CPD, Coalition Launches Campaign, Will Meet with Chair Yellen Friday

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Broad Coalition Launches Campaign to Make Fed More Transparent and Accountable: Days after worker rights referendums sweep victorious through nation, new coalition calls on Fed to establish public process for Fisher, Plosser replacements

Fed Up: The National Campaign for a Strong Economy

Millions of workers and their families are still struggling, whether from involuntarily part-time hours, poverty wages, or a lack of earned sick time. -Ady Barkan, Center for Popular Democracy

Today, as part of a campaign seeking to reform the Federal Reserve’s governance, over 30 community organizations, faith leaders, policy experts, and labor unions from across the country released open letters to Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Regional Presidents Richard Fischer (http://bit.ly/1uh7AGt) and Charles Plosser (http://bit.ly/1xt46BT) in Dallas and Philadelphia, respectively. The letters call for transparency and public engagement in the selection process for the two presidents’ replacements, who with other members of the Federal Open Market Committee, regulate their regions’ banks and set monetary policies affecting every person in the country.

The open letters—delivered in advance of a meeting between the coalition and Chair Yellen on Friday—were the subject of a New York Times exclusive today (http://nyti.ms/1tAzAQy). The coalition will hold a press conference in advance of the meeting with Chair Yellen this Friday, November 14, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. on the north side Constitution Avenue, between 20th and 21st Streets NW, Washington, D.C. The letters are part of the launch of “Fed Up: The National Campaign for a Strong Economy,” which calls on the Fed to prioritize full employment and rising wages and commit to more transparency and public accountability. More information on the campaign can be found at http://www.whatrecovery.org.

“We continue to hear reports that the economy is recovering,” said Ady Barkan, of the Center for Popular Democracy, which coordinates the campaign. “But, millions of workers and their families are still struggling, whether from involuntarily part-time hours, poverty wages, or a lack of earned sick time. Meeting with the Chair is a step towards elevating workers’ voices in the Federal Reserve System.”

The letter to President Fisher, who, along with President Plosser, recently announced his upcoming resignation from the Fed, highlights the high rates of poverty and low-wage jobs in Texas and the fact that the public has little voice in current Fed policies and governance. “[T]hose most affected [have] not been given the opportunity to participate in the process.... In fact, even the most basic facts …remain completely inaccessible to the public.” The letter also noted the disproportionate rates of low-wage jobs and asset poverty for households of color. The Philadelphia letter similarly called attention to stagnant wages and extreme poverty rate of the city.

“The Dallas Fed needs to create a transparent and inclusive process for selecting President Fisher’s replacement,” said Danny Cendejas, an organizer with the Texas Organizing Project. “Members of the public have the right to know who is making this crucial decision and what criteria they are using. The decision is too important to happen behind closed doors without opportunity for genuine public engagement.”

“President Plosser has said that he thinks the economy is reaching full employment,” said Kendra Brooks of Action United in Philadelphia. “We urge him to spend a day with us talking to struggling families in our city, and he’ll see how wrong that assessment is. The next president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve needs to be committed to building a strong economy that works for all communities, not just the rich.”

The Fed Up campaign marks first time in decades that workers and community organizations will make a coordinated effort to influence Fed monetary policy, which is normally subject to influence only by banks and corporations.

“The Fed is the only policymaking institution currently providing significant support to the economic recovery—efforts Congress has severely damaged by enforcing fiscal austerity—so it’s crucial for it to continue prioritizing the fight against joblessness,” said Josh Bivens, Research and Policy Director at the Economic Policy Institute “And, it’s essential that concerned citizens are informed about and have their voices considered when monetary policy decisions are made.”

The campaign’s official launch and announcement of principles for Fed reform will take place on Friday morning at a press conference in front of the Federal Reserve building in Washington D.C., just before the coalition’s meeting with Chair Yellen. Over 30 community members, workers, activists, advocates, and economists will be present.

Signatories of the open letter to Philadelphia Regional President Plosser are:

  •     ACTION United
  •     Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement (DACA)
  •     Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc.
  •     Fight for Philly
  •     Food and Water Watch
  •     Institute for the Development of African American Youth (IDAAY)
  •     Mayors Office of Consumers Affairs, Director Lance Haver
  •     Keystone Progress
  •     Keystone Research Center
  •     Media Mobilizing Project (MMP)
  •     Neighborhood Networks
  •     New Jersey Communities United
  •     Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
  •     Pennsylvania Working Families
  •     Philadelphia Jobs with Justice
  •     Philadelphia MoveOn Council
  •     Philadelphia Student Union (PSU)
  •     Philadelphia Unemployment Project (PUP)
  •     Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP)
  •     SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania
  •     Wilson Goode, Jr., At-Large member of Philadelphia City Council
  •     Youth United for Change (YUC)

Signatories of the open letter to Dallas Regional President Fisher are:

  •     North Texas Jobs with Justice
  •     Texas Organizing Project
  •     SEIU Texas (or Service Employees International Union Texas)
  •     Communication Workers of America (CWA)
  •     Workers Defense Project
  •     Fe y Justicia Worker Center
  •     Harris County AFLCIO
  •     Texas AFLCIO
  •     Texas Building Trades
  •     Working America

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Alison R. Park
@popdemoc
since: 12/2011
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