MEDIA RELEASE: AFL-CIO, NC Justice Center ask lawmakers to take action, keep families from going over unemployment cliff

RALEIGH (June 3, 2013) – As President Obama readies to visit North Carolina as part of his “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour,” two local nonprofits are asking legislators to take action on behalf of the more than 70,000 out of work North Carolinians who are at risk of being pushed over the unemployment cliff on July 1.

The North Carolina Justice Center and AFL-CIO NC sent a letter to North Carolina lawmakers on Monday, asking them to reverse the damage done by House Bill 4, which cut North Carolina’s unemployment benefits beginning on July 1, 2013. After that date, North Carolina will become the only state in the U.S. to lose the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (EUC), which is 100 percent funded and currently provides unemployment benefits to over 70,000 out of work North Carolinians who have exhausted their state benefits.

"These individuals who are looking for work will be abruptly cut off from the benefits they rely on to pay their rents and mortgages and to feed their families,” the letter reads. “Moreover, this will almost certainly undermine any ongoing economic recovery efforts in North Carolina with hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits being lost.”

Such a catastrophe could be averted by delaying the state benefit cuts laid out in HB 4 until January 2014, the letter said. North Carolina currently has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the country, with three workers for every job available. At a time when so many North Carolinians are struggling to find work, the loss of federal benefits through the end of the year will affect thousands of individuals and families across the state, not tom mention local businesses and retailers who need consumers to demand their goods and services.

“The decision to shut down federal EUC in North Carolina is without precedent nationally – both as a self-inflicted wound to the state’s economy and as an act of government callousness,” the letter reads.

The full letter can be read at this link.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Rowe, Director of Advocacy,, 919.649.6766 (cell); Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications,, 503.551.3615 (cell).