Workers in Philly demand extensions as PA unemployment deadline looms
PUA, FPUC and PEUC will come to an end on Sept. 5, 2021, potentially affecting upwards of 500,000 workers.
On Sunday, Sept. 5, nearly 500,000 workers in Pennsylvania will lose their unemployment benefits, according to a report by the New Century Foundation.
Across the country, 7.5 million people will lose these benefits as well. The federal programs that will end on Sep. 5 are: Pandemic Unemployment Assistant (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
All Unemployment Compensation (UC) systems are ACTIVE.
UC Biweekly Claims
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) Biweekly Claims
Extended Benefits (EB) Biweekly Claims
Thank you for your patience! pic.twitter.com/OU7VKnDlbf
— PA Department of Labor & Industry (@PALaborIndustry) January 1, 2021
PUA allows traditionally ineligible workers (including gig workers) and others who lost income due to COVID-19 to receive financial aid. FPUC provides $300 weekly in supplemental income to complement the state-provided unemployment benefits.
PEUC granted additional weeks of benefits to those who are still unemployed after exhausting state benefits, which usually last 26 weeks.
But on the day before Labor Day in Pennsylvania, 179,317 long-term unemployed individuals will lose PEUC and 311,143 will lose their PUA aid.
Meanwhile, the federal eviction moratorium extension was blocked by the Supreme Court, foreclosures are ending, and the Delta-variant is perpetuating the danger of the pandemic.
Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, which represents over 100 unions and 150,000 working people in Philly, contends that these cuts are arriving way too early, particularly because the unemployment rate is still significantly higher than it was pre-pandemic.
Black and Latino workers will be disproportionately impacted by these cuts, as their unemployment rates remain much higher than that of white workers.
Unemployment benefits contribute over $6 billion weekly to the economy, and without the assistance, this amount will crash down to only $1 billion per week.
At a rally outside of the U.S Labor Department on Tuesday, Aug. 24, Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, publicly stated their demands to the city. They want federal unemployment assistance to continue until the end of the year or until the pandemic is under control.
Patrick Eiding, president of the organization, spoke at the rally about the problem at hand and how the city needs to recognize workers and properly assist them during the prolonged global crisis.
“These folks that are looking to hold on to their unemployment until they get a callback to their jobs… that’s what they’ve done for years. They’ve worked hard to take care of their families. They didn’t ask for any handouts, they went to work every day. And they want to go to work again every day, but until they can, we need to give them the same help we gave everybody else,” Eiding said.
— aldianews (@ALDIANews) August 24, 2021
While the group of protesters was small, their messages were bold and their spirit was mighty. Participants brought signs that read: “How long should people wait?” and “These checks feed my family.”
The group also marched in a circle, chanting pro-worker slogans, such as “extend benefits now.”
Leaders of the rally encouraged bystanders to join the cause by visiting tinyurl.com/extenduc to write a letter to their representatives, urging them to extend unemployment benefits.
“It’s important that we get as many letters to our representatives as we can so they can hear our voices. Because I haven’t seen much in the news lately. This is an emergency that demands as much attention as it was getting last year,” one leader said.