Jobless cry: "Save our holiday, extend UI benefits!"

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WASHINGTON - Angry but undaunted, the labor movement called for a flood of emails, letters, personal visits and petition signatures demanding that the “lame duck” lawmakers on Capitol Hill approve an extension of unemployment benefits before they adjourn for the holidays in December.

Chicago Jobs With Justice members collected signatures on a petition to “Save the Holidays” in the Loop demanding that Congress act during the lame duck session to extend benefits for the two million jobless workers facing termination of their weekly checks. In a YouTube video John Bachtell said it is “outrageous” that Republicans are determined to extend tax cuts for millionaires while denying lifeline benefits to the unemployed during Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Jobless workers and their labor movement allies are urging supporters to call the Capitol switchboard 1-877-662-2889 and ask to be connected to their Representative and Senators to tell the lawmakers to act now to extend the benefits.

The movement is reacting to the House vote 258-154 with Republican voting to block “fast track” extension of the benefits. It was 17 votes shy of the supermajority needed to break the Republican stonewall.

Earlier this month, Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO staged a picketline outside the office of House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, to protest his role in blocking “fast track” House approval of extended UI benefits.

UCubed, a pro-labor website announced an “Unemployment Insurance Lobby Day on Dec. 1” in Washington, D.C. with thousands of jobless workers and union members expected to descend on lawmakers offices to demand a full-year extension of jobless benefits.

“Unless Congress reauthorizes the current program before it expires on Nov. 30th, jobless benefits will be cut off for about 2 million workers by the end of December,” UCubed stated.

Unemployment benefits run out Nov. 30 for 800,000 jobless workers. An additional 1.2 million unemployed will exhaust their benefits before the end of the year – a grim Thanksgiving and holiday prospect for these workers and their families.

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said, “The message to 4 million Americans will be that the Republican Party doesn’t care whether you have a Christmas or a way to fund your mortgage or a way to put food on the table for the next three months.”

House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “The American people, struggling with high unemployment, continue to look to their leaders for a lifeline until they get back to work. Today Democrats voted to extend unemployment insurance … unfortunately, Republicans did not. Our first priority is to create jobs…Unemployment insurance is a proven economic booster, returning $2 into the economy for every $1 invested. We will continue to work for an emergency short-term extension to get families through the holidays.”

But a group called the “99ers” consisting of 3-5 million jobless workers who have exceeded the 99-week statutory limit on unemployment compensation is urging passage of HR-6419, a bill to provide a full year of extended benefits which they would be eligible to receive. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., according to a staffer, is “working around the clock” to build support for the “Americans Want to Work Act” that would add 20 weeks of unemployment benefits in states with an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent or higher.  At least 100,000 unemployed join the ranks of the “99ers” each week.

A recent study by the U.S. Labor Department finds that unemployment insurance is even more effective than previously thought in stimulating the economy. Key findings include:

* For every dollar spent on UI benefits, economic activity increases by $2.

* During each quarter of the recent recession, UI benefits kept an average 1.6 million other Americans on the job.

* At the height of the recession, UI benefits saved 1.8 million jobs from being lost and kept the unemployment rate 1.2 percentage points lower.

* UI benefits reduced the fall in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 18 percent. GDP was $175 billion higher in 2009 than it would have been without these lifeline benefits.

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  • I have nothing as I am on disability. But i have family, State sponsored stability, a turkey for my family and we will have a little Christmas. These benifiets must be extended so 2000000 familys can have atleast what little I am blessed with. This not done will be horrible as these workers will have to say no to their kids,

    Posted by Vasilli Zietzev, Sniper-Volgrad Patriotic War, 11/25/2010 3:21am (4 years ago)

  • @Cyndi W...

    Nowadays, people can do all the right things, and they still get the short end of the stick. Millions and millions of Americans are in that same boat. Some of those snobs are going to end up there too.

    The way things are now, the job market is almost like musical chairs. If there are ten people and five chairs, when the music stops, half of the people will not have a chair, even if they followed all the rules. Everyone can argue about why one person was faster or luckier, and got a chair and someone else didn't. But that doesn't really matter, because the bottom line is that everyone needs a chair, and there are simply not enough.

    I think it's deliberate. If there are not enough jobs, then they don't have to pay as much because there's more competition for each job. And the people without a job get nothing!

    Have you heard of the common security clubs that unemployed people and others have been organizing? Banding together with others can help make things more manageable. Maybe there are clubs in your area that you could check out?

    Take care, Cyndi & William. I hope you will be able to have a nice Thanksgiving.

    Posted by Trailer Trash, 11/24/2010 6:44pm (4 years ago)

  • Holiday cheer isn't the primary objective of unemployment compensation for millions of people struggling to stay in their home or put food on the table. I know families who canceled holiday gifts years ago because unemployment compensation often doesn't even cover the basic necessities of life. Besides, 99ers are not even eligible to be considered for an extension. Many have run out of all sources of income long ago while they diligently but fruitless seek work.

    Perhaps America should wake up and smell the rat rather than wondering why Congress is determined to give millionaires tax cuts (without paying for them) instead of unemployment insurance to the jobless (caused mostly by laws that favor globalization at the expense of the middle class). Millionaires that own and run big corporations take money (earned by hard working middle class employees and consumers through deceptive marketing and defective products/services) and funnel it to legislatures to PURCHASE the hearts and souls of Representatives and Senators so they will pass more laws that benefit the very rich. Campaign laws favor the super-rich, and those catering to them get elected.

    Every other explanation is marketing spin.

    Posted by New Paradigm, 11/24/2010 5:38pm (4 years ago)

  • both of us are unemployed, my husband for 1 year, myself on partial ui benefits for 1 year becuz my job will not work me more than 15 hrs a week. We both have dillegently sought employment, and for those uppity snobs who are lucky enough to have and be able to keep a roof over their heads and food in thier refrigerator, do not judge the ones, whom ,because of the ECONOMY and other reasons, cannot and who struggle day to day, to just be able to eat, stay warm and dry!! Christmas, all we want this year is not to be evicted because we will be homeless, if our ui benefits arent extended. So, merry christmas to those who are the lucky, untouched ones by this crisis we call life.

    Posted by william and cyndi wallace, 11/24/2010 3:48pm (4 years ago)

  • ATTENTION READERS - PLEASE TAKE ACTION

    We have set up a website. This is a start for state by state unity. Next we will start going from county to county, and then city to city. Once we reach that point we would be able to organize active civil disobedience. Our new site is http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com. When you get there go to the Organized Resistance page. We need as many people as possible to go to the site in order to get it into Google search engine so we can begin organizing. If you have any ideas as to how to improve the site please put it as a comment on the front page story.

    Posted by Barbara99er-GA, 11/24/2010 10:26am (4 years ago)

  • ATTENTION READERS - PLEASE TAKE ACTION

    We have set up a website. This is a start for state by state unity. Next we will start going from county to county, and then city to city. Once we reach that point we would be able to organize active civil disobedience. Our new site is http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com. When you get there go to the Organized Resistance page. We need as many people as possible to go to the site in order to get it into Google search engine so we can begin organizing. If you have any ideas as to how to improve the site please put it as a comment on the front page story.

    Posted by Barbara99er-GA, 11/24/2010 10:25am (4 years ago)

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