Stamford- More than a hundred union members and Latino community advocates joined federal government representatives at a candlelight vigil this evening to call on Congress to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes and avert fiscal crisis in a way that does not cut vital services for working families. Advocates also called for comprehensive reform to the broken immigration system.
“There are two paths Congress can take to solve this financial crisis and only one is mindful of working families,” said Kurt Westby, 32BJ Connecticut Director. “It’s up to us to pressure Congress to protect programs like Social Security and Medicare, and pass comprehensive immigration reform so more families can stay together and work to reach the American Dream.”
U.S. Representative Jim Himes of the 4th Congressional District said in a statement, “We face a choice that will define the future of our nation, and it’s time for Washington to act on a plan that will reduce the deficit and grow jobs through shared opportunity. While some wish to raise taxes on middle class families and indiscriminately slash budgets, I support a wiser plan—one that asks the most fortunate to pay a little more to reduce the deficit and that allows us to make the investments in transportation and education we know will keep our economy growing from top to bottom for decades to come.”
More than 100 people gathered outside the Stamford Government Center, including members of 32BJ and 1199 of the Service Employees International Union and representatives of Latino advocacy groups C.R.I.S.O.L, Grupo Quetzal, Iniciativa Hispana, Damas Hispanas de Fairfield, and Comité Cívico Ecuatoriano.
“Unemployment is still too high in our state. Until there are enough job opportunities for all people, political leaders must extend benefits before the end of this year,” said Phil Bladeen, a cook and 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East member on strike at the HealthBridge West River Healthcare Center since July 3.
With more than 125,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 4,500 in Connecticut, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country.