Over the past month, I have seen numerous studies discussing the abundance of jobs being posted online. Just today, I read that there were more jobs posted online than at any time since May 2005! Yet, the number of unemployed workers continues to grow at a staggering rate.
During this same time period, I have read a number of dismal reports which make clear that unemployed workers are not being considered for many (most?) of these job openings. This has led to large segments of our population remaining unemployed for lengthy periods of time, with seemingly little hope for future employment. Continued unemployment for a large percentage of Americans is, of course, a major problem. In fact, I would posit that it is the single biggest problem facing our economy today.
Notwithstanding, despite knowledge of the problem, and the gravity of the problem, nothing is being done to fix the problem. This is so even though it seems to be an acknowledged fact that we are in the midst of the most prolonged and serious unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.
In my view, something needs to be done, but what?
I have in the past opined that making discrimination against the unemployed illegal is an unworkable legal concept. I am an employee-side lawyer who specializes in asserting and protecting the rights of America's workforce. So, believe me, if I thought such an anti-discrimination law would be practical or helpful, I would be on board.
What other options do we have? America's companies have had plenty of time to invest in the unemployed, and clearly have chosen not to do so. So, given the gravity of the plight of the unemployed, and the effect that continuing unemployment has on our Country, an Affirmative Action program is, to me, the best way to fix the problem.
Such a program at once is protective across the board, without regard to age, race, disability or education. Yet, at the same time, can any of us truly deny that older workers, people with disabilities, minority workers and undereducated workers are sometimes among the first to go when companies decide to cut their labor force?
The wonderful thing, though, as that we need not get into any of that. All that we need to do is require companies to include a certain percentage of currently unemployed workers among all of their new hires over the next few years or so.
I am starting with a Poll to see what fellow citizens think. Meanwhile, I am reaching out to some local leaders to figure out the pros and cons of such a program. When this spade work is done, we'll see if we can interest the folks in Harrisburg or perhaps, Washington.
So, your thoughts and ideas are very important to me, and to what I hope will be a productive process. Please help me by taking my Poll, and by posting your comments. A grass roots approach will work, if we believe the best interests of our Country are furthered by seeing the unemployed back at work. And, can anyone deny that is a good thing?
NOTE: August 30, 2011: By a more than 4-1 vote, readers felt that an Affirmative Action plan was a viable solution to getting unemployed workers back to work. I am now taking steps to get the attention of legislators in Washington to consider the idea, and am working on a piece of legislation to submit. If you believe you can help in any way, please Contact Me.
NOTE: August 30, 2011: Apparently, President Obama is considering getting behind legislation that would make discrimination against the unemployed illegal. I believe that is a really bad idea. Click Here for a comprehensive discussion about the problems with such legislation.
John A. Gallagher, Esquire.