17 Feb

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The Statistics

23 Nov


Imagine being one of the 14 million Americans who lost their job during the last five years.

Since the recession began in November 2007, the American economy has suffered a loss of over 6 million jobs. Another 10-15 million more have given up hope of finding a job and are not even counted in current unemployment statistics.

As the U.S. economy slowly recovers from one of the longest and deepest recessions since the Depression, we are still facing a 8.3% unemployment rate.

More people were living in poverty last year than in any year since the Census Bureau began keeping records half a century ago.

At the same time, the richest 1% has tripled its wealth and corporations are being bailed out without giving back.

We stand in this unemployment line to recognize those who have lost their jobs and their ability to support themselves and their families.

The line stretches through Manhattan for miles – from Wall Street to Union Square. There are more than 6,000 standing here today, each representing over 1,000 Americans who have lost their jobs in the past years.


Stop the spread of pink slips!

… the next pink slip might have your name on it.



  • 14 million: total number of Americans currently unemployed (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 09/2011)
  • 6.3 million: number of people who have become unemployed since December 2007 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was 6.2 million in September. These individuals accounted for 44.6 percent of the unemployed. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 09/2011) 
  • The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose to 9.3 million in September. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 09/2011)
  • The ratio of unemployed workers to job openings has been for three years straight at or above 3-to-1. (Economic Policy Institute, 10/2011) 
  • The number of job openings decreased by 157,000. The general trend shows no net improvement in the number of job openings since March 2011. (Economic Policy Institute, 10/2011)
  • Since June 2011, 28 states and the District of Columbia have seen their unemployment rates rise, and 22 states have lost jobs. (Economic Policy Institute, 10/2011) 
  • More Americans filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2010 than at any time since federal bankruptcy laws were overhauled in 2005. (Reuters, 2010)
  • About 20% of American adults who have jobs are earning only $10.65 an hour or less. Even at 40 hours a week, that amounts to less than $22,314, the poverty level for a family of four. The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour (18 states set their own rates above the federal level, maxing out at $8.67 an hour in Washington State). (CNNMoney, 2011)

What is the Line?

17 Nov

The Line photo by Joyce Kuh

THE LINE is a Visually Stunning Protest Representing 14 Million Unemployed Americans and Demanding Action from Congress and Corporations.

5,000 Concerned Citizens Form a Three-Mile Line on Broadway, Holding Pink Slips from the Bull at Bowling Green to Union Square from 8:14 to 8:28 A. M. on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012.

“If all 14 million jobless Americans formed a single unemployment line, it would stretch unbroken around the borders of our entire country (from Portland, Maine to Seattle Washington to San Lucas, California, to Miami, Florida and back to Portland),” said Kristin Marting, Artistic Director of HERE, one of the Line’s organizers. “The Line will remind Congress and Corporations about their responsibility to put America back to work. Creating jobs is the key to a productive America.”

Tal Yarden of NY America said “Things are getting better and Obama’s policies have pulled us back from the brink. That is true, but there is still overwhelming unemployment in America and Congress is doing nothing to help. We need bipartisan collaboration to support the President’s call to action to pass job creation bills that put America first and get us back to work. ”

Mark Plesent of the Working Theater added, “The Line is a call to action and a demand for focus and attention. We want corporations to stop outsourcing our jobs and take responsibility for bringing work back to America. “

Join the Line
“We encourage anyone concerned about American jobs to join us on The Line”, said artist activist Mahayana Landowne, one of the Line core organizers.  We are looking for people willing to stand in for the unemployed for 14 minutes one morning in March. One minute for each of the million unemployed in America today.

We are still welcoming collaborating organizations to help turn out people for this action.  We are also still looking for some more experienced organizers.

Please email us at theline2012@gmail.com if you are interested in getting involved in any of these ways. Let us know what neighborhood is best and how many you will be.

The Line is a remake of an action which took place back on September 1, 2004, thousands gathered along three miles of Broadway, from the bull at Wall Street to the Republican Convention at Madison Square Garden. Standing silently for eighteen minutes, they held in their hands pink slips representing the millions of unemployed who were being left behind.  The 2004 action was organized by The Imagine Festival of Arts and Ideas, NY America, People for the American Way,  artists, activists, unions, church groups, and social service organizations.  Here’s a link to some photos from this action: http://www.wastedirony.com/linephoto/.  It was well covered in all the media – here’s a link to a Times piece : http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/01/nyregion/01CND-PROT.html

Who are we?
THE LINE is being organized by artists and activists from HERE and Working Theater and with organizations as varied as the Arts & Democracy Project, BAAD!, Construction and General Building Laborers’ Local 79, CVH Action, the Civilians, CWA Local 1180, Dance New Amsterdam, DC37, Democracy for NYC, Dixon Place, Downtown Community Television, Fourth Arts Block, Foundry Theatre, The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, National Jobs for All Coalition, National Organization of Women – NYS, New Georges, New York America, New York City Central Labor Council, NYC Americans for Democratic Action New York Immigration Coalition, New York State Immigration Fund, Occupy Astoria LIC, Occupy Wall Street, Peculiar Works Project, Professional Staff Congress, Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, Teamsters Local 814, Theatre for a New City, UAW, UFT, United NY, Workers Defense League, and Workers United. List in formation. We are also supported by Art is My Occupation.