Workers Fighting for Their Unemployment Benefits in the Pandemic
Unemployed workers from the Philadelphia area are coming together to demand protection for themselves and their families as unemployment has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 30s. Organized by the Philadelphia Unemployment Project the Unemployed Organizing Committee has focused initially on issues with unemployment benefits.
State Dropping the Ball on Paying Benefits
Tens of thousands of workers have been unable to collect the benefits they are entitled to, as the State Unemployment Service has failed to provide quality service. Telephones, email and chat services have been inaccessible for months and many workers have been waiting 4 to 5 months for their UC checks. UOC workers have been featured in newspapers, radio and TV stories calling for better treatment from the unemployment Service. We called for help from the Governor and the resignation of the Labor Secretary responsible for the system.
PUP has now got a back channel to the Unemployment office to help people and we are able to send in information from claimants who have not gotten help or benefits from the state. We send in a weekly email to the UC office and they look into the situation. Often people are getting the first contact with anyone after weeks of trying when they call PUP and we answer the phone. Some people are still waiting, but we have been able to get benefits released for may workers. You can get help for late checks from our web page www.Philaup.org
Link to a Channel 3 story on our back channel-Philadelphia Unemployment Project Helping Frustrated Citizens Get Unemployment Claims Processed – CBS Philly
Cuts in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
The Unemployed Organizing Committee also came together to fight the termination of the $600 weekly supplement that had helped many maintain their living standards and stimulate the broader US economy. Members were profiled in the news media and a virtual rally and in person rally brought the voices of those impacted by the pandemic to the public. Front page story featuring Andrew Washington is HERE
The program ended on July 25 and Congress is still debating further action. A short-term solution came with $300/weekly for 6 weeks under the President’s executive order. That program has already run out of funds.
We are now working to make sure laid off people we have been in contact with are informed about the benefits available to them, such as mortgage and rental assistance, health care, utility assistance, food programs, etc. We encourage all laid off Philadelphians to join the Unemployed Organizing Committee as we work to protect our families until jobs are available again. Email to email@example.com to get involved and added to our email list.
Philadelphia Unemployment Project/Unemployed Organizing Committee 215-557-0822 ext 127. www.Philaup.org Join us!