‘Dropping out’ of the middle class

Photo by Kyoko Takenaka, Investigative Reporting Workshop

Thousands of people took to the National Mall last October in the name of jobs, justice and education at the “One Nation Working Together” rally in Washington, D.C. The event brought together union members, activists and students from around the country, all asking Washington to focus on the needs of working-class Americans before the November 2010 midterm elections.

Melanie Collins, who provides child care in her home, took a union-sponsored bus from Falmouth, Maine, to attend the event.

In her 11 years caring for children, she said in an interview at the rally last year, she had not seen a parent pull a child out because of job loss. That changed when the economy began its downward spiral in 2007.

“It’s really hard when … you’ve been taking care of a kid, and you know they’re going to really struggle now because dad’s lost his job,” she said in a video interview.

Fast forward to 2011. The midterm elections have come and gone. Jobs are no more visible on the political agenda than they were last fall. One Nation’s campaign seems to have died down. Its website is dormant, and calls to the organization were not returned. And Collins said not much has changed in Maine. …Full story here.