Legislature passes bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits

SALEM - The Oregon Legislator unanimously passed a bill that will provide extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for dislocated workers enrolled in retraining programs. House Bill 3759-A was a top priority of the Oregon AFL-CIO this session.

"This bill offers an extra pair of boot straps for dislocated workers who don't qualify for trade-related retraining benefits; if they sign up for retraining, they'll be eligible for an extra 26 weeks of benefits to support them and their families while they develop new skills and prepare for new jobs in their communities," said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tim Nesbitt.

The bill passed the Senate June 25 on a vote of 28-0. The House unanimously passed the bill two weeks earlier. It now heads to the governor for signing.

HB 3759-A authorizes an extra 26 weeks of benefits in addition to the basic 26 weeks available under the UI program for workers whose layoffs are defined by circumstances not covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement/Trade Act benefits.

The bill allocates $12.5 million for the supplemental benefits, with the money coming from unemployment insurance premiums paid by employers. The Employment Department estimates the extension would help 1,165 workers a year who have exhausted their regular benefits.

Dislocated workers from around the state made headlines when they turned out in Salem 30-strong in April and 100-strong earlier this month to tell their stories to their legislators and the media.

"We're pleased that we were able to build bipartisan support for this bill," said Nesbitt, "but it took the involvement of the affected workers to get us there."

July 6, 2001 issue

Home | About

© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.