UCubed News

Being a Patient

November 20, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Joyce Sheppard

At the height of the Great Recession in 2009, nearly three-fifths (57%) of adults who were unemployed and looking for work were uninsured.  Things have not gotten appreciably better for the jobless since then.

UCubed estimates that 12 of the 21.6 million real unemployed Americans are also uninsured. And insuring the uninsured was – and remains – the primary goal of Affordable Care Act.

In spite of the website launch failures, UCubed urges the unemployed to go to www.healthcare.gov. Give it a try. If it doesn’t work at first, try, try again. And then keep trying some more.

Living without health insurance can shorten your life. It can lead to massive medical debts if you or a family member does get sick. It can increase your taxes once the individual mandate kicks in in 2014.

The Affordable Care Act offers unemployed and underemployed Americans what they so badly need: subsidized health insurance.

According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the premium subsidies of the Affordable Care Act are “offered on a sliding scale basis and will limit the cost of the premium.”  The actual premium depends on the federal poverty line and family size.

The Labor Center at UC Berkley has a nifty tool to find out what your premium would be: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/healthpolicy/calculator/

A single person with an income up to the federal poverty line ($15,282 in 2013) would be eligible for Medicaid. A single person with an income up to $17,235 would pay a premium of $690 per year. A family of three with income up to $39,000 would pay a premium of $2,461 per year.

So what are you waiting for? Go check out www.healthcare.gov.

Being patient with a clunky website is far better than being a patient without any health insurance.




What Democracy Owes Us

November 19, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Joyce Sheppard

Dear UCubed Leaders:

During his first inaugural address in 1801, President Thomas Jefferson listed “the essential principles of our government” as:

“Equal and exact justice to all men… peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none… the support of the State governments in all their rights… the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor… a jealous care of the right of election by the people… absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority… a well-disciplined militia… the supremacy of the civil over the military authority… economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened… the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith… encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid… the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason… freedom of religion… freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus… and trial by juries impartially selected.”

Jefferson reminded his listeners that those principles “should be the creed of our political faith; the text of civic instruction; the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps, and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety.”

The era of Jeffersonian Democracy had begun.

And yet, Jefferson’s sixteen principles are mere abstractions. Unless each new generation takes concrete steps towards achieving equal and exact justice… honest friendships with all nations… care of the right of election… preservation of the public faith… and the other dozen ideals, our forward progress as a nation comes to a screeching halt. Our pathway to a more perfect Union remains strewn with imperfections large and small.

However, with the active engagement of the American people, we have made considerable progress over the last two centuries.  We can continue this progress, but the cost is higher than we care to admit.

In our Democracy, we must both pay back and pay forward. We owe more than a debt of gratitude to prior generations who fought and died for those principles; we owe them our commitment to finishing their unfinished work. To our grandchildren and great grandchildren, we owe a courageous effort to preserve, protect and perfect those principles as best we can.

What Democracy owes us is an opportunity to govern ourselves. What we do with that opportunity is entirely up to us.

In Unity — Strength,


Rick Sloan
UCubed President





Good People

November 12, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leader:

In the next few weeks, the Union of Unemployed will pivot to a new campaign. Called America’s NOT Working Class, it will focus on the unemployed, underemployed and those who have left the workforce, yet still want to work. These jobless Americans are the core of a new working class that cannot find work.

But our view of America’s NOT Working Class is more expansive. It includes retirees whose pensions are now at risk and students whose loans act as sea anchors on their careers. It includes today’s working class – white, black and brown – because their fates are so closely intertwined with their friends and family members who still cannot find work.

An old friend once introduced me to his neighbors and quickly added, “They’re good people.” In a working class neighborhood, that was the highest compliment ever paid.

So, we seek to build a coalition of the good people who need jobs to match their skills, fair wages to feed their families, an even chance to live the dream and leaders who give a damn about their lives.

Over the next year, this broader coalition of America’s NOT Working Class will have but one goal: Make Democracy work again for all of us. It will emphasize the basic responsibilities of our Democracy to its citizens, including the right to a job, and the duties citizens have to our Democracy.

Active engagement and informed voting are but two of those duties. In an era where civic disengagement and vanishing voters present real threats to Democracy, we will be advocating for the exact opposite. More active engagement using social media and higher voter turnout, particularly in off-year elections, will be our answer to those who can win only when the good people remain silent and then stay home on Election Day.

You are good people. If we stick together, and work together, we can make our Democracy work for all of us.

In unity — strength,


Rick Sloan
UCubed President




UCubed on Jobs Report: ‘How Long Will This Continue?’

November 8, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Washington, D.C., November 8, 2013 – The Union of Unemployed (UCubed) warns lawmakers about their continued complacency towards the 21.6 million unemployed and underemployed Americans indicated in today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics full unemployment report.

“Another month, another indictment of America’s political leadership,” said UCubed President Rick Sloan. “How long will they allow this nearly jobless recovery to continue?

“The employed to population ratio now stands at 58.3. More than 40 percent of Americans of working age belong to the NOT working class.

“Their lives are diminished with each passing day. America’s NOT working class is seething at the lack of jobs. And they will vote against those who seek to delay or obstruct their return to work for partisan advantage.”

With over 162,000 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. For more information, visit www.UnionofUnemployed.com.



Real Unemployment Numbers

October 22, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has published their unemployment numbers for September 2013. The BLS-defined official unemployment rate declined to 7.2% from August’s figure of 7.3%.

However, as we note each month, these particular BLS figures do not reflect Real Unemployment, since as a core principle BLS counts only those persons who are actively looking for employment. 

BLS does not include among unemployed persons (i.e., the ‘numerator’) the 10.2 million workers in total who are either “marginally attached” or “part-time-of-necessity.” 

Marginally attached workers, of whom there are now 2.3 million, 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.”

Part-time-of-necessity workers, of whom there are now 7.9 million, are workers unable to find full-time jobs or who’ve had their hours cut back.  These workers are often referred to as the “underemployed.”

The Real Unemployment Rate adjusts to include those, in order to determine the number of Real Unemployed Persons and the Real Unemployment Rate.

The number of Real Unemployed Persons decreased by 86,000 to 21.5 million

The Real Unemployment Rate decreased by 0.06% to 13.6%.



The Equal Rights Amendment

October 21, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leader:

What ever happen to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), the one that guarantees men and women equality under the law?

It’s in limbo. Thirty-five states ratified the ERA Amendment in the 1970s. Supporters needed to convince three more states to ratify it. But that never happened. Time ran out, interest waned.

Today a young actress, Kamala Lopez, is awakening a new generation to the fact that they don’t have equal rights. Most young women (and men) think otherwise. So, her ERA Education Project has developed a series of videos that are as imaginative as they are instructive.

What are the economic costs of sexual discrimination?

On average, women make 22 to 41 percent less than men; their pension benefits are half as large; and their health care insurance costs more. Over a lifetime, such economic inequality can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income.

But sexual discrimination in the workplace is not new. Neither is discrimination in state and federal statutes. In fact, state-sponsored discrimination in probate law, domestic relations, adoptions and custody, insurance, finance, health care and education produces some of the most egregious examples of unequal treatment that can be found.

Those discriminatory practices can be ended by embedding the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.  All it takes is three more states.

After 225 years of being second-class citizens, don’t you think our mothers, sisters and daughters deserve equality under the law?

In Unity — Strength,


Rick Sloan
UCubed President


Coup d’Etat

October 16, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leaders:

A small group of disgruntled leaders order their followers to shut down government offices, take over the television and radio stations, and surround the presidential residence. Then they initiate talks to see if the crisis can be ended – but only on their terms.

Sound familiar? It should. It happened in Egypt on July 3rd.

It is called a coup d’etat. And until now, there has only been one coup in the United States.

In Wilmington, NC, voters elected a biracial government on November 8, 1898. Two days later white supremacists burned the offices of the Daily Record, an African-American newspaper, marched into Brooklyn, a majority-black neighborhood, and began killing indiscriminately.

Led by Alfred Moore Waddell, a former Member of Congress and losing Democratic candidate for governor, the mob then “forced the white Republican Mayor Silas P. Wright and other members of the city government (both black and white) to resign.” According to the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission Report, a self-installed city council selected Waddell as mayor.

The coup d’etat in Wilmington is a cautionary tale at many levels. Racial hatred, partisan politics and overweening ambition all played a part. But the lightning speed of the descent from incendiary rhetoric to mob rule should be lost on no one.

Not now. Not ever.

On October 5th, the New York Times reported that “shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy.”

They produced a “little-noticed blueprint to defunding Obamacare… [that] articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy… [that] could derail the health care overhaul if conservative leaders were willing to push fellow Republicans – including their cautious leaders – into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.”

That blueprint was endorsed by 46 of the biggest names in the Tea Party-wing of the Republican Party. And, for the last eight months, they worked under the radar screens to turn that blueprint into reality. They have shut down government offices, filled the airwaves with incendiary rhetoric, encircled the Nation’s capital with truck convoys, stacked barricades around the White House and demanded that this crisis end – but only on their terms.

The Tea Party may call it a blueprint. I would call it an attempted coup d’etat.

Will it succeed?  In some ways, it already has. But how it plays out over the next few months really depends on you.

If you love your country and revere our Experiment in Democracy, let your President, Vice President, Senators and Member of Congress know. Tell them you believe in majority rule – always have, always will.

Click here to tell them to end this manufactured crisis by repudiating the Tea Party and V-O-T-I-N-G to reopen the government, raise the debt ceiling and start dealing with the real crisis our country faces, the jobs crisis.

In Unity — Strength,


Rick Sloan
UCubed President


What Do We Get?

October 8, 2013 in Hire Us America, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leader:

Few negotiations succeed if only one side comes to the table with a list of demands. When that happens, the dominant side says “no, no, no.” And the submissive side ends up negotiating with themselves, putting ever smaller demands forward and, essentially, begging for a face-saving resolution.

Sound familiar? It should. That’s the position the Congressional Republicans find themselves in. They’ve gone out on strike and partially shut down the government. The White House refuses to negotiate. So, McConnell’s Navy keeps tossing proposals on the table – defund Obamacare, pay government employees, fund NIH and Veterans Affairs – as if real negotiations were happening.

But it is all a kabuki dance. By now Mitch, John Boehner and Eric Cantor know this is all for show. Even their threat to prevent a vote on a clean debt ceiling is an exit strategy.

The bravado of the “strike vote” is ebbing away and a harsh reality is setting in. They’ll have to let the government reopen and accept, even grudgingly, whatever language the White House hands them – a six month continuing resolution, a half-trillion dollar increase in the debt ceiling and a few other gems.

If this was a labor dispute and management had the upper hand, then the “new contract” would contain language to keep peace on the shop floor. Management would tuck in a few objectives that it never openly disclosed. To get to this so-called win-win scenario, management would need labor’s votes. Often they would toss in a signing bonus or adjustments to the work rules as “sweeteners.”

So, in this instance, what do we get?

Cleaning up the mess McConnell’s Navy created will take Democratic votes. The leaders of the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses – Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid – should have a few “sweeteners” ready to jam down GOP throats.

At a minimum, those “sweeteners” should include a commitment to allow floor votes on President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act and Congressman John Conyers’ Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act. Perhaps then, we would get the second stimulus America’s jobless so desperately need.

In unity – strength,


Rick Sloan
UCubed President



October 3, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Dear UCubed Leader:

Last April the Union of Unemployed started poking fun at McConnell’s Navy. Our cartoons placed Mitch, John Boehner and Eric Cantor in the conning tower of the U-6, a World War II submarine.

That double metaphor – U-6 as the widest measure of unemployment and U-6 as the remorseless killing machine stalking our economy – may have been lost on some.

Not… any… more.

Now McConnell’s Navy is the laughing stock of the nation. Its cast of characters offers the perfect foils for late night comedians.

You want WHAT, Mitch? Delay Obamacare for a year as the exchanges open! Say WHAT, Eric? Write off the 65.9 million Americans who voted for President Obama! Are you NUTS, John? Shut down the government AND stop paying its bills!

But McConnell’s Navy isn’t joking. If they don’t get what they want, they threaten to torpedo our economy.  And that means the unemployed and underemployed will remain so until 2017 or longer.

So please share our cartoons with your friends. With our 44.2 million “friends of fans” on Facebook, UCubed could put this GOP-led cartoon Congress on notice that no incumbent is safe from our wrath.

In Unity — Strength,


Rick Sloan
UCubed President


UCubed’s Winners Circle

September 20, 2013 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

Check out the candidates who speak out for the jobless, see their pain and make plans for them to work again. Then help us get out the vote. Visit UCubed’s Facebook page  and LIKE and SHARE!