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Change to Win Launches Make Work Pay! Campaign to Preserve America's Middle Class

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Labor Federation's Campaign Seeks to Unite 50 Million Workers in Movement to Restore the American Dream

Change to Win today launched a permanent campaign to unite the 50 million workers whose jobs cannot be outsourced and who are vital to the U.S. economy -- but who are not given a chance to reach the Middle Class.

The Make Work Pay! campaign is focused on the millions of workers who work hard every day but still fall short of the basics of the American Dream -- a salary that can support a family, affordable health care, retirement security, a voice on the job, and a chance to give their kids an education and a better future.  The campaign will unite workers in industries such as hospitality, construction, retail, food processing, healthcare, trucking and transportation among others.

A week of organizing activities in nearly 40 cities across the country kicks off the permanent campaign, with events at locations ranging from construction sites in New York City, to the steps of the county Courthouse in Norristown, PA, to ports in Seattle, Miami and Los Angeles, to Wal-Marts throughout the nation.

"There are millions of jobs in this country that can't be moved overseas," said Anna Burger, Chair of Change to Win.  "They include the people who heal the sick and comfort the elderly, who harvest and serve our food, and build and clean and protect our offices and homes.  These men and women work hard and play by the rules but for too many the American Dream is something they see only on TV."

CtW's unions are sharing resources, supporting each other's organizing drives and exerting pressure on corporations to allow their workers to determine whether they want to unite into a union, all under the banner of the Make Work Pay! campaign.

"We're organizing in a new way," said Edgar Romney, Secretary-Treasurer of Change to Win.  "Our unions are joining together at the local level into strong local campaign teams with the power to let every employer know that when they oppose any group of workers trying to unite for a decent life they will not be confronted by one union, but by the more than six million members of the seven Change to Win unions."

The Make Work Pay campaign will also work to educate the American public about the peril faced by the American Middle Class.  As CEO pay skyrockets and corporate profits surge, average workers are being left behind.  Average CEO pay rose 27% last year, to $11.3 million -- more than 300 times that of average workers.

"The gap between the rich and everyone else is growing," Burger said. "Even Alan Greenspan believes that this gap is not good for American democracy. But there is a solution -- it involves workers organizing and uniting to force the changes that will create a new American middle class, just as our fathers and grandfathers did in the years following World War II."

Change to Win has also launched a series of TV and print advertisements in major markets across the country to introduce the campaign and Change to Win to the general public.

A campaign Website, www.makeworkpay.org features links to all the campaigns under the Make Work Pay! banner and will offer opportunities for union members, potential members and the general public to engage in the effort to Make Work Pay.

"We are going to reach out to those workers who are not yet organized and to the American people who know this country can't exist without a vibrant middle class," Burger said. "The implications are clear: when employers make work pay, entire communities benefit."

Contact:
Carole Florman, 202.721.6045 direct, 202.262.1513 mobile or carole.florman@changetowin.org

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The great American middle class wasn’t something that just happened – it was built brick by brick. It was built by soldiers returning from war and a government that repaid them by giving them a shot at college.