November, 2010. The Sustainable Jobs Action Team is on the verge of successfully completing a community campaign to sign up 100 homes for energy efficiency improvements in the Cully neighborhood, entitled Changing the Climate in Cully. As of this writing, 193 homeowners in the Cully community have taken the first step of applying for the program - 85% of the Team's goal of 225!
November, 2010. On November 10th, over 200 people from Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG) and affiliated organizations in Clackamas and Multnomah county gathered at the International Union of Operating Engineers 701 Union hall in Gladstone. People came to hear about the progress of the MACG three house pilot project to provide economical and supportive post-emergency housing for survivors of domestic violence.
October 2010. -- Working with State Treasurer James McIntire, Sound Alliance leaders have helped to secure a commitment from Bank of America to create two homeownership service centers, the first of the kind in Washington state. The centers will bring two full-time loan servicing representatives to the state to meet face-to-face with Bank of America homeowners who are trying to save their homes.
November, 2010. By Bob Brown, Havurah Shalom. Health care reform continues to be an important topic within our institutions. We did a lot of education and work around Oregon reform. Subsequently, Congress passed Federal reform that reinforces our State plans for universal coverage by 2015. But we need to be vigilant.
Thank you to all who helped make the Changing the Climate in Cully Ice Cream Social Kick-Off Event last Thursday a resounding success! We had over 250 people attend the event. Click here to read a Press Release written for the occasion.
June, 2010. MACG is pleased to announce that we have been selected to organize the Cully Neighborhood in NE Portland for the Clean Energy Works Portland home energy efficiency program! MACG and Cully Neighborhood Leaders have named the project “Changing the Climate in Cully” to recognize that making energy efficiency improvements to a large number of homes (100) within one neighborhood:
October, 2009. A history of the Spokane Alliance's green jobs efforts and the launching of SustainableWorks, a green jobs non-profit.
Jenny Vercruyssen, high school student, recognizes from personal experience how hard it is to choose between taking care of children and needing to bring home pay. "My mom is a perfect example of the reason we need earned sick and safe leave to support families"
Lisa Fairbanks-Rossi, substitute teacher and member of Fuse Washington, describes the horrible feeling of being forced to work sick. "On the best of days, substitute teaching at full health capacity with ample coffee on board, particularly in lower, high-energy grade levels like kindergarten can be nightmarish. Add to that the dizzy heavy head, runny nose and profuse sweating and it feels like one of those bad school playground dreams. But REAL."
Ed Reese, founder of Sixth Man Marketing and member of Fuse Washington, has deployed an "extreme" sick leave policy, encouraging employees to stay home even if they are slightly sick as to not infect others. "But as careful as we are to mitigate illness by staying home when sick, we put ourselves (and our business) at risk by coming into contact with people who are required (or feel undue pressure) to come to work sick. Whether they’re food service workers, day care providers, or anyone else in Spokane that we come in contact with that comes to work sick, it puts our business at risk."
Tara Lee, a pediatric nurse and member of Fuse Washington, and her daughter Jadyn talk about how scary it can be for a sick child to be in a hospital without their parents, due to lack of paid sick leave. "When I was 9 I spent 4 nights in the hospital with pneumonia. It was really scary and I was so glad that my mom and dad both had paid sick leave so that one of them could be with me in the hospital the whole time. My mom has told me about really little kids who have to be alone in the hospital and that makes me sad. It must be very scary for them when their mom or dad have to leave them alone to go to work."
Nikki Lockwood, mother, community volunteer, and member of Fuse Washington, counters the argument that certain jobs are "just entry-level" and don't warrant sick leave benefits. "Spokane has recently been noticed for its high quality restaurant offerings and certainly the restaurant workers are part of that. People are raising families with these types of jobs...[another man I know] has worked for a car repair chain for 25 years and does not get earned sick leave...There are a diversity of reasons people hold these jobs and they should be valued for the role they play in our economy."
Tine Reese, founder of the non profit Bloom Spokane and member of Fuse Washington, speaks of the benefits of sick leave to families and our economy. "The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without a national paid sick days policy, estimated to cost the U.S. economy $180 billion annually."