Members working to build a stronger middle class

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Coalition working to create new job opportunities in the Central Valley

As part of our ongoing effort to help grow the middle class in our communities, Local 1000 helped create a coalition of Fresno-area organizations to ensure that jobs created by the state’s high-speed rail project don’t bypass the Central Valley’s poorest residents.

The coalition, named “Voice of Including Community Equitably” (VOICE), brought more than 80 people to Sacramento on Oct. 14 to urge the High-Speed Rail Authority board of directors to improve training and job opportunities for residents of Fresno’s poorest areas. VOICE includes numerous churches and community-based nonprofits as well as Local 1000.

“We believe that public money should be reinvested in the community,” said Leroy Candler, a Caltrans employee who helped organize VOICE. “This high-speed rail project is an opportunity to really help some of the most disadvantaged people in the Central Valley gain skills that lead to good jobs and bright futures.”

Investing in the community

High-speed rail will be one of the largest public works projects in California in decades. VOICE wants to ensure that the multi-billion dollar high-speed rail (and other public works projects) bring good jobs to one of the state’s most economically depressed regions.

“California High-Speed Rail and other public works projects have been built on hope, optimism and a view toward a better California for all,” said Pastor Richard Daniels of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Fresno and a leader of VOICE. “We will not see this opportunity squandered.”

Purpose Statement in action

Candler and other Local 1000 members saw the need for their community to advocate for increased jobs and job training for residents during the construction of the high-speed rail project.

“Our work with VOICE is a perfect example of putting the Local 1000 Purpose Statement into action to help expand the middle class and to build stronger communities,” said Margarita Maldonado, vice president of bargaining and a liaison with VOICE. “Through this coalition, Local 1000 can make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of working people by bringing good middle-class jobs to one of the poorest parts of our state.”