MVOC Leaders Demand Economy That Works for All

Local officials and hundreds of residents to participate in tonight’s public meeting 

YOUNGSTOWN – Tonight at 6:30pm at Stambaugh Auditorium on Youngstown’s north side, the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative (MVOC) will welcome hundreds of engaged community residents at the Rally for Valley Jobs: a community economic forum that will engage local officials, labor and business representatives, and community leaders around policies to build a more equitable economy for our region and state in 2013 and beyond.Since 2008, MVOC has driven successful organizing campaigns to address vacant properties and blight, human trafficking, and health equity: all of which are directly tied to economic issues in our community.  Indeed, MVOC Board chair and Warren leader Bill Mullane adds that, “underlying each of our issue campaigns is the stark reality that Mahoning Valley residents, especially those living in the urban cores of Youngstown and Warren, are finding it increasingly difficult to find meaningful employment.”

In response, MVOC and our statewide partners at the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) launched an ambitious, multi-year campaign earlier this year to drive an economy that works for all.  Equity and economic opportunity are intrinsically linked: by organizing residents and creating strategic partnerships to capitalize on the recent investments in manufacturing, research, and technology in the Mahoning Valley, we can increase growth – but most importantly – will create good jobs, economic opportunity, and wealth for every resident in our region.

“We want to make sure that everyone is sharing in prosperity here in the Valley,” said Ron Gay, Vice President of Communications Workers of America Local 4300.  “We are excited for the prospect of an economic resurgence in manufacturing, service-related businesses, and other fields.  But local residents of our communities should be first in line for these opportunities and employers that hire our residents should provide these workers with respect and dignity on the job.”

The MVOC Jobs and Economic Opportunity campaign has four planks:

1.     Hire Mahoning Valley: business and industry in our community must commit to explore local training programs, to hire local residents first, and to hire regardless of race, gender or record.

2.     Create Good Jobs: every resident deserves access to one good job with health benefits and labor protection, rather than stringing together part-time jobs to support themselves and their family.

3.     Protect Our Communities: our residents deserve to live in healthy neighborhoods without underfunded schools that restrict achievement and blighted houses that present safety hazards.

4.     Respect Our Workers: every worker deserves fair pay for a fair day’s work.

Margaret Gratz, YSU nontraditional student and community leader, sums it up: “If you have a community full of good jobs, you would have a much happier, healthier, more interactive and positive community.”

Confirmed officials include State Senator Joe Schiavone; State Representative Bob Hagan; Mahoning County Commissioners John McNally, Carol Rimedio-Righetti, and Anthony Trafficanti; Commissioner candidates David Ditzler and Howard Markert; Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone, Warren Mayor Doug Franklin, and Lowellville James Iudiciani; Youngstown Council President Jamael Tito Brown and Councilmembers Annie Gillam, John Swierz, and Nathaniel Pinkard; Warren Council President Robert Dean Jr. and Councilmembers Daniel Sferra, Eddie Colbert, John Brown, and Cheryl Saffold.

Representation will also be present from Senator Sherrod Brown’s office and U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan’s office.