“In the world working people inhabit,
our infrastructure is collapsing,
our schools are laying off teachers,
our drinking water is barely potable,
our cities are facing bankruptcy, and
our public and private pension funds are nearing collapse.
We – consumers, students and homeowners – are loaded with crushing debt, but our real wages haven’t risen since the 1970s.”

Les Leopold, Runaway Inequality

PUBLIC NEED OVER CORPORATE GREED

Everyday working people just can’t seem to get ahead. We work longer and harder, and yet our wages remain stagnant, our cost of living continues to climb, and our families continue to struggle just to get by. Meanwhile, the top 1% and the very wealthy among us play by a very different set of rules, consolidating their wealth at the expense of the middle class.

Wall Street’s power and influence often thwarts progress on a range of social policies, putting corporate greed ahead of public need. Even when addressing some of our most basic needs on issues like public health, environmental protection, workers’ rights, and civil rights, good public policy with broad support is warped by narrow corporate interests. Time and time again, corporations have aligned with the very wealthy to prevent progress, on the minimum wage, earned sick time, chemical safety, environmental safeguards, and worker health initiatives, among other issues. The result is always the same: we lose, Wall Street and big banks win, and the gap between the wealthy and the middle class gets wider.

In partnership with The Labor Institute, NJEA, New Jersey Policy Perspective, and others, WEC is taking action by launching a new campaign focused on reversing runaway inequality, and putting public need before corporate greed. We are working closely with allies on a state-based plan to address the outsized power of corporations and big banks, and ending the financial strip mining of our economy by Wall Street firms. Together, we will build a broad-based alliance to connect existing statewide and local organizations in support of common goals, and to push a state-based policy agenda directly aimed at confronting corporate power in our state and reclaiming our economy. Wall Street’s greed is out of control, and we’re tired of it.

With Les Leopold, author of Runaway Inequality and director of The Labor Institute, WEC is coordinating a large education initiative. Our opposition is organized, well-funded, and extremely powerful. To challenge them, we must feed new activists into our movement and motivate them if we truly want to change the system. With this goal in mind, WEC will be hosting two sets of “Train-the-Trainer” sessions with Les Leopold, focused on giving organizers and activists the tools needed to challenge corporate power in our state.

Until we address the fundamental inequities in our system, powerful, moneyed interests will continue to limit or derail even the most basic and broadly supported public policy. We will continue to nibble at the edges, to be told there “just isn’t enough money” to provide clean water, safe environments and good jobs, unless we first rectify the structural issues which allow so few to have so much power and influence.

We need your passion, your voice, and your action. Join us in our alliance; understand what is happening to our economy and join the discussion about what can and should be done.

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“Runaway inequality is at the root of many of the problems we face, including the meteoric and disastrous rise of the financial sector, defunding of the public sector, environmental destruction, increased racial discrimination, the gender gap in wages and the rise of our mammoth prison population…if we share a clear understanding of runaway inequality – and the basic economic situation we face – we can begin to build a common, broad-based movement for fundamental economic justice that will take on America’s economic elites.”

Les Leopold, Runaway Inequality