MEDIA ADVISORY: Before it's too late: Today's press conference highlights bills that could aid North Carolina's unemployed workers, need action prior to May 16 cross-over deadline

WHAT: Press conference to highlight legislation that could aid jobless NC workers, but need to see legislative action prior to cross-over
WHO: The North Carolina Justice Center, AFL-CIO, Action NC, and others
WHEN: Monday, May 13, 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Press Briefing Room, North Carolina General Assembly, 16 W. Jones Street, Raleigh

RALEIGH (May 13, 2013) — As the May 16th “cross-over” deadline for legislative action approaches, organizations including the NC Justice Center, NC AFL-CIO, Action NC and others will host a press conference this morning, Monday, May 13, to urge lawmakers to take action on bills currently pending at the North Carolina General Assembly that could aid those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Unless the General Assembly acts on these bills prior to Thursday’s deadline, they will become ineligible for consideration through the remainder of the legislative session, effectively killing these important measures—and badly needed assistance for our state’s unemployed.

As long as unemployed workers outnumber available job openings by 3-to-1, North Carolina cannot wait on action for the unemployed.  Despite dropping last month, North Carolina’s unemployment rate remains stuck above 9 percent—the fifth highest in the country. There are simply not enough jobs for North Carolina’s job seekers, a challenge made worse by the passage of House Bill 4 in February. HB 4 slashed maximum benefit amounts and the maximum number of weeks of benefits, and will cut federal funded extended benefits for North Carolina workers on July 1.

Four bills are being considered at the General Assembly that would correct the glaring problems with HB 4 and help provide unemployed workers with the support they need to make ends meet until more jobs become available. The General Assembly must act on these bills before the Thursday cross-over deadline:

  • Providing work sharing options for employers (SB 645) would establish a work sharing program in North Carolina
  • Protecting and supporting the unemployed (HB 737) would protect unemployed workers against discrimination and provide a tax credit to employers who hire unemployed workers
  • Banning the use of credit history in hiring and firing (HB 815) bars discrimination in hiring and the terms of employment based on credit history or a credit report
  • Extending federal emergency benefits (HB 922) changes the effective date of changes made to the unemployment insurance structure through HB 4 from claims filed on July 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014

Rep. Larry Hall, MaryBe McMillian of the AFL-CIO, and Allan Freyer, Public Policy Analyst for the NC Justice Center’s Budget & Tax Center, will address unemployment data and current legislation at the conference. An unemployed worker will also speak at the event.

Click here for a factsheet on four ways to help unemployed workers and North Carolina's struggling economy.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Allan Freyer, allan@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2151; Jeff Shaw, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).