As the legislative lame duck session comes to an end, labor, business, and legislative leaders have come together to announce a compromise that will begin a more thorough discussion about fixing Ohio's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund insolvency issues.
During a Dec. 6, 2016 press conference, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga stated support for the compromise and the decision to take this issue up next session instead of lame duck and to include labor in the ensuing deliberations. Burga said his "goal will be to achieve solvency of the fund to ensure that unemployment benefits are available to those in need now and into the future."
He pledged that the AFL-CIO will be at the table representing working people and will put forth a good faith effort to achieve solvency of the fund in a fair and balanced way.
Activists have been aggressively lobbying members of the Ohio House and Senate, urging them to vote to protect unemployment compensation. UC reform legislation in several forms in both the House and Senate proposed potentially cutting unemployment compensation from 26 weeks to as little as 12 weeks for out-of-work Ohioans and cutting benefits to dependents.
Burga thanked all the activists who worked diligently to speak out against the legislation that attempted to rush through a UC fix, calling the outcome the result of “Labor Unity.”
Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga’s full statement:
Speaker Rosenberger held a press conference today to say that a compromise has finally been reached that will bring labor, business, and legislative leaders to the table to discuss and hopefully fix Ohio's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund insolvency. The compromise scraps House Bill 620 and Senate Bill 274, as well as amends Senate Bill 235 to include the following provisions: freezing maximum benefits and increasing the taxable wage base to $9,500, beginning January 1st of 2018 and lasting two years. There is also an understanding that Labor and Business will work together on a compromise bill by April 1st of next year.
During the press conference President Burga stated support of the state federation for the compromise and the decision to take this issue up next session instead of “lame duck” and to include Labor in the ensuing deliberations. Burga stated that his goal will be to achieve solvency of the fund to ensure that unemployment benefits are available to those in need now and into the future. He pledged that the state federation will be at the table representing working people and will put forth a good faith effort to achieve solvency of the fund in a fair and balanced way.
We are appreciative of all of the workers, worker representatives and allied partners that weighed in over the last two years on this important issue and were instrumental in the result which the Speaker laid out. The odds were long in holding this bill off until the next General Assembly convenes and actually getting Labor to the table as a stakeholder. Yet, that is the outcome because of Labor Unity. Thank you.
Read news about the press conference: Toledo Blade - UC Press Conference Columbus Dispatch - UC Bill to be halted