America‚Äôs jobless are unionizing, or at least furthering an agenda of one of the nation‚Äôs biggest unions.
An organization aimed at giving the unemployed more influence has announced it now has more than 100,000 jobless activists in their ranks.
The Union of Unemployed (UCubed) Activists is an Internet-centric ‚Äúcommunity service project‚ÄĚ of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) ‚ÄĒ one of the country‚Äôs largest industrial trade unions.
‚ÄúOur objective is to pull together unemployed Americans in a way that allows them to connect, communicate and press their political leaders for policies that will get them back to work,‚ÄĚ Rick Sloan, UCubed‚Äôs executive director and IAM communications director, told The Daily Caller.
According to the group‚Äôs website, jobless ‚ÄúJobs Activists‚ÄĚ assert their influence through coordinated communication with public officials.
‚ÄúJobs Activists, organized by their zip codes, advocate for sound public policy, emailing public officials to alert them about policies that directly impact the jobless,‚ÄĚ the website explains.
Among those policies the group advocates is a second Works Progress Administration or WPA 2.0.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôd like to see [policymakers] recreate the Works Progress Administration, WPA 2.0. Which in the 1930s put between 6.5 and 8 million people back to work,‚ÄĚ Sloan said.
The WPA was a New Deal program instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 to put Americans to work on public infrastructure projects during the Great Depression.
The group is currently pushing passage of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg‚Äôs recent ‚Äú21st Century WPA Act‚ÄĚ to reinstate the New Deal employment program, and Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur‚Äôs attempt to rejuvenate another New Deal program with her ‚Äú21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Act.‚ÄĚ
Lautenberg‚Äôs bill would cost $250 billion through 2013; Kaptur‚Äôs would cost $16 billion annually through 2015. Both bills are pending in committee.
UCubed is also interested in supporting extensions of long-term unemployment benefits.
‚ÄúThose 100,000 online activists regularly share posts with their 26.6 million Facebook friends, giving the unemployed a power that far exceeds their numbers,‚ÄĚ Sloan added in a statement. ‚ÄúUCubed connected with jobless Americans by asking a simple question: Where‚Äôs a job for me, Mr. President? And by advocating for a new Works Progress Administration ‚ÄĒ a WPA 2.0 ‚ÄĒ to put Americans back to work ASAP.‚ÄĚ