February 8, 2013
A Pyrrhic victory for the Chamber of Commerce
Time is running out for the five people who head the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce to ask if they’ve gone too far in pushing devastating cuts to unemployment benefits, said Kevin Rogers of Action NC in a recent op-ed published by the News & Observer:
“The five voluntary officers of the N.C. Chamber would never turn to their own employees and say, “I’ve decided it’s a good idea that we cut your benefits in half to pay for our past mistakes and let the future unemployed of this company suffer a bit more to facilitate our profit.”
“But that is what they are doing by allowing chamber staff to use their leaders’ work and credibility to play a dominant role in creating and passing an Unemployment Insurance reform bill that hurts every employee in North Carolina including each of their own.
“The bill would cut the maximum benefits paid to unemployed workers and reduce the maximum weeks of benefits so that the state can repay the federal government more quickly for money borrowed to pay the unemployed. But the state had to borrow the money in the first place because the chamber advocated several years ago that unemployment taxes be cut, draining the trust fund.” — Kevin Rogers, News & Observer, 2/7/13
Kevin goes on to point out what our members learned when they went to lobby their state representatives and senators during our legislative conference this week – the Republican leaders of our legislature are only concerned with pleasing the Chamber and don’t care what their constituents think.
But when this thing goes down – and barring an unlikely come-to-Jesus-moment by everyone involved, these cuts to unemployment benefits will become law – North Carolina’s jobless workers will not suffer alone. Their friends and families will suffer, too. Their communities will suffer. Local businesses will suffer. The state economy will suffer. The price of “victory” by the Chamber will be high indeed.
Read the rest of Kevin’s op-ed at http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/02/07/2662205/nc-chamber-needs-to-ask-are-we.html.