MEDIA RELEASE: Justice Center applauds Gov. Perdue's move to halt the political game with unemployed workers

Justice Center applauds Gov. Perdue's move to halt the political game with unemployed workers
Executive Order No. 93 would extend federally-funded unemployment benefits to eligible workers and families who’ve been without them since mid-April

RALEIGH (June 3)
—In a move experts called necessary to aid workers who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own, Governor Beverly Perdue issued Executive Order No. 93 today directing the state’s Employment Security Commission to begin issuing federally-funded unemployment benefits to the more than 47,000 workers who’ve been without them since mid-April.

Observers hailed the Executive Order as a necessary step to extend the unemployment benefits and aid thousands of workers and their families around the state who’ve been struggling during the Great Recession.

“North Carolina faces a jobs shortfall of more than 460,000 as of last month,” noted Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the NC Budget & Tax Center. “Unemployment Insurance benefits were and once again will be a crucial lifeline to the more than 47,000 workers in the state who saw their unemployment benefits cut off in April because of political gamesmanship.”

Because of a quirk in federal law, states have had to act to authorize extended unemployment benefits once a state’s unemployment rate dips below a certain level. Despite there being straightforward legislation in the state House to extend benefits, legislative leadership have repeatedly tried to pass the extension tied to a drastic overall state budget cut.

“Finally, there is hope and opportunity today for the more than 47,000 families who’ve been taken hostage by political maneuvering in the legislature,” added Harry Payne, former head of the Employment Security Commission and the Department of Labor and now Senior Counsel on Law and Policy at the NC Justice Center. “There was no reason to subject these struggling families to this game but let’s hope the game is done.”

For more information, contact: Alexandra Forter Sirota, alexandra@ncjustice.org, (919) 861-1468; or (919) 801-0465; Harry Payne, harry@ncjustice.org, (919) 856-1461; or Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center, jeff@ncjustice.org, (919) 863-2402 (office) (503) 551.3615 (mobile).