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To Improve the Lives of Working Families… Building Power to Transform the Labor Market NAACP National Convention Steven C. Pitts, Ph.D. UC Berkeley Labor.

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Presentation on theme: "To Improve the Lives of Working Families… Building Power to Transform the Labor Market NAACP National Convention Steven C. Pitts, Ph.D. UC Berkeley Labor."— Presentation transcript:

1 To Improve the Lives of Working Families… Building Power to Transform the Labor Market NAACP National Convention Steven C. Pitts, Ph.D. UC Berkeley Labor Center July 25, 2011

2 The Economic Situation… Since June 2009, Black unemployment rates have remained stubbornly high Since June 2009, Black unemployment rates have remained stubbornly high This jobless distress reflects the continued racial dimension of the labor market and the overall weak labor market This jobless distress reflects the continued racial dimension of the labor market and the overall weak labor market Attempts to solve the todays Black job crisis must address institutional racism in the labor market and push for full employment fiscal and monetary policies Attempts to solve the todays Black job crisis must address institutional racism in the labor market and push for full employment fiscal and monetary policies

3 The Political Situation… Certain political forces are dead set on radically reducing the role of government in assisting everyday people in achieving their basic needs and a decent living standard Certain political forces are dead set on radically reducing the role of government in assisting everyday people in achieving their basic needs and a decent living standard Other forces, due to their pragmatism and/or lack of commitment to defending the basic values that have driven progressive political action for the last century, have acceded ground to the former forces Other forces, due to their pragmatism and/or lack of commitment to defending the basic values that have driven progressive political action for the last century, have acceded ground to the former forces

4 Recovery?!?!?!?... What Recovery!!!!!

5 Black Unemployment Rate: 16+ December 2007 December 2007 –9.0% June 2009 June 2009 –14.9% June 2011 June 2011 –16.2%

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7 Black Unemployment Rate: December 2007 December 2007 –33.1% June 2009 June 2009 –39.0% June 2011 June 2011 –39.9%

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9 Black Unemployment Rate: Females, 20+ December 2007 December 2007 –6.6% June 2009 June 2009 –11.7% June 2011 June 2011 –13.8%

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11 Black Unemployment Rate: Males, 20+ December 2007 December 2007 –8.2% June 2009 June 2009 –16.3% June 2011 June 2011 –17.0%

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13 The Great Recession: the Job Loss 8.7 Million Jobs 8.7 Million Jobs 6.3% of all jobs in the economy 6.3% of all jobs in the economy

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15 Overall Employment-Population Rate: 16+ December 2007 December 2007 –62.7% June 2009 June 2009 –59.4% June 2011 June 2011 –58.2%

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17 What is to be done? …some thoughts on solutions

18 Overview… The historical problem: persistence institutional racism in the labor market The historical problem: persistence institutional racism in the labor market Policy advocacy without power results in weak policies Policy advocacy without power results in weak policies The need to build institutions that can transform power dynamics in the labor market The need to build institutions that can transform power dynamics in the labor market

19 We focus on supporting individuals in the job market (job training; job search) We focus on supporting individuals in the job market (job training; job search) …but in a labor market shaped by …but in a labor market shaped by –Institutional racism –Employer dominance over workers –Global economic change …the individual approach results in declining working conditions for most workers racial discrimination for Blacks and other workers of color …the individual approach results in declining working conditions for most workers racial discrimination for Blacks and other workers of color

20 We need to support and build… Unions Unions Black worker centers Black worker centers Workforce development intermediaries (training academies linked to good jobs) Workforce development intermediaries (training academies linked to good jobs) Unemployment committees/councils Unemployment committees/councils Durable progressive coalitions to fight for job access and good jobs Durable progressive coalitions to fight for job access and good jobs


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