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Are You A Striking Union Worker In The USA?

Updated : September 29th, 2020

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 was approved for extended benefits after exhausting PUA and the 26 weeks UI in Ohio. I have been looking for work, but also have had major health challenges and am finding getting back to “normal” slow going. I have a EB approval letter, and am currently receiving payments. When I look at the EB payment stub it shows my payment amount, and then the remaining approved amount (diminished by the weekly payment). So… do I get to exhaust the balance stated (which would take the weekly payments into 2021), or do my extended benefit payments expire on Dec 26 with the Federal program?

  2. I’m considering moving from MA to another state to pursue available work. I CAN NOT get hold of a human or find any info online about the ramifications of transferring my residence. Is there any information available that I’m missing or anyone having gone through the process of moving while collecting unemployment?

  3. I accidentally filed my UI unemployment amount wrong. I wrote that I made 25k last year when it was more like 12k with the pandemic problems. The issue was that I included my student loans in my income amount. Now I’m concerned about it being audited and how to fix this. I know I will have to pay back an amount but this is a lot of stress. I cannot get ahold of anyone in a timely manner and so I am wondering if anyone has an idea as to how to fix this appropriately?

    1. Ashley,

      I suggest you check the “Resources” section of the official website of the Unemployment Office or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if feasible.

  4. my benefit in missouri ru has exhausted they send me a letter about my peuc until dec 26 2020 how long it take to receive peuc

    1. Debra,

      The processing will certainly take a couple of weeks of time owing to the pendency. Please keep checking/following up at regular intervals.

  5. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

    1. I’m having similar issue.. I was accepted and was receiving payments for three months.. then it was stopped 5 weeks ago to check a possibility of fraud.. there was a determination to confirm my identity again.. this after the same office gives me insurance and food help and was taking partial of money to pay two different child support claims.. they don’t think I’m who I say I am.. and it just sits there pending.. what can be done to get this fixed.

  6. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much
    Lorraine

  7. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  8. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  9. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  10. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  11. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  12. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  13. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  14. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  15. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  16. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  17. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  18. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  19. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    Inbox
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

    1. Again basically I’ve also been put on hold for a ridiculously stupid reason.. Why can’t this issue be quickly handled. Is the any where we can get action if we already were receiving benefits and have been stopped suddenly

      1. Greg,

        I can understand your frustration. The Unemployment Office might be inundated with pending requests. Please visit the website to find the answers.

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