Sponsored by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and Greater New Jersey CLUW
Marking an innovative new approach on how to address our state and nation’s economic challenges, New Jersey’s unions held their first ever “Common Sense Economics” training yesterday at the Rutgers Labor Education Center in New Brunswick. A class of a dozen union members took part in the inaugural training, gaining transferrable knowledge and actionable tools to make our unions more effective and to achieve constructive economic reforms at all levels of government.
The curriculum, which was designed by the national AFL-CIO, guides trainees in understanding why the economy is the way that it is, and how adverse conditions are not a matter of chance but are rather the result of a coordinated political agenda.
Corporate interests have poured trillions of dollars into building political capital and influencing policies. Their impact has been clear. It is now easier than ever for businesses to ship jobs overseas, exploit labor at home and abroad, suppress wages, cut benefits, silence workers, undermine working conditions, abuse the tax code, and tilt the overall economy in their favor. As a result, corporate profits have soared, wages and benefits have declined, despite rising productivity, and income inequality continues to skyrocket.
The fact is that through common sense economic reforms, a better system is possible. By restoring balance to the labor/management relationship, workers will be able to share fairly in the profits they help to create and achieve a middle class standard of living. As history shows, our economy is at its best when average workers are able to prosper. Businesses are better off because consumers have more money to spend. Taxpayers benefit from a reduced reliance on public assistance programs. Students will also face fewer obstacles to achieving their academic goals. The list goes on and on.
Through the Common Sense Economics program, students become the trainers, and those trainers create even more trainers, who will continue to spread knowledge and awareness throughout the labor movement and broader community. We thank the unions who made this first training such an outstanding success. We look forward to joining with all of our community partners to renew our fight for an economy that works for all of us.