AFSCME Ohio Council and labor leaders from across Ohio participated in the recent Ohio AFL-CIO Lobby Day as part of a two-year effort to derail harsh legislation aimed at slashing unemployment benefits for Ohio workers.
Aimed at making the system solvent after years of employers short changing the fund, the bill’s cuts fell on the backs of workers. The original bill introduce early in the session would have cut benefits down form 26 weeks to only 12 weeks. In addition, new rules would have made it easier for employers to discharge workers and harder for the jobless to qualify for benefits.
“Labor showed its strength and through a sustained effort we were able to keep this bad bill bottled up most of the session,” said AFSCME Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis. “We were prepared when this bill came up in the lame duck session. Our work resulted in the bill being pulled and replaced with new legislation,” he said.
While the new bill would still cut benefits—reportedly from 26 to 20 weeks—it does raise rates employers will pay. Other objectionable side issues were removed from the bill.
While the new bill isn’t perfect, there is still time for political mischief before the end of the session, Davis said. “We still need to keep the pressure on so this new bill stays on course with no ‘poison pill’ amendments. We still need you to contact your legislator to tell them how critical the unemployment compensation safety net is for working families,” he said.
You can call your Senator or Representative toll free. Call 1-844-213-8172, ask for your legislator and you will be connected to their office.
Tell them that the unemployment compensation safety net for working families is critical – No Cuts!