UCubed News

Not Accidental Tourists

March 19, 2014 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leader:

In the last 28 days, Facebook reports that UCubed reached 11 million people in the United States, 896,000 in Canada, 455,000 in Australia and 405,000 in India. We also reached over 50,000 Facebook users in eight more nations: Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Brazil, New Zealand, Germany and South Africa.

Who knew?

All told UCubed is reaching folks in 45 countries… even in nations like Iceland and Nepal.

We used to brag about how many people saw our posts in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Last month, we reached 345,000 in those three cities. But now, our top 45 cities include London; Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton in Canada; Chennai and Bangalore in India; and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide in Australia.

UCubed reached as many folks in London as it did in Los Angeles (100,000) last month. At the lower end, we reached as many users in Adelaide as in Charlotte, NC (31,000).

Unfortunately, Facebook metrics limits us to the top 45 countries and cities. But it also shows us the 45 languages spoken. So we know that UCubed posts are being seen by 1,600 folks who list their primary language as Catalan, Persian and Estonian. All the way up to the 14.3 million English speakers and everything in between, including three versions of Chinese.

Again, who knew?

Last year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that 197 million people were unemployed worldwide and another 38 million had dropped out of the labor market. The ILO also tracks the rate of unemployment across the globe. From Mauritania at 30.9 percent in 2013 to Cambodia at .03 percent – yeah, right – their data depends on “published national sources.” And we know how accurate those national sources can be.

And yet, the simple fact is that a global jobs crisis exists.

That jobs crisis depresses local and national economic growth because those quarter billion people consume fewer goods and services. It depresses the individual because they become stigmatized by right-wing politicians and ignored by center- and left-wing ones. As their unemployment lingers indefinitely, they become more and more isolated from workplace colleagues, neighbors, friends and neighbors. They become chained to their fates.

Or, as President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

Perhaps, it is time to realize that “necessitous men” led the Arab Spring, drove the politics of India, Ireland and Italy, marched in Greece, Portugal and Spain, and seethed in Iran, Jordan, Turkey and Macedonia. And foremost among those “necessitous men” were the jobless women who stood up for themselves and their families.

But nowhere, not here in the United States nor in the Russian Federation, are the unemployed to be taken for granted. They are not accidental tourists. They are survivors whose scars run long and deep. And, like their grandparents and great grandparents from the Great Depression, their memories of being jobless will dictate their politics for decades to come.

So let’s hope that UCubed continues to reach across the globe. And that our message – Let’s make Democracy work for us – resonates on every continent.

In Unity — Strength,

Rick

Rick Sloan
UCubed President

 

Real Unemployment Rate – February 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has published their unemployment numbers for February 2014, stating the official unemployment rate increased to 6.7% from January’s figure of 6.6%.  And, as of February 28, 2014, based on a separate monthly survey of “households,” there were 10.5 million unemployed persons.

However, as we not each month, these BLS figures do NOT reflect real unemployment, because they do not include:

  • Marginally attached workers are workers who “while wanting and available for jobs, have not searched for work in the past four weeks but have searched for work in the past twelve months.”  Currently included among them are 0.8 million discouraged workers who did not look for work specifically because “they believe there are no jobs available or none for which they would qualify.”
  • Underemployed workers cannot find full-time jobs or have had their hours cut back.

In February 2014, the number of Real Unemployed Persons decreased by 137,000 to 19.9 million and the Real Unemployment Rate decreased by 0.1% to 12.6%.

NOTE: In addition to the total 19.9 million Real Unemployed Persons at February 28, there were another 3.8 million persons who, while also saying they want jobs, have not looked for work in the past twelve months.  Because they haven’t looked, these persons are not included among marginally attached workers; if they are included, then February’s Real Unemployment Rate of 12.6% increases to 14.7%.

 

 

PROFILES IN COWARDICE

February 12, 2014 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leaders:

You are on the cutting edge of a revolution in this country. No, I am not talking about the violent overthrow of a government. I am looking at the new way Americans can make their Democracy work for them.

This week, the GOP-led Congress passed a clean debt ceiling increase. It took the issue off the table until March 2015 and long after the midterm elections occur.

Why did they do that?

They were afraid of you. They were afraid of what you might do if they engaged in brinkmanship once again. They were afraid to compromise so they kicked returning veterans and the unemployed to the curb. And they were afraid that, with Democrats needing to win only 17 seats in the House, they could be booted from power.

So, they caved.

Only 28 GOP members voted to increase the debt ceiling. The rest were so scared of you that they may have soiled themselves casting “nays”.  They know that, if the Tea Party doesn’t tar and feather them in a primary, you will go after them in the general election.

For those GOP members are the same ones who cut off extended unemployment insurance, cut deeply into food stamps and voted against every jobs bill since they voted to bail out Big Banks in 2008. They shafted the weakest among us and sucked-up to the most powerful because that made them feel invincible.

And yet, their profiles in cowardice mark them for what they really are. They are frightened little men and a few women whose self-doubts and self-loathing are masked by fancy but empty suits, makeup for high definition TV and perfectly coifed hair. And, like ventriloquists’ dummies, they are mere mouthpieces for the powerful interest that own them lock, stock and barrel.

They are running scared. And with good reason – they are afraid of you!

In unity – strength,

Rick

Rick Sloan
UCubed President

 

 

‘Full Employment Caucus’ Looks to Tackle Unemployment

February 4, 2014 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

A group of legislators led by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) announce the new Full Employment Caucus in Congress to help end the high rate of unemployment.

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson says everyone on her street had a job when she was a little girl growing up in 1950s Miami.

“But nowadays, there’s a brand new community and there are people down the street who lost their jobs,” said Wilson.

Wilson and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) were announcing the creation of the first-ever “Full Employment Caucus.” Watch the Machinists News Network video of the announcement on Capitol Hill by clicking here.

The pair says the new caucus will give members of Congress a platform to propose legislation, like the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act (H.R. 1000), to end the unemployment crisis.

The task won’t be easy. They say 24 million new jobs are needed to end the unacceptably high rate of unemployment and underemployment.

“One of the primary vehicles and pathways out of poverty is a job,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). “That’s what people want. People don’t want to have to rely on food stamps, Section 8 or Medicaid. People want a job.”

Click here to watch “Full Employment Caucus Established in Congress.”

 

 

 

Real Unemployment Numbers for December 2013

January 10, 2014 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

The official Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from November’s figure of 7.0%, with the decline almost entirely the result of people leaving the workforce.  They state that as of December 31, 2013 (based on a separate monthly survey of households, there were on 10.4 million unemployed persons.

However, the BLS does not include among unemployed persons workers who are either  marginally-attached workers or are underemployed.

If included the summary of Real Unemployment for December 2013:

  • The number of Real Unemployed Persons decreased by 111,000 to 20.6 million
  •  The Real Unemployment Rate decreased by 0.1% to 13.1%.

 

 

 

Reach Out

December 19, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leaders:

The malls are filled with glitter and gift boxes. The mail contains flashy cards and sales catalogues.  Every newspaper and television show touts the extravagances available to the wealthiest among us.

And yet, these are the longest nights and toughest days of the year for the unemployed and underemployed. They cannot escape the commercialization of the Holiday Season. Nor can they block out the anxieties and doubts they feel as they look towards the New Year.

So, reach out to them. Give them the one gift that cannot be purchased online or in any story – the gift of your friendship. Let them know that you know how hard it is to be looking for work right now. Let them know that they are not alone. Let them know their fight is your fight, too.

Each life you touch will never forget your thoughtfulness. More than you will ever know, that one act can pierce even the darkest of nights and illuminate what is truly invaluable in these tough times.

In unity – strength,

Rick

Rick Sloan
UCubed President

 

 

 

Decision Time

December 9, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Joyce Sheppard

Dear UCubed Leader:

Next year, America’s NOT Working Class faces two tough decisions.

To vote or not to vote is the first decision. If past is prologue, 40 million fewer  Americans will vote in 2014 than in 2012. Many of those non-voters will hail from the NOT working class precincts.

By sitting on the sidelines, those non-voters accept the status quo – an unending jobs crisis and massive, structural unemployment – as the new normal.

However, if even one-tenth of those 40 million non-voters revolted and voted against this dysfunctional Congress, they could produce a political tsunami. A wave election, led by jobless households, could sweep away the obstacles to a full-blown jobs program and faster growth policies.

And that brings us to the second decision. Do we throw all the bums out? Or do we just throw some of them out?

Right now, polls indicate that voters want to throw them all out. More than four-fifths feel that way. Far fewer feel that their own representative or senators should be tossed out of office.

Tea Partying incumbents rely on that split decision. “Congress is awful,” they say, “but I’m okay” when, in fact, they ARE the problem. Their failure to problem solve in times of crisis, their unwillingness to compromise, their votes to obstruct every jobs bill and their demands for greater austerity prove they do not deserve re-election.

After seven years of recession and a molasses slow recovery, every Tea Party beholdened incumbent should be held accountable. So ask them one question:

What have you done for me recently?

If you are not satisfied with their answer, then make plans to vote twice next year, once in the primary and once in the general election. Then push and prod your friends to go vote. And let them know why you feel that your elected officials have failed you and your family.

That’s how we make democracy work for all of us.

In Unity — Strength,

Rick

Rick Sloan
UCubed President

 

 

 

Real Unemployment Rate – November 2013

December 9, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has published their unemployment numbers for November 2013,  stating the official unemployment rate fell to 7.0% from October’s figure of 7.3%.  And, as of November 30, 2013, based on a separate monthly survey of “households,” there were 10.9 million unemployed persons.

However, as we not each month, these BLS figures do NOT reflect real unemployment, because they do not include:

  • Marginally attached workers are workers who “while wanting and available for jobs, have not searched for work in the past four weeks but have searched for work in the past twelve months.”  Currently included among them are 0.9 million discouraged workers who did not look for work specifically because “they believe there are no jobs available or none for which they would qualify.”
  • Underemployed workers cannot find full-time jobs or have had their hours cut back.

Making the adjustments necessary to determine the number of real unemployed persons and the real unemployment rate:

  • The number of real unemployed persons decreased by 883,000 to 20.7 million.
  • The real unemployment rate decreased by 0.6% to 13.2%.

 

 

Unemployment Levels are in a ‘Headlong Race Back to the Past’

December 6, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Washington, D.C., December 5, 2013 – The Union of Unemployed (UCubed) warns the U.S. jobs crisis is a 35-year step in the wrong direction.

“Since the Great Recession started, 12.2 million Americans have left the labor force,” said Rick Sloan, UCubed President. “Some retired. Some retired prematurely. Some looked for a job for so long and with so little success that they gave up. Finding no jobs in their field, some tried grad school or a certificate program. Some became stay-at-home moms or dads. And some became unpaid caregivers to family members.

“But whatever the reason, this exodus from the labor force was unprecedented. Not since 1978 have so many Americans been out of the labor force on a percentage basis.

“We’re racing headlong back to the past.”

With over 163,000 activists who regularly connect with over 46 million Facebook friends, UCubed represents a significantly rising demographic of unemployed and underemployed Americans. UCubed was created to provide a structure for jobless individuals to take political, economic and social advantage of their growing numbers.

 

 

 

What We Owe Democracy

November 26, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leader:

“We in America do not have government by the majority,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote. “We have government by the majority who participate.”

Today we are a nation of 314 million people. And the majority who participate numbered 66 million – that was President Obama’s winning vote total in 2012. Two years earlier, the majority who participate tallied 45 million votes – that was the number of votes cast for GOP congressional candidates. 1

So, one in five Americans produced the victor in the 2012 presidential race. One in seven of us put John Boehner in control of the Congress. And we wonder why our Democracy is so dysfunctional?

We need look no further than the mirror. Some of us are addicted to voting, and carry the burden of those who opt out of our Democracy. Some do the absolute minimum by participating once every four years. And others couldn’t care less.

Jefferson, ever the sage, believed that lethargy was “the forerunner of death to the public liberty.” He understood that:

“The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive.”

And, writing in 1787 as other politicians fretted about Shays Rebellion, he concluded his letter by asking “what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?”

In 2014 midterm elections, 40 million registered voters will see no value in voting. Even in the next presidential contest, more than 50 million voting-age Americans will refuse even to register or vote.

So, perhaps the concept of our civic duty must expand. We owe democracy more than our own votes. We owe it an effort to corral non-voters, register them and encourage them to vote. Taken one step further, our civic duty should include informing them of the facts of our political life.

Jefferson relied on private letters and friendly newspapers to convey his message. With the advent of social media, we can – with a click – help our friends stay well informed.

It is the least we can do.

In unity – Strength,

Rick

Rick Sloan
UCubed President

1. In 2012, Democratic congressional candidates won 60 million votes to 58.5 million votes for their opponents. Due to gerrymandering, the GOP continued to control the House of Representatives.