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Coalition steps up campaign for a People's Bailout

by staff |
January 2, 2009
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Minnesota - A broad coalition has formed to demand that the Minnesota legislature take concrete steps to protect low-income and working Minnesotans from the effects of the snowballing economic crisis. The Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bail Out brings together union members, welfare rights organizations and others.

The coalition will hold a rally on Tuesday, Jan. 6 at noon on the State Capitol front steps on the opening day of the Minnesota legislature.

The coalition advocates legislation that would provide income and jobs to the unemployed, a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions from foreclosures and measures to prevent layoffs to public employees.

Deb Konechne, a spokesperson for the Coalition said, “If taken by the legislature, these steps would constitute real change that protects low-income and working people in Minnesota.”

“The banks and corporations are getting a bail out. We need a bailout for poor and working Minnesotans,” said Konechne. Deb Konechne is also a leader of the Welfare Rights Committee.

Coalition leaders vow to combat attempts to balance the budget on the backs of poor and working people and will oppose any attacks on undocumented immigrant workers.

States Phyllis Walker, President, AFSCME Local 3800, “The leaders of the state legislature and have joined Governor Pawlenty in calling for massive cuts in the state budget, cuts targeted directly against low-income people. We are going to the capitol with to make it clear that working people are not the cause of the present crisis and we should not be the victims.”

The January 6th protest is being called in support of a program that includes:

    * Jobs or income now!
    * Extend unemployment benefits for all.
    * Make more workers eligible for unemployment benefits.
    * Create a public works program that puts people to work now.
    * Place a moratorium on the 5-year time limit for public assistance.
    * No cuts to programs that serve working and low-income people!
    * Place a moratorium on home foreclosures
    * No evictions for renters in foreclosed buildings
    * No attacks on immigrants!
    * Protect public education. No tuition hikes!
    * No one in Minnesota should be cold or hungry!
    * No layoffs.
    * No attacks on wages; no layoffs for state and University of MN workers
    * Tax the rich, make them pay for the crisis

Coalition members say that they will not only focus on the state legislature, but will take the campaign for a People’s Bailout to other forums as well in the months ahead.

“We will be going to city councils, sheriff foreclosure sales, housing court and the streets to do whatever can be done to defend the interests of working people in Minnesota against the onslaught of budget cuts and attacks on needed services,” said Deb Konechne.

“Only with the largest mobilization of working people, trade unionists, students, low-income people and others can the current political agenda of cut backs and attacks on living standards be changed to one that puts the burden of the current economic crisis where it belongs, on the corporations, the politicians and those who have made super profits while real wages and living standards have remained stagnant,” said Mick Kelly, of the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bail Out.