Senator’s jobs fair meets with protests

October 14, 2011
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Courtesy Photo Protesters at U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s jobs fair at Roxbury Community College on Oct. 7.

A jobs fair hosted by U.S. Sen. Scott Brown at Roxbury Community College on Oct. 7 was the scene of a protest over Brown’s stance on a handful of economic issues.

The protest was organized by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. That Washington, D.C.-based group normally focuses on lobbying, but this year has started exerting public pressure on legislators who have not publicly disavowed cutting public entitlement programs, group spokesperson Chris Chase told the Gazette.

“Brown hasn’t made a statement on which way he is going,” said.

“Senator Brown believes we must protect current beneficiaries and those nearing retirement,” and voted against both President Obama’s health care plan and a budget put together by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan because of his concerns about proposed Medicare changes, Brown spokesperson John Donnelly told the Gazette in an email. “However, the senator believes we  do need to make improvements within the current system” including curbing “waste, fraud and abuse,” Donnelly said.

About 1,700 jobseekers attended the jobs fair, which featured more than 60 Massachusetts employers, Donnelly said.

The coalition the National Committee pulled together for the protest included MassUniting, a recently formed but very active coalition of progressive organizations in the state that includes state chapters of the Service Workers International Union.

According to a press release from MassUniting, that group is also interested in Brown’s stance on President Obama’s American Jobs Act, a bill Obama is currently urging the legislature to pass.

“I haven’t been able to find steady work for years, and I know many others in the construction industry are in the same boat. Scott Brown knows the American Jobs Act will help put people back to work, especially in my field. He needs to do the right thing and support the bill,” Mary Black said in the press release.

According to the press release, Black—a skilled laborer who has been unemployed since 2004—was one of “dozens” who participated in the protest.

Brown voted against the Jobs Act in the Senate Oct. 11, urging instead that the bill be broken up and items that have bipartisan support be passed individually.

MassUniting also helped organize a protest against Bank of America in Boston Sep. 30 attended by over 3,000 people. The day before that protest, MassUniting converted a dozen bus shelters throughout the city—including one at Mission Park—into symbolic “Bank of America foreclosures,” according to a press release.

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