By Carol Rosenblatt, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Executive Director
Today I will be joining unemployed workers, members of labor unions, community activists and members of the religious community on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in a prayer vigil urging Congress to take action before December 31st to extend unemployment benefits. Visits to Congressional offices in DC and throughout the country will also be taking place by activists who will be imploring their representatives to “Do the Right Thing” It is the right thing for the economy, for the country and for individual Americans who are without work through no fault of their own.
The AFL-CIO has just released a web page with the individual stories of some of the unemployed so Congress can see and hear their situation and their struggles – they are not just a statistic.
Here are a few examples:
Juli (Newmanstown, PA) :
“I just lost my job on Friday. Without unemployment, I have no way to feed my two sons, to pay our rent, to try and find another job. Our country has tough choices to make, but this should be easy. Our own country and people should be the top priority of our government so let’s stop bleeding trillions of dollars in pointless, endless wars in the middle east and tax the people and corporations who have the most money and don’t pay at all.”
Rose (Erial, NJ):
“I have worked all my life, except for two years periods where I attended school and potty trained my kids. After twenty years of working and never collecting unemployment, I developed a hernia and was unable to continue in my present job. I have no medical insurance, and my unemployment disqualifies me from food stamps. Without my unemployment I don’t know what I will do, or where I will go. I am a full-time student seeking work and working towards a degree. I have done all I’m supposed to do, can’t congress do its job?”
To see personal stories from members from the Coalition of Labor Union Women please check out today’s HerVotes Blog Carnival.
In addressing how unemployment impacts families, the National Employment Law Project’s Briefing Paper “Hanging On By a Thread” states….”the number of people protected against destitution has increased nearly sevenfold since 2007 thanks to the unemployment program. They go onto say..”the federal investment in unemployment benefits has an immediate payoff for those kept out of poverty, but it also produces long-term dividends for children and families given the social costs associated with child poverty and severe economic hardship. Children who experience economic hardship are more likely to drop out of school, suffer from poor health, and experience difficulty maintaining stable employment as adults. The National Center for Children in Poverty has documented the invaluable role that economic stability plays in laying the groundwork for later school achievement, economic productivity, and responsible citizenship.”
And how are women doing in this economic crisis – not good at all.
According to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center – women lost 46,000 jobs from December 2007 – June 2009 while men gained 1.26 million.
Over the course of the recovery, women’s overall unemployment increased from 7.7 to 7.8 percent.
Heavy job losses in public sector employment have disproportionately affected women. While women represented just over half (57.2 percent) of the public workforce at the end of the recession, they lost a disproportionately high number of jobs there. Between June 2009 and October 2011 women lost 359,000 public sector jobs, 63.9 percent of all public sector jobs lost.
So what is Congress waiting for – this should be a no- brainer!! Extend Unemployment Insurance benefits now and while you are at it how about passing the American Jobs Act! We want to work – how about a little help!!
Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.