Feb 23, 2024 | News Story

OpEd: Jobless Benefits Must Be Raised

"Every year, roughly 400,000 New Yorkers lose their jobs through no fault of their own. That’s where unemployment insurance is supposed to come in, as a short-term safety net to ensure that losing your job doesn’t mean losing your home. But with the maximum unemployment benefit capped at just $504 per week and with a two-week penalty imposed on striking workers, New York’s unemployment safety net lets too many people fall into poverty," write NY Hotel & Gaming Trades Council President Rich Maroko and NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento in a Daily News OpEd published this week.

"Making matters even worse, there is a union penalty built into the system. When union workers are out of work because of a strike to demand fair wages or to protest mistreatment, they are forced to wait an additional two weeks before becoming eligible for unemployment benefits. That means they have to wait nearly a month when you add in the one week waiting period all workers have. The last thing we should be doing is punishing people who are out of work because they are standing up to injustice on the job."

"Albany has the power to right fix this problem. Lawmakers can eliminate the union penalty and they can surely increase unemployment benefits to a level that provides real financial security." Read the full OpEd here.