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24,400 in Washington face cutoff of jobless benefits at year’s end

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 19, 2013) — As Congress heads home for the holidays without reauthorizing the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, more than 24,400 unemployed workers in Washington state will lose their unemployment benefits on Dec. 28 when EUC expires, according to the state Employment Security Department. An additional 37,600 state residents will lose their coverage in the first six months of 2014 unless the program is extended.

Unemployment-InsuranceSince being activated in July 2008, EUC has paid about $6.3 billion in federally funded unemployment benefits to more than 452,000 jobless workers in this state. That money has circulated in local businesses, boosted local economies, and helped preserve jobs in every county of the state. Now that money — and that economic boost — are about to disappear.

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is urging elected representatives to return to session immediately to help the economy and preserve this vital lifeline for the families of jobless workers searching for employment. All five Democratic members of Congress from Washington are on record as supporting an extension of the EUC. All four Republicans have been silent on the issue as House Speaker John Boehner (R) adjourned for the holiday without bringing an EUC extension to a vote.

“Inaction on unemployment benefits severs the safety net for struggling families and harms our economy,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “This should not be a partisan issue. Extending federal unemployment benefits is necessary for families and for businesses, and it’s the right thing to do.”

TAKE A STAND! Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-6th), who is calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R) to come back in session and extend EUC, will hold a roundtable discussion with workers on the issue starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20 at the IBEW Hall, 3049 S. 36th St. in Tacoma. Please RSVP to Stephen Carter via email or by calling (202) 225-3459.

Congressional inaction before Dec. 28 would end support for more than 1.3 million jobless workers nationally, while costing the economy 240,000 jobs nationwide because of decreased consumer demand. This heavy blow to a struggling economy is the latest unnecessary economic crisis after sequestration and the government shutdown.

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