Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Unemployed" and "Uninvolved"

Do you resemble the title to my blog post? I've spoken to many unemployed people lately and we have all come to the same conclusion - unemployed and uninvolved.

Tonight, I was directed to a blog on unemployment - From the Trenches World Report. There was an article about 99ers and Tier 5 Unemployment Remedies. Of course, I left a comment - in case you didn't see it, I'll post it here.

You are absolutely right about people hiding behind their computer screen afraid to come out and organize. I have written my blog on unemployment since June 2010, made a speech in Washington DC on 10/2/10 at the RFK Stadium Pre-Event sponsored by UCubed for jobs and unemployment extensions, called and met some of my federal legislators and have visited some of their offices. In addition, I have asked, begged and demanded to speak in front of a Senate Committee on Jobs, Unemployment Extensions, and Finance. Why? Because I'm educated, have tons of common sense, I have a LOT to say and of course, I'm UNEMPLOYED. They NEED to hear from us, the millions in the trenches.

Still there are only two of us (that I know of) in the Metro Denver area of the great state of Colorado that stand up and are heard. Although we are strong-willed, educated women, we are still unemployed, er, long term unemployed, and still don't have people joining in except from behind their monitors.

My friend writes for the Denver Unemployment Examiner, and I write a blog (http://survivingintherecession.blogspot.com). For your readers, please subscribe to this site and our sites too. We deal in FACT, there will be no speculation, no opinions, just the FACTS.

I have been in contact with many organizers and group leaders, we have come to the same conclusion - "unemployed and uninvolved". Perhaps the reason is that people are ashamed to tell others "I'm unemployed", other people are waiting for someone else to protest/argue/fight for them, then there are the ones who are simply rowing up the "River of Denial" with no oars. For those reading this - which one are you?

These are the same people who are in the same boat with me and millions of others. STAND UP AND BE HEARD! For those of you who don't believe it, there IS strength in numbers. I've been saying this all along, yet rarely does anyone contact me.

My friends and I are fighting for all of us - who else will stand up with us? Will it be YOU?

Articles and my comment can be found by clicking here. Browse around the site and read, then find a way or ask how YOU can help.

Remember our politicians were voted into office by US, they just didn't get placed there by another politician. They collect HUGE paychecks because of OUR votes that got them into office.


Flood their offices with phone calls, and faxes. Make sure they know who YOU are! STOP sitting behind your monitor and get involved with a group. If you don't know of any groups to join forces with, leave me a comment with the state where you reside, I'll find one for you! STOP being "uninvolved", the future you should be fighting for is YOUR FUTURE!




Sunday, November 14, 2010

This article is from the Denver Unemployment Examiner. You can find the links from the article by clicking here. To read other GREAT articles on unemployment, and jobs from this reporter - please click here.

Denverites - don't forget to jot down the phone number in the article and call in to Senators Bennet and Udall to voice your concerns and ask questions on unemployment and jobs!

Udall, Bennet to participate in "Nat'l Call-in Day to Extend U.I. Benefits"
  • November 13th, 2010 11:45 am MT

As part of the national campaign asking members of Congress to extend unemployment benefits, many efforts are underway, spearheaded by various organizations. It is very important for all unemployed - including, but not limited to the 99ers who have already exhausted all of their benefits.

To that end, the Colorado AFL-CIO has announced that on Tuesday, November 16, there is a 'National Call-In Day to Extend Unemployment Benefits" event in which you are invited - encouraged - to call Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and urge them to push forward legislation to extend federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). Given the name of this event (National Call-In Day to Extend Unemployment Benefits), I will make the suggestion that this is not exclusive to Colorado workers or AFL-CIO union members.

The notification received about this event, which I have included in its entirety below, states that individuals should call in and "Let them know your name, your union, where you are calling from, and urge them to vote to extend unemployment benefits." Please note, that if you are NOT a member of the AFL-CIO or a constituent union.

Working America is the NON-UNION or COMMUNITY AFFILIATE of the AFL-CIO: please identify yourself as a member of Working America.

Below is the entire text of the notice announcing this event:

As we approach the holiday season, we are mindful of all of our brothers and sisters out of work, and particularly those that have been enduring long periods of unemployment. For long weeks and months, so many workers have been searching for jobs that aren't there.

Last month, 14.8 million people were unemployed. Shockingly, 41.8 percent of them were jobless 27 weeks or longer.

Emergency unemployment insurance is a critical lifeline for the workers and their families hit hardest by this economy. But some lawmakers--many of the same ones that want to pass tax cuts for those making $250,000 a year--want to cut off emergency unemployment benefits. We need to speak up and make sure our Colorado elected officials get the message.

Tuesday, November 16, be part of the National Call-In Day to Extend Unemployment Benefits. Call (877) 662-2889 to speak with Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall. Let them know your name, your union, where you are calling from, and urge them to vote to extend unemployment benefits.

And today, send the message to Congress, by signing this petition.
Sign the petition: Tell Congress to extend emergency unemployment insurance now.

Let's flood the phone lines on Tuesday and make sure the message comes through loud and clear.

In Solidarity,
Mike Cerbo
Executive Director
Colorado AFL-CIO

I have written much about the efforts of Working America and the AFL-CIO and will repeat here: it is free to join Working America; this organization is a union for those in the community who are not formally a member of the AFL-CIO & other labor unions. Please join and please participate on Tuesday - and then signup to become a member of Working America.

I would also like to point out that I became aware of this event because I subscribe to the Working America blog, 'Mainstreet', the Colorado AFL-CIO newsletter/blog, as well as the AFL-CIO 'e-Activist Network' and AFL-CIO blog.

For those who wish to remain active - and participate in efforts to create jobs, stop outsourcing, extending UI benefits, and more, it is suggested and recommended that you also subscribe to these publications. You may be surprised to learn how many 'issues' you have in common with these groups who are fighting for middle class job restoration and safety net legislative measures.




Congressional Adventures

On Friday, November 12th, my friend, a writer for the Denver Unemployment Examiner and I took a trip around town to visit with our Senators and Congressperson. Additionally, the purpose was to deliver signed letters to each from "The American 99ers Union" encouraging each to "Vote YES - Extend Unemployment Insurance Beyond 99 weeks".

Upon arrival at Senator Michael Bennet's office, located just off the corner of 15th & Platt, in Denver, we were extremely disappointed to find the office CLOSED. We both signed the letter and then I, personally, wrote a hand written letter. We left both, with my business card included, under the door to be found by whoever entered the office first.

Here's the proof we were there:

As you can clearly see, the office was closed. WHO, we wondered, called the day after Veterans' Day a holiday? Seriously, is this what Senators are paid for - taking MORE vacation days?

Senator Mark Udall's office was closed too. We decided not to visit there, as I had already had "face time" with Senator Udall at a Democratic event.

We continued on to the WORKING AMERICA - Community Affiliate of the AFL-CIO office to see what was going on there.

As our travels continued, we found our way to Congressman Ed Perlmutter's office. Did any one of you know that Ed does a "government in grocery" meeting? You can find the information on his website. We dropped off "The American 99ers Union" letter and signed his book with our concerns. The gal at the front desk was nice enough to take our picture as proof that we were there.

Tomorrow, Monday, November 15th, there is a fax/email/call your representatives in Washington DC campaign. To help you in your efforts for this, there is a blog post titled "How to contact your Senators" please use that information. Don't forget to post messages on their facebook pages and tweet them all via Twitter!



Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Misadventures that Didn't Keep Us Down

After carefully planning out my journey to Washington DC via NYC. I was to fly on Southwest, rent a car from Enterprise and have the most rewarding stay in Staten Island, NY before heading out with two friends to Washington DC for the rally.

Starting out on 9/30/10 at 3:30am, my day started with a shuttle ride to the airport. My plane left DIA on time without a hitch, upon arrival in BWI (Baltimore Maryland to change planes) we were in for the shock of our lives. Our connecting flight to LGA (LaGuardia Airport) on Long Island had been canceled due to weather. The Southwest desks were crowded with people determined to get out to any destination near NY. My next available flight out was at 8:40am on 10/1/10.

After considering my options, which were rent a car and drive to NY, take a bus which would have landed me in Manhattan or postpone picking up my rental car at LaGuardia, getting a hotel room for the night and leaving on the next flight the next day. I opted for the hotel and departure on 10/1/10.

Please note that if you are ever on a flight that is canceled due to weather - your airline will NOT put you up in a hotel, it's your responsibility.

That night at the MicroTel, there was a shuttle provided to and from any local restaurant for dinner. Of course, I took advantage of that, then went back to my clean and comfortable room for a good nights sleep at 8pm. Made arrangements for a wake up call at 6am and a shuttle ride back to the airport to catch my 8:40am flight.

If being delayed overnight wasn't enough, to add insult, my flight was delayed further to 11:15am. Many exhausted people boarded the plane and as we departed BWI, I gave a clap of my hands in applause for the swift takeoff.

Arriving at LaGuardia, there was no problem in picking up the rental car then finding my way to my awaiting friends in Staten Island. Thank you to the person who invented GPS for the car! At 2pm, exhausted and stressed, I arrived, packed the car, loaded up my passengers and by 2:30pm we were on our way again. The drive from Staten Island to Washington DC was gorgeous. It was a bright and sunny day which was excellent for driving.

We arrived at our hotel at 6:30pm. The Washington Hilton is highly recommended for anyone staying in DC near Dupont Circle. We were greeted by the most helpful and efficient Hilton employees. Parking the car and checking in was a breeze.

In advance of our trip, we purchased discount certificates for close by restaurants. We highly recommend Maddy's Bar and Grill, the food and service were excellent and it's within walking distance of the Hilton.

Bright and early on 10/2/10, we were awake and showered, ready for the long day in DC. With directions in hand and the GPS set, we took off for the RFK Stadium where I would give my speech as a UCubed Jobs Activist at 9:15am.

On our way to the stadium, and going right along with the way my trip started, we had a flat tire on the rental car. At least we had arrived at our destination with 15 minutes to spare. I called Enterprises Roadside Assistance who assured me that someone would be out to fix/change the tire within 1 hour. Thankfully, I was able to give my speech and meet some very awesome people. At 10:30am, we hadn't seen the Roadside assistance person, so I called them back. Being a very detailed person, I mentioned that we were in LOT 4 at RFK Stadium four times as well as giving an exact description of where the car was and all the vehicle detail. The man from Roadside was in LOT 3. Sheesh! He finally changed the tire to the spare which was a donut and when I complained about the donut, he told me that I could drive 600 miles at 60 mph on it. Well we all know that was a blatant lie. This is when more stress began. After many calls and a total of two and a half hours on the phone to Enterprise locations in Washington DC and to the location where I rented the car in NY, they agreed to give me a new car so that I wouldn't have to drive back to NY on the donut. I had to call Roadside when I was back at the hotel and in for the night to trade cars.

It was decided that we go back to our hotel, grab something for lunch, then make our way via taxi to the National Mall and catch the remaining time there at the rally. Everything there went smoothly. While walking to the point where we could hail a taxi back to the hotel, we met some really nice folks in particular a man who was from Brooklyn, NY covering the rally on the mall for his local newspaper.

Upon arrival back to the hotel, it was decided that we would take the car and go see some sites such as the White House and Capitol and take some pictures, then go back to the hotel and ready ourselves for dinner. We did get as close as we could to the White House to take pictures but never made it to the Capitol or the Lincoln Memorial for up close pictures. Yet, we know where the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) offices are as we passed them about 5 times! Back to the hotel, we all climbed back into the car and left for dinner. We went past many older homes, the whole area was so historic. We arrived back at the hotel again at 9pm. Now you will remember, the rental still has the donut tire on it and I have to call Roadside to arrange a swap of cars.

To make a longer story short, Roadside made the arrangements telling me that a confirmation call should be expected within 15 minutes. Yes, you guessed it - no phone call. Upon calling them back, someone there canceled my swap because - sit down and hang on - it was too far to drive another car from LAGUARDIA in NY! After fighting for over an hour to get a supervisor to handle this correctly, I'm informed that Dulles & Reagan Enterprise locations are now closed. I insist that they get me a car no matter where they have to get it from. Time now: 11:20pm. A promise was made by the supervisor that the swap car would be to the hotel within an hour. At 12:10am, I go outside the main entrance of the hotel and sat waiting. Another call to Roadside to make certain that the swap would happen no later than 12:30am as promised. At 1:30am, the man who is bringing the swap car calls and has arrived. Because no one was available to DRIVE a swap car to me, they sent it via tow truck! Apparently, after talking to the driver, he wasn't going to drive the rental with the donut tire. Wonder why? By 2am, I was back up to my room, but the key card wouldn't work and because I didn't want to wake my friends, downstairs I went to obtain another one. Finally, sleep!

Checking out of the Hilton Washington was as easy as checking in. By 11:30am, we were on our way back to NY. During the drive, I made a phone call to Enterprise to express my displeasure. Most of the day that was supposed to be spent siteseeing was interrupted by getting another car to drive. Since the branch manager wasn't in, I had to call back the next day. You bet everything was documented from who I spoke with and all the time frames. The rest of the trip back to Staten Island was excellent except for the rain. All the luggage was unpacked, we ordered dinner. My dear friend made my stay in Staten Island one of the best. Thank you Sheri for your generous hospitality.

Time to go home to Denver. No, folks, the saga continues. It took 1 hour to go 11 miles in the rain and traffic on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (more like a parking lot). Arriving at the Enterprise drop off point, I actually sighed a sigh of relief. Meeting with the branch manager and his assistant, I read off everything that we had been through from the morning of 10/2/10 to the morning of 10/3/10. At this point, my rental car bill went from $289 down to $100. What else could he do for me, the crazed women standing in front of him. This was my first consumer win for the trip.

I was shuttled to LaGuardia Airport, and upon checking in I noticed that my Southwest flight from LaGuardia connecting in Chicago to Denver is delayed. Here we go again! Instead of leaving just after 6pm, we left around an hour or so later. I was able to board the plane early to sit in the front row, aisle seat. This gave me an advantage of making it to my connecting flight and arriving in Denver at 11pm. While in flight, the flight attendant assured me that my connecting flight would be waiting. For those of you who have already guessed, the Chicago to Denver flight left four of us stranded in Chicago Midway Airport. Frustrated, we backtracked to a desk where some Southwest employees were. They told us that was the last flight out and that nothing was open in the airport. We could, if we wanted, go to Concourse C to sleep in "cot city". There was no way that we could exit the airport and be able return into the airport until 4am when security was opened for the next day. They lied! We found a bar that served drinks, coffee and FOOD! Yes, their names were logged in my book too. Two of us set out to check out the airport and at 3:30am decided to get some sleep by our departing gate.

The plane left on time - 6am - and we were finally on our way home. But it doesn't end here. Arriving at DIA, we went to the luggage carousel only to find that my luggage was lost, 2 gals received their luggage, and the other had one suitcase waiting for her but the other one was lost. No one could tell us where in the system our luggage was. We left the airport to await a call from Southwest when they found our luggage and when it would be delivered. A phone call was received at 11:00am saying that I would have my luggage at 12:30pm. True to their word, it was delivered.

I wrote to Southwest about their employees and the treatment that we received at Chicago Midway. Within 20 days, I received a voucher for $140.40 to reimburse me for the segment from LaGuardia to Denver. Another consumer win!

Even though there were so many obstacles that tried to keep us down, we still had a decent time together in DC.

The big questions - Will I rent from Enterprise and fly Southwest again? You bet I will! They both treated me right and made up for the problems by rewarding me financially. Of course, it didn't make up for the night lost in Staten Island and the cost of the hotel room in Baltimore but all in all, I'm happy with the results.