Ensure unemployment benefits continue for all Americans
My name is ReVonda Bowen and I am sharing my story as one out of over 20 million Americans who lost their jobs because of selfish corporations putting profits over people during the pandemic, and then struggled to survive because of broken unemployment systems.
I was so heartbroken and upset when I heard that Governors in 25 states across the country are ending federal unemployment benefits early for no reason, leaving 4 million workers like me with no support.
Ending federal unemployment benefits programs will be devastating for families across the nation. Many will suffer, go hungry, or lose their homes as a result of these terrible decisions.
These cuts are an attack on workers of color and Black workers especially: Because of racism in the job market, Black workers are the last to be hired when the economy picks up. That means Black workers are more likely to be on UI right now.
These cuts are unacceptable, especially during a time where the ultra-rich in this country, who have profited off of the backs of working people, have gotten over $1 trillion richer during the pandemic that has taken the lives of almost 600,000 Americans and led to record unemployment, hunger, and starvation, has overworked health care workers, and has sacrificed essential workers to maintain the status quo.
Instead of focusing on addressing the real problems that harm working people and businesses every day, such as starvation wages, poor benefits that limit access to health care, and union-busting by large corporations, Republicans are trying to take unemployment benefits—that are already low to begin with—away from the people who need them.
We can’t keep ignoring the real issue, which is that workers should not be forced to go back to a status quo that was hurting them. This is where the federal government can create economic guardrails for Americans. The unemployment insurance system should be reliable, fair, and support everyone who needs help, no matter where we live. We urge President Biden and Secretary Walsh to step in and support the continuation of unemployment benefits for struggling Americans.
The truth is that employers need to start paying workers a living wage, provide benefits like health care and paid sick leave, allow workers to unionize their workplaces, and much, much more. Now, the right wing GOP is blaming working people for demanding decent jobs that allow us to earn a living wage and be there for our families. They say that unemployed people are lazy and that emergency unemployment benefits are just an incentive for them to stay home, when, in reality, our economy is still down 10 million jobs. People are desperately looking for work and unemployment benefits are helping families survive until the economy fully recovers. It’s insulting.
Governors are listening to the Chamber of Commerce and the Restaurant Industry, lobbying groups who represent corporations. Those corporations want to force us to take jobs with low pay and no security. These jobs require 24/7 availability but don’t guarantee full-time hours, and are often unsafe.
This is why we’re asking you to take action to urge the Biden administration and the U.S. Department of Labor to take action in support of workers and against states trying to end federal unemployment benefits early! We need President Biden to fight for continued benefits for all working people, and to overhaul the unemployment insurance system so we can all count on it during a crisis, no matter where we live.