HOW TO APPLY FOR EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
On March 9, President Bush signed into law a federally funded 13-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits. Since last month’s Legislative Update reported on this, 802 has received many questions from members regarding eligibility and application.
These are the requirements for New York State Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation: First, claimants must be unemployed through no fault of their own. Second, the claimant must have exhausted his or her regular unemployment insurance benefits. Third, the claimant must have had a claim with a benefit year ending date of March 15, 2001, or later, or have filed an initial claim for benefits after March 15, 2001. Last, the claimant must meet basic state eligibility requirements such as being ready, willing and able to work.
Claimants whose benefit year ending date has passed will be instructed to file by calling the Telephone Claims Center (1-888-209-8124) or going to the Department’s web site (www.labor.state.ny.us) and following the instructions for filing a new claim.
Claimants whose benefit year ending date has not passed and who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular benefits will be instructed to file by calling the Tel-Service number they have been calling each week to certify for benefits or by going to the Department’s web site and following the instructions to claim weekly benefits.
Individuals who are currently employed should not quit a job to file for extended benefits. This will result in disqualification.
VOTE NO ON FAST TRACK
The United States Senate is currently considering Fast Track legislation. Last year the House of Representatives passed a Fast Track bill by a one-vote margin. Opponents argue that this legislation would block Congress from stopping bad trade deals negotiated by the President, thus making it possible for agreements with no provisions aimed at protecting workers’ rights or the environment to become law. NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, is estimated to have cost the United States three-quarters of a million jobs and job opportunities.
The NYC Central Labor Council is urging all union members to call their senators, toll-free, at 877-611-0063. Urge them to vote against the Senate Fast Track legislation (HR-3005) and to support amendments to the bill that would strengthen workers’ rights provisions.
CITY COUNCIL HEARS TESTIMONY ON LIVING WAGE BILL
On April 23, the New York City Council heard testimony on living wage legislation (Intro 66-A) that would guarantee health benefits and a decent salary for low-wage employees of companies that are awarded city contracts or receive city subsidies.
Under the bill, workers who are covered by a health plan would be paid $8.10 per hour for fiscal year 2003. Employers who do not provide health care benefits would be required to add at least $1.50 to the hourly rate. The living wage would increase incrementally over the next few years and eventually be indexed to inflation.
“This city law can have a far-reaching impact on the lives of many low-wage workers who provide important publicly subsidized services throughout the city,” said Speaker Gifford Miller, a prime sponsor of the bill. “As legislators, we should ensure that the jobs created out of work funded by the city provide people with an opportunity to earn a living.”
CITY BUDGET GAP COULD REACH $6 BILLION
According to a report released by New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson on May 9, New York City’s budget gap could top $6 billion – a billion dollars more than the mayor’s office has projected.
The comptroller predicts that the budget gap will grow for two basic reasons: the city will take in less in taxes than the mayor expects because the economy will be slow to recover, and it will need to spend more than expected on overtime, pension costs, labor contracts, public assistance and legal judgments. The comptroller also predicted that much of the federal and state assistance that the city is expecting is not likely to materialize.