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Are You A Striking Union Worker In The USA?

The unemployment ratio in the USA has been showing a deteriorating nature but at a very slow pace. Despite sinking oil prices and a rally on the wall street, the unemployment rate in the USA has sunk below 5% for the first time in the past eight years. “The United States Of America right now has the strongest, most durable economy in the world”, says Obama, the president. With the longest streak of the private sector and more than 14 million new jobs being introduced, the economy is the strongest over the past two years.

Striking Union Worker

Yet, if you are one among the 4.9% of the unemployed bunch or a striking union worker, here’s everything that you would want to know when you apply for the unemployment benefits; the requirements and eligibility that would qualify you for the same.

Can You Collect Unemployment Benefits?

Unemployment benefits are social benefit programs that are paid by the government to eligible workers between 40-50% of their previous salary. The fund paid by the government is contributed largely by the state and federal payroll taxes levied against employees to workers who are unemployed due to no fault of their own.

Unemployment Benefits For Striking Workers In USA

In most of the places across the globe, striking workers are not eligible to collect benefits because the government considers them to have left their job voluntarily. A bill emerged during a six-week strike involving Verizon workers, who walked off the job in protest of telecommunications giant’s contract demands. About 4,600 of the 40,000 East Coast employees were on strike work in New Jersey.

Seth Han, a legislative director for the communications workers of America, a union that represents a thousand Verizon call center workers in New Jersey, proposed to pass the bill.

Under this bill approved by the State Senate Labor Committee, workers can access unemployment insurance in labor disputes when an employer violates the terms of an employment contract or the collective bargaining agreement. And striking workers are eligible after a 30-days waiting program if the dispute isn’t promoted by an employer’s failure to comply with contract terms.

Verizon spokesman, Ray mcConville said that the employees on strike do have an option of seeking coverage under Cobra (the federal law that allows people to keep paying their health insurance they lost through work)

Are You Eligible For UI Benefits?

You are eligible for the UI benefits if you fall into any of the following categories-

  • If you are locked out by your employee or laid off due to lack of work because of the strike.
  • If you quit the job during the labor disputes, then you can be eligible to receive the unemployment benefits.
  • If you are fired during the labor disputes.
  • If you are replaced during the labor disputes.
  • If you are a member of a union that is currently on strike and you do not participate in the strike, you may still collect benefits, if you happen to lose your job during the strike. If you are barred from collecting unemployment benefits during the strike, you will become eligible once the work stoppage ends or if your unemployment is not related to the strike.
  • If there is a time lag between when the strike ends and when the employer resumes work, you are eligible to collect unemployment benefits during this period. This generally depends on the nature of the delay.

Factors Affecting Eligibility

The following factors affect the eligibility of an unemployed striking worker-

  • If the unemployed person has made an unconditional offer to return to work after a certain period, then he will not be eligible to receive the unemployment compensation.
  • If an employer is providing any sort of financial aid to the striking union workers, then this makes them ineligible for the same.
  • If an employee is willing to return to the workplace as per the employer’s terms, then he/she become unqualified to receive the benefits.
State To State Difference In The Unemployment Benefits

The fingerprint of no two individuals are the same, they say. Similarly, no two states in the USA provide similar unemployment benefits to the striking workers.

  • In the state of New York, an unemployed striking worker cannot claim the benefits until the union has striked for a duration of 49 days. A week later after filing your application, you will be able to collect your first check.
  • In Texas, the applicant must indicate if he/she is a union member.
  • In California, the agency requires a phone interview for applicants who are involved in a strike, lockout or a labor dispute.

Given above are the requirements in a few states in the US. Similarly, every other state asks for different pieces of information while deciding your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Procedure To File A Claim

Are you unsure about how to register for your unemployment benefits? If so, keep the following things in mind while doing so-

  • Once unemployed, you should contact the State Unemployment Insurance Agency as soon as possible. There are provisions to do the same over a telephone or mail, in some of the states in the US.
  • Accurate details of yourself (which includes your name and permanent address) and of your previous employment should be given when asked for, in order to make sure that your claim is not denied.
  • If you have worked in a state that you are not currently residing in, or in multiple states, the UI agency where you live now can provide information on how to file your claim with other states.
  • Generally, it takes more than a week or two for you to receive your first benefit check. In some states, a waiting period of one week is required.

Is It A Grey Sky Lying Ahead?

“10 years ago I was proud to begin working on bipartisan efforts to save unemployment insurance. Let’s do it again, quickly in this new year.” After four years of rarely weighing in on domestic issues as she served as America’s top diplomat, Clinton is increasingly placing her position on the unemployment benefits issue. The introduction of benefits to striking labor workers is one big move and promises a very bright future.

Despite being a very thoughtful and effective measure, the benefits program for the unemployed striking workers faces uncertainty. A new Rasmussen report on national television and the online survey finds that 57% of likely US voters oppose a law in their state that would allow union workers to collect unemployment workers while on strike. 32% favors the law while 11% are undecided. This leads us to another dilemma as to what is going to happen in the near future.

Yes, the brick has been laid, but what’s to come over it is something that none of us are aware of.

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  1. I applied for unemployment on 8-1 and was approved. I received my letter of eligibility and debit card about a week ago. I did not file my intitial bi weekly claim because I missed the deadline by 1 day (didn’t realize they would be closed on Saturday). When I logged on it said I would have to reopen a claim because mine had been closed. I filled out the online form to deactivate the claim. My question is this: will I have another waiting week? And will unemployment have to contact my employer all over again to verify my wages and go through the entire process all over again or will they just reopen the claim with a new date window to file?

  2. Lost my job in 10/2018 due to plant closure, collected vacation and severance pay. Opened a claim in 1/2019. Got an on the job training job through career link in 5/2019 worked one week and became very sick and was off for two weeks VA could not find anything wrong but gave me medication for the symptoms and an excuse to return to work, prior to returning got a call from my recruiter at career link telling me the position was filled so i did not return. Reopened my claim, a few weeks later got a letter informing me the employer had appealed and said i did not return, had a hearing and the employer did not show but i lost and got a 2500.00 over payment. Got a temp job through an agency but have only worked 4 days in two weeks. Reopened my claim and was told i need to earn 2604.00 from current employer before it can be opened, did i do something wrong? Still applying for work but am days away from losing everything, need income to pay bills. PLEASE HELP

    1. Rodney,

      Your eligibility to claim UI benefits depends on multiple factors including monetary eligibility. If you’ve been officially told about the shortage of earnings, there’s nothing much one can do. If you’re still confident of winning the appeal, please make a strong case.

      1. I live in KY but my base wages were from earnings in GA when I lived there. I’ve exhausted my benefits in KY. Am I able to now file through GA since my earnings through 10/18 came from there?

        1. Dee,

          As much as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance is a one time cycle. Please call the Unemployment Office in GA for more.

  3. The hours at work have been cut due to lack of business for every department.
    So all full-time positions are now part-time.
    How do I file for partial unemployment?
    The only options I see (in Texas) are for full unemployment.

    1. Eric,

      You should be able to claim partial UI benefits. Please consider applying online until full hours are restored.

    1. William,

      If everything goes well, it should not take more than 7-10 business days (waiting week). Please call the Claims Center for more.

  4. I was employed by a VA company for 5 years, my contract ended yesterday (07/31/19), however, I worked remotely for those 5 years and live in FL, which state do I apply to for my unemployment benefits?

    1. Oscar,

      Please check with your employer if they remitted UI taxes into the system. Contract workers are generally not eligible.

        1. Oscar,

          In that case, please go ahead and apply if your employer remitted UI taxes into the system.

    2. You apply in Virginia…however, I worked seasonally and they used a ‘quarter’ that was empty, so even though my employer paid in, I only got a 1/3 of what I should have received. Figured that out later :/ They will also question WHY you aren’t able and available to work IN Virginia. They froze my account for about a month.

  5. I worked 37 years with the same company in Texas. On July 2nd of 2018, I was let go due to workforce reduction. I signed up for benefits several months later and now have drawn my 26 weeks of benefit. Is there any program currently open in Texas or federally that will extend additional money while job seeking?

    1. Lonnie,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  6. I have been an employee of my company for 34 yrs. My position is being eliminated but I have been offered another position for less money. It is a much more physical job that I am not sure I can perform well. I am 75. If I try to fulfill the position and cannot do it, will I still be able to get benefits if I quit? They want me to try it for a couple of weeks to see if I am strong enough and if I can afford the cut in pay.

    1. Lynda,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about eligibility before making a decision on continuation.

      1. I recently lost my job..i was late for work and they took me off the schedule..never told me i was fired..didnt ask for uniforms back. Another cook was andd has been late for work and he didnt get taken off the schedule.can i still get unemployment?

        1. Kandie,

          Please note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment due to no fault of their own. You can call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. Are there any training benefits or programs that will pay for an advanced degree, such as a PhD which is needed to become more employable?

    1. There are multiple training programs administered by the Labor Department in each state. For more info, please call visit the official website of the Unemployment Office.

  8. I’m about to exhaust my Unemployment benefits. I was laid off from my first job and
    found employment then I lost my job and became unemployed again. I applied for benefits and have have almost exhausted my benefits but have not found employment. Can I file for an extension?

    1. Deanna,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  9. After reading your article it’s still not clear to me about requirements surrounding moving to another state and completing/continuing to collect. I have 8 weeks eligibility left, I am moving from MA to FL. The end of your article says: “Since it’s all virtual (online), you may still consider the option of continuing your claims from the base state even if you move to a different one until completion. As a responsible claimant, it’s your duty to inform the base state about your movement to ensure there are no hassles in the near future.”

    So it sounds like even once I am in new state I am eligible to continue to collect from my base state. I can just continue to do my required weekly job search and reporting to and filing in my base state (I do it via phone call-in). No need to complicate things by doing some crazy state transfer of benefits. Benefits also done via direct bank deposit and no need to change anything. Do I even need to tell my base state I am now living in a new state? Why? Thank you.

    1. Paul,

      For the ease of understanding, each state has its specific rules and laws with regard to administering Unemployment Benefits. It might be an obligation for a claimant to inform about the movement. For clarification, please call the Unemployment Office and speak to a representative.

  10. I was recently fired from my work 25-June-2019/due to me not meeting their “standards/ expectations” i submitted my UE claim on 28-June and have not received any pay as of today, 19-July. The status is currently “adjudication in progress,” my question is, should i be worried this will be denied? I read the FAQ on the UE webpage and it said only a couple applications require the adjudication process. How long does this process usually take to get the final answer of whether I’m denied or approved? The website stated it susuallt takes ~25 days for the adjudication process, does this mean once that’s done then i still have to wait another 2-6 weeks for final processing after? THANK YOU SOO MUCH to whomever is able to provide me with some answers/ input.

    Sincerely,
    Talia
    ** this is my first time ever being fired or having to file for unemployment so i really have nooooo idea what is standard or normal or whatever. I feel like an idiot with my simple questions but it would bring me so much relief having them answered, truly

    1. Talia,

      I can understand your reason for the anxiety. Adjudication is a fact-finding process where both the claimant and the employer will get an opportunity to present their case. During this process, make sure to produce supporting documents that amplify your stance. For all you know, the adjudication can be a lengthy process.

      Best Wishes!

  11. I was permanently severanced from my job due to a Co. Reorg & received my last severance pay last week. I called UE & was told that I should now do my application online since I will no longer be getting funds & still without a job & that this coming Sunday regardless of knowing if I will or will not get benefits yet that I should still file a weekly claim in case of UE back pay.
    So my question is, do I still have to report 4 jobs applied to within this week, even if I do not know if I will be approved/denied for benefits until possibly next week anyway?

    1. Lynda,

      You should continue to report the job applications as long as you’ve been asked to do so. There will be a “Waiting Period” and the first payment will take about 7-10 days after which they’ll flow much quicker. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  12. I tried to transfer from one state to another. When I left Montana I was told there would be no problem transferring. When I arrived in North Carolina I had trouble reaching the area manager by phone. When he finally called me back he said to meet him for lunch to discuss when and where I would be working. He did not show up for lunch. Then he never returned any of my calls. I went PA to visit a friend a few weeks later and tried there. I met with the hiring manager and was told there should not be a problem doing the transfer since I was still in the system. I called the store a few times and they said it was still pending. Then I was terminated without even a phone call. Am I eligible for unemployment and if so do I file in Montana or North Carolina. I still have a Montana drivers license but I am living in NC.

    1. Stacey,

      As long as you were unemployed involuntarily, you should be able to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  13. I have worked for 32+ years and recently have become unable to work due to health reasons, so I have had to resign from my job. I have contacted SS and will be able to apply for disability but it will take awhile to process. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in WV.

    1. Sandra,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

  14. I had to quit my job at Walmart in Fairmont West Virginia and moved back to my home state ky, I’ve got a son with drug problems and 3 older sisters that are not doing so well in health cause of their age. I didn’t understand about the transfer part they had at Walmart that I could put a date when I could start back because of my car problems I thought when I left I had to go in like in s few days, I’ve applied here at Walmart in Winchester ky 40391 two times already plus dollar store, speedway, truck stop, bp, a few other places it’s been going on 7 months without a job I live with my son and its getting harder on him paying rent and utilities and food, not to mention our personal hygiene stuff I really need help I have no income coming in to help him and his wife out I get foodstamps and Medicaid I was praying I could qualify for unemployment PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. Vicky,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

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