Washington, DC • August 2010

Our nation stands at a critical crossroads. The 30-year drive for a low-wage, high-consumption society that imports more and more of what it consumes has hit the wall. Millions are unemployed, with little recovery in sight. A record number of Americans who want desperately to work have been jobless for more than 6 months. At the same time, Wall Street continues to roll up big profits.

Banks and corporations have made off with trillions of public dollars, while small businesses can’t get loans and cities are being forced to make cuts to public education and public safety, harming our children and our communities.

Obstructionists in Congress are doing everything they can to stop anything that helps working people, and they are scapegoating workers for the demise of the economy. Public sector workers are being cast as selfish, auto workers are being blamed for the troubles of the auto industry, and teachers are being blamed for an education system in need of support.

Working people are frustrated and angry—incensed by the government’s inability to halt massive job loss and declining living standards on the one hand, and the comparative ease with which Republicans in Congress, with help from some Democrats, have done their best to make the world safe again for JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup, on the other. Just as we have seen through history, fear mongers in our country have seized on that anger and are working hard -- unfortunately with some success--to use justifiable anger about a failing economy to divide us.

We have to fight this hateful demagoguery that only benefits our foes, and we can’t do it alone. History has taught us that the best way to fight the forces of hatred is to address the economic policies that led to our economic suffering, and that our fight must draw its strength from an alliance of the poor and the middle class—everyone who works for a living. 

It is against this backdrop that we join ONE NATION.

ONE NATION is a multi-racial, civil and human rights movement whose mission is to reorder our nation’s priorities to invest in our nation’s most valuable resource – our people. The organizations that have come together to form ONE NATION believe that our goal should be a future of shared prosperity, not stubborn unemployment and a lost generation. Workers should be able to share in the wealth they create, and everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve the American Dream – a secure job; the chance for our children to get a great public education and the opportunity to make their own way in the world; and laws that protect us, not oppress us.

ONE NATION is a long-term effort to reverse the dangerous economic course of our country over the past four decades. It brings together organizations from across the progressive spectrum—labor, civil rights, environmental, faith and many others—recognizing that none of us alone have been able to achieve our priorities, whether they are large-scale job creation, labor law reform, immigration reform, investing in public education or other concerns, and that we will not realize change until these priorities belong to all of us.

ONE NATION shares the labor movement’s policy agenda: An economy that works for all; good jobs, fair jobs, safe jobs, and more jobs; reforming Wall Street; repairing our immigration system; quality education for every child; and ensuring that everyone in America has the opportunity to contribute to and strengthen our country. Restoring workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively is at the heart of the policy agenda.

The ONE NATION march on Washington on October 2, 2010 will charge up an army of tens of thousands of activists who will return to their neighborhoods, churches, schools and, especially, voting booths, with new energy to enact our common agenda. And on the same day, the labor movement will walk door-to-door in targeted states around the country, bringing the same message to union members exactly one month before the fall elections.

The march aims to bring working people, young people, retirees, civil rights activists and many others together on the Mall to show the obstructionists in Congress that we are many and diverse, strong and that united—and we will fight together for the American Dream.

Many of our unions are already committed to work as a part of ONE NATION. The unions of the AFL-CIO proudly join this coalition and pledge to work collectively to add our support to this great effort.

Working people can make a difference when we rely on ourselves and act collectively. We are America. And together we can make our voices heard.