Pressure to overhaul unemployment

DALLAS, Texas – Jim Lange has worked at LTV for 27 years and the company has filed for bankruptcy twice.

“Each time the union has made concessions in order to keep the outfit going,” Lange said. “But one of these days they’ll shut it down and we’ll all be out of work and have to depend on unemployment insurance to keep us going – and the way things are with unemployment insurance that’s going to be impossible, all of which means we have to modernize it.”

Lange said it is up to Congress to overhaul the system and “it’s up to us to see that they do.” That’s why he and his co-workers are circulating the following resolution demanding that Congress pass a stimulus package with strong language – and sufficient money – to deal with the plight of the unemployed:

Whereas: The Unemployment Insurance (UI) system was enacted into law during the Great Depression of the 1930s as the result of a fierce struggle by the unemployed for basic economic justice, and

Whereas: UI was designed to help protect the incomes and well-being of workers and their families when the economic system failed to provide gainful employment, and Whereas: There has been no overall or comprehensive federal updating of the UI system since the 1930’s, even though the American economy has changed dramatically, and

Whereas: The system is woefully inadequate to meet the challenge of the times and is broken and scattered into an unequal patchwork of state systems, with wide disparities, and gross inequalities in coverage and benefits from state-to- state, and

Whereas: Fewer than 40 percent of those losing their job receive any kind of UI benefits, and Whereas: Hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers who managed to get benefits are now exhausting them, and

Whereas: Congress acted quickly to bail out corporations hit by the terrorist attacks and the economic recession, with no aid provided working families laid off by these same corporations, now

Therefore, be it resolved: That [local union or organization] calls on Congress and the president to enact legislation to update, reform and modernize the unemployment insurance system into a single federal program, providing equal and adequate income and support levels for workers and their families in times of economic crisis, and

Be it further Resolved: That such reform include as a minimum: Full and livable benefits for the duration of unemployment for those who want to work, coverage for first time jobseekers and part-time workers, full coverage for all and provide grants to cover Medicaid costs for all unemployed workers and their families, and

Be it further Resolved: That copies of this resolution be sent to our congressional delegation and the president, calling on them to introduce and sponsor such legislation with a reply to us in a timely way as to their intentions.