For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeremy Sprinkle, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-255-2711
STATEMENT FROM NC STATE AFL-CIO AND NC JUSTICE CENTER: LABOR ADVOCATES “DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED” BY NCGA’S INACTION
Without movement, tens of thousands of jobless workers will go over the “unemployment cliff” when federal extended benefits expire on July 1
RALEIGH, N.C. (May 18, 2013) – We were deeply disappointed to see this week’s crossover deadline pass without action on numerous bills of vital importance to workers in North Carolina.
Perhaps the single most important step our state legislators could take to support jobless workers in North Carolina is address the July 1 deadline for the loss of federally funded extended unemployment benefits. Without action from our lawmakers, North Carolina will be the only state in the country to reject benefits for the long term unemployed that are 100% paid for by the federal government. Over 100,000 North Carolinians who are jobless through no fault of their own will lose the ability to pay their bills and feed their kids while North Carolina’s economy will be denied hundreds of millions of dollars that could be spent at local businesses.
While the crossover deadline has passed, there are still ways to stop these families from going over the “unemployment cliff” in the next six weeks. State leaders have vowed to focus on jobs and employment: this is a pivotal opportunity for them to live up to that rhetoric by helping unemployed workers in North Carolina.
This is far from the only issue facing workers this year. State legislators had the chance to address wage theft through HB 826, the right to a living wage through HB 115 and SB 220, and workplace safety through HB 906, to name just a few missed opportunities.
The NC General Assembly has failed to stand up for workers on so many issues, but the issue of federal benefits will be the true litmus test. If legislators have any mercy at all, if they truly want to help the unemployed, we urge them to take action to save these benefits. If not, North Carolina will have adopted an extremist policy position, one that no other state has taken, and all at the expense of struggling workers, their families and the state’s economy.
The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of local unions and union councils in North Carolina, representing over one-hundred thousand union members, fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of ALL working families. PO Box 10805, Raleigh, NC 27605.