Jeff V. has been hard hit by the current economic situation. A construction worker by trade and member of Local 577, plasterers and cement masons, Jeff worked year round in 2004 and 2005, but since then has worked sporadically at best. He worked full time for three months in the fall of 2010, but since then he’s worked one or two days at best, laying floors and cement.
“It’s really disheartening,” says Jeff.
Jeff is one of the millions of American workers who stand to benefit from President Obama’s new jobs plan – the American Jobs Act that was delivered to Congress on Monday.
The president’s plan includes a $50 billion investment in modernizing transportation infrastructure and another $25 billion in updating school infrastructure, both investments that would create jobs for Jeff and his fellow construction workers. In Colorado, these improvement projects could create as many as 10,000 jobs statewide.
“The speech sounded pretty good,” says Jeff. Other workers in his union are having similar experiences with infrequent or no work. “But the work is out there that needs to be done, and here are tons of people who need a job,” Jeff says.
In addition to supporting local Democrats, Jeff is planning to canvass for President Obama and talk with people he knows about what the president is doing to create jobs and get the economy back on its feet. “He cares about people,” Jeff says of the president. “The people who are against him are hurting their own constituents so they’ll be mad about the economy and influence the presidential race,” says Jeff. “They have a different idea of ‘public service’ from the president.”
Last winter Jeff had a heart attack. He thinks that the stress of being out of work might have had something to do with it, but he also says that it might have been a blessing in disguise because now he’s paying closer attention to his health.
“When I signed President Obama’s birthday card in August, I included a note that says that as you get older, the more you recognize your mortality,” says Jeff. “I also told him that, the way I look at it, the older you get, you can also say that you’ve spent your life fighting the good fight. His jobs plan surely seems to have that about it.”