DES MOINES, IOWA (February 23, 2021) — Iowans spoke out against cuts to unemployment being proposed in the Iowa House and Senate. These Iowans oppose SSB 1172 and HSB 203, which would institute a one-week waiting-period, reduces benefits for many families on unemployment, and cuts thirteen weeks from the number of weeks that someone who is the victim of a plant- or business-closing can collect.
“I implore you, to stop and think about the impact these changes would have on working-class Iowans and their families. These are Iowans that are counting on their elected legislators to do what is not only ‘necessary’ in providing working Iowans with beneficial unemployment availability, to benefit them and their families in difficult times, but to do what is ‘Just and Right, for ‘All’ of our working-class Iowans,’” said Carrie Duncan, a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 1010.
"I endured a plant closure that took away the careers of almost 300 of my friends and co-workers. Unemployment insurance was the lifeline we desperately needed to transition to new employment. This proposed legislation is an attack on all Iowa workers and will directly impact our local economies," said Scott Punteney, a former member of the United Steel Workers, current member of BCTGM, and president of the Western Iowa Labor Federation.
“I was 51 years old and had faithfully worked for my employer for 27 years when I was informed that my plant was closing. I and 900 other employees were devastated. I had many fears and concerns at that time. What do I do? Where do I look for work? I had kids getting ready to go to college. I had to find help to put together a resume. I looked for an employer that paid comparable wages. How many employers want to hire a 51-year-old woman with a high-school education and no other skills than working in a factory?” said Kelli Harrison, a UAW 893 member.
The Iowa Federation of Labor believes that these cuts to unemployment are unneeded and unnecessary in good times and are especially egregious when we are facing both a public health disaster as well as an economic disaster brought on by the COVID-19 virus. The Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO as well as its affiliate unions and other AFL-CIO bodies in this state, oppose these cuts and urge their fellow Iowans to contact their legislators to let them know that Iowa families can’t continue to suffer while big business profits from this crisis.