Matthew Martinez

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Matthew Martinez
Matthew Martinez

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Matthew (Marty) Gilbert Martinez was a California Democratic congressman.

Greeting Chris Hani

More than 250 labor, peace, civil rights and political leaders greeted South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani at his April 27, appearance in Los Angeles. The crowd contributed more than $12,000 towards the People's Weekly World fund drive and the work of the South African Communist Party.

Los Angeles City Council member Robert Farrell, presented Hani with a resolution signed by Mayor Tom Bradley and City Council president John Ferraro, welcoming him as "one of the most highly respected and powerful voices of the anti Apartheid movement."

The welcoming committee included reps Maxine Waters, Mervyn Dymally and Matthew Martinez, State senator Diane Watson, Los Angeles School board president Jackie Goldberg and more than 30 labor, civic and entertainment leaders including Cesar Chavez of the United Farmworkers.

Waters sent a letter of greeting to Hani and Yengeni saying, "as the struggle within South Africa continues to develop from one stage to the next, please be assured that all of us will continue to be at your side. Your struggle is our struggle".

Evelina Alarcon, chair of the Southern California district of the Communist Party USA, introduced Hani, She drew rousing cheers as she pledged, on behalf of the audience and the welcoming committee, continued efforts to maintain sanctions against South Africa.[1]

Sponsored Communist Party "Jobs Bill"

H.R. 950, the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 was introduced in the 105th Congress on March 5, 1997 by Congressman Matthew Martinez of California. It had 33 original co-sponsors, including Nydia Velasquez. The primary purpose of this emergency federal jobs legislation was to provide much needed jobs at union wages to crisis ridden cities by putting the unemployed to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure (schools, housing, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, parks, environmental improvements, etc. $250 billion is authorized for emergency public works jobs over a five year period.

Congressman Martinez had previously introduced this bill in the last Congress (as HR 1591) at the the request of over 50 prominent Labor leaders who formed the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, which is why it is often referred to as the "Martinez Public Works Jobs Bill."[2]

This is the most significant jobs legislation introduced in Congress since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal established the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This bill is the WPA-type program for today. It has strong provisions which will put hundreds of thousands of unemployed building trades workers to work as well as provide jobs for victims of plant closures, welfare recipients who are parents, youth, and the long term unemployed. The public works projects which will be established under this bill will be built in communities with the highest levels of unemployment and with the greatest needs.
The goal of the New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs is to build the movement to pass the Martinez Jobs bill as part of the National Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs. You can help by asking your union, community organization, or local government body to to join those who have already passed resolutions to endorse the bill. Such a resolution has been introduced in the New York City Council. Calling on additional Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the bill is very important. We will be organizing petition campaigns, visits to elected officials, and demonstrations and other actions for a public works jobs program.

The leaders of the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs and its only affiliate New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, were all known supporters or members of the Communist Party USA.

Los Angeles , National Labor Coalition For Public Works Jobs

New York affiliate, New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, c/o Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.

MAPA connection/WPA model

The April 9 1994 Los Angeles state wide convention of the Mexican American Political Association, unanimously approved a public works jobs resolution.

Jose Chacon, MAPA's metro region organizer told the People's World "Mexican-Americans have every reason to go all out, hand-in-hand with labor to support this bill. its a matter of survival"

Addressing MAPA's convention banquet Rep. Matthew Martinez said that he was looking at the Works Progress Administration legislation passed in 1935 as a guide for the public works bill - popularly known as the Martinez Jobs Bill.[3]

Los Angeles Martinez Jobs Bill support rally

On October 18 1997, Matthew Martinez, State senators Hilda Solis and Diane Watson, City Councilman Richard Alarcon, Miguel Contreras, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor and Geraldine Washington, president of the Los Angeles NAACP addressed a Los Angeles "show us the living wage jobs" rally, as part of a national day of action, calling on Congress to pass the Martinez Jobs Bill. there were concurrent rallies in nearly 20 cities, organized by the Communist Party USA dominated National Labor-Community Coalition For Public Works Jobs. Pastor Cecil Murray of the First AME Church in South Los Angeles sponsored the rally.[4]

References

  1. Peoples weekly World, May 4, 1991, page 2
  2. [1] The Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 (H.R. 950)From the New York State Communist Party 16 March 1997, email list, accessed June 14, 2010
  3. PWW, April 23, 1994, page 4
  4. PWW, October 11, 1997, page 6
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