TUESDAY, 2/14: Local Workers Announce Push for Permanent Access to Unemployment Support

Workers and advocates call for expanding safety net access to self-employed workers and freelancers, cash economy workers in fields of domestic work and day labor, workers recently released from incarceration, and workers without work authorization.

ITHACA – Local workers, advocates, and elected officials will launch a push at a Press Conference on Tuesday, February 14th @ 2 p.m. @ Plumbers & Pipefitters Building, 701 W. MLK/State Street, Ithaca, to provide workers with permanent access to financial assistance when they lose work, and recognizing the value of the labor of the workers who presently are not entitled to Unemployment Insurance.

Workers and advocates will call on Governor Kathy Hochul and Albany leaders to include $500 million in the state budget for the Unemployment Bridge Program, a program that would run in parallel to the state’s unemployment insurance program and provide workers with $1,200 monthly if they lose work, on par with the average UI rate offered to other workers. A report from the Immigration Research Initiative in January estimated that 750,000 workers across New York would be eligible for the program, including 180,000 self-employed and freelance workers.

WHAT: Finger Lakes/Southern Tier campaign launch for the Unemployment Bridge Program

  • Gabriella Carr, TCWC Associate Coordinator;
  • Carlos Gutierrez, Midstate Council for Occupational Safety and Health;
  • Lucy Williams, immigrant worker;
  • Keegan Young, Ultimate ReEntry Opportunity and Cornell Prison Education Program;
  • Ian Greer, Senior Researcher @ Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations School;
  • Jorge Defendini, Ithaca City Council Member.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 14th from 2-245 p.m.
WHERE: Plumbers & Pipefitters Building, located at 701 W. MLK/State Street in downtown Ithaca, at the corner of S. Meadow, Route 13, Ithaca
LIVESTREAM: A livestream of the event will be available on the Facebook page of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center.

Together, the changes would transform our state’s unemployment assistance – and could reverberate nationwide. Before President Franklin Roosevelt passed unemployment insurance into law in 1935, states like Wisconsin led the way, creating state-based programs that would serve as the basis of the national law. Colorado passed a permanent excluded worker UI program in 2022. Now, New York has a chance to follow this history, updating our UI system to reflect our modern economic realities.