About the Hearings

More than 14 million Americans are unemployed. They are so numerous that they could populate a nation, a distressed and forgotten nation, a nation whose voice remains unheard.
 
We are going to do what Congress should have done long ago. We are going to listen to that unemployed nation. We are going to hold public hearings to explore and expose the crisis of unemployment that grips America.
 
Who are the jobless? What does it mean to be without work year after year? What are the consequences for Washington State and the United States? What are the prospects for effective political action by and for the jobless? The Unemployed Nation Hearings will answer these questions.
 
This two day event will bring together University and community in hearings that draw on the expertise of economists, legal and political scholars, and historians, and listen also to those who are enduring or anxious about joblessness. The events will air testimony from a variety of social and economic locations, highlighting the unemployment crisis of young workers, communities of color, returning veterans, construction workers, public sector workers, and more. Students, facing the double crisis of job uncertainty and mounting debt, will play a major part.
 
The hearing will also focus on organizing and what can be learned from the unemployed movements of the 1930s and contemporary movements in other nations. The Occupy Wall Street movements will figure in this discussion as well.
 
Through this event, we hope to generate significant publicity and interest in the on-going issue of unemployment, and prompt action on the part of the public and policy-makers.