations that belong to the Committee, which has led the fight against social and economic injustice in the region.
The Committee took several important votes. Max Toth, a long-time organizer, most recently with Working America, was elected a treasurer to the DC JwJ Executive Board. The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) was welcomed as a new member of the Steering Committee with broad support. It hopes to start a campaign to tax polluters to create a universal basic income. The Committee voted to endorse the National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens’ proposal to the fight to fund the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act, which embraces a public health approach to violence and builds on Black Lives Matter proposals.
Elizabeth Falcon, DC JwJ’s executive director, led discussion on its new Solidarity Squad, a rapid response organizing program designed to engage people who want to participate in the local resistance against Trump. DSA was singled out as a group that could offer advice on how to best harness energy built around resisting the current administration. DSA is welcome to propose events or actions to be sent out weekly by the Solidarity Squad by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday at 8:30 a.m.
UNITE HERE Local 25 then discussed its support of a bill councilmember Kenyan McDuffie introduced in January to limit the power of commercial AirBnB operators, who have seized up to 40 percent of the AirBnB market, transforming scarce affordable housing into short-term rentals. The committee finally discussed the continuing Paid Family Leave fight as councilmembers backpedal on their earlier commitment. A final vote is expected after the June budget.
Numerous organizations also provided updates on campaigns, several of which Metro DC DSA has supported: ROC spoke about its tipped minimum wage campaign; SEIU Local 500 reported on organizing drives at American University, George Washington, and Howard; National Nurses Union talked about mobilizing around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; ATU discussed the WMATA budget; CWA offered an update on the AT&T Mobility contract fight, and MLOV reported on its sanctuary cities organizing.
The Steering Committee's next meeting will be in June.
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