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AFSCME's New and Young Members United in Demanding Jobs, Not Cuts

by Kate Childs Graham and Pablo Ros  |  February 01, 2013

AFSCME's New and Young Members United in Demanding Jobs, Not Cuts Day of Action participants in Arkansas.
AFSCME Under 35 Members United in Demanding Jobs, Not Cuts Day of Action participants in Wisconsin.

In recent months, no matter what news we watch, no matter what news we read, we’ve heard about the showdown on Capitol Hill over the budget. Corporate-backed politicians are standing in the way of any reasonable solution to fix our economy.  Instead, they propose cuts to Social Security, cuts to Medicare and cuts to Medicaid.

We want jobs, not cuts. We want the richest two percent of Americans to pay their fair share, not cuts. We want closed loopholes for corporations, not cuts.

Now, across the country, union members and allies are mobilizing online and at their congressional district offices to send their representatives that message.

This week AFSCME asked its members under the age of 35 – AFSCME’s Next Wave – to participate in a coordinated online effort called a Thunderclap. Think of it as an online flash mob. Nearly 6,000 participated with a combined social reach of more than 1.5 million. Thousands of messages of support were posted automatically to Facebook and Twitter. They read:

We need #JobsNotCuts. Don't cut Social Security/Medicare/Education. Make corporations & top 2% pay their fair share.

We also held a Next Wave “teletownhall” in which 16,000 young AFSCME members under the age of 35 participated, and got a chance to talk with Sec.-Treas. Laura Reyes about the importance of protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“More than six million people under 35 are unemployed and many of them rely on programs like Medicaid just to make ends meet,” Reyes told call participants. “If Congress cuts Medicaid, millions would be at risk of losing life-saving home care and millions more young people will be at risk of losing health care.”

A poll of call participants found that a large majority (86 percent) are counting on Medicare and Social Security to be around when they retire, and 80 percent say their family is concerned about cuts to Medicare.

This week, thousands more are attending more than 100 events across the country in a National Day of Action—led by the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, ATF and HCAN with the help of other partner organizations. Events include a meeting with Congressman Gary Peters in Detroit, leafleting in Indianapolis, rallying in West Palm Beach and more. Find an event near you. If there isn’t one, plan your own.

It’s going to take all our voices to end this showdown.

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