Advocates Urge Rep. Nan Hayworth to Support Renewal of Funding for Unemployment Insurance
HVALF President Paul Ellis-Graham, Hudson Catskill Vice President Sparrow Tobin and the Rev. Alex Lever at the Prayer Vigil for the Unemployed--Click Here for More Pictures
Orange County labor, faith and community leaders joined Thursday in Goshen in a prayer vigil for the unemployed outside the office of Congresswoman Nan Hayworth. Hayworth's office was closed at the time of the press conference, 3PM. As families prepare for the holiday, a new report released by the AFL-CIO shows that 126,000 New Yorkers will lose their unemployment benefits on December 31st if Congress fails to act to extend unemployment insurance.
“God of justice, be with those who are unemployed. Let us support them and their families in their time of need by renewing our commitment to the safety net,” said the Rev. Alex Lever of the First Presbyterian Church of Monroe.
“Congress must not let funding for unemployment insurance expire. I have been looking for work for many months now. Our families, friends and neighbors are counting on this safety net. We need a clean vote, not political games,” said Ken Newbold, an unemployed electrician from Goshen, NY, in a statement.
“The government should be focusing on the creation of jobs rather than the cutting of benefits to those who have lost jobs. The loss of funds to those who are in need is not only detrimental to the individual but to the entire community,” said Ron Iarossi, President of the Beacon Chamber of Commerce, in a statement.
“If Congress sits on its hands, up to 6 million families could lose their unemployment benefits by the end of 2012. In these days of corporate bankruptcies, budget cuts and mass layoffs, anyone of us could be unemployed tomorrow. We ask Congresswoman Hayworth to renew unemployment insurance before the deadline and why we insist on a clean vote. We will not tolerate working families economic security being turned into a political football,” said Paul Ellis-Graham, President of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation.
“Since the start of this recession in 2008, nearly 200,000 workers in the Hudson Valley have relied on unemployment insurance at some point, including 30,000 here in Orange County. We are here to ask Congresswoman Hayworth to renew funding for unemployment insurance and not to turn her back on our family, friends and neighbors this holiday season,” said Sparrow Tobin, Vice President of the Hudson-Catskill Central Labor Council.
The average benefit provided by the federal extension amounts to $296 a week, which covers a family’s minimum expenses for survival. That money is pumped directly back into the local economy when jobless workers pay for groceries, transportation, utilities, and housing. Currently, one in 4,892 homes in New York face foreclosure and the problem will only worsen if federal unemployment insurance extension is not passed.