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One Week Unemployment Insurance for Striking Workers

One Week Unemployment Insurance for Striking Workers (Wallace A.1443 / Kennedy S.4402)

Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers have a legally protected right to organize, collectively bargain and strike in order to improve working conditions and benefits and wages - however, these rights are weakened by extended waiting periods for necessary benefits like unemployment insurance. 

The Problem

  • In New York State, workers eligible for unemployment insurance must only wait one-week prior to receiving benefits. However, striking workers must wait two weeks for benefits to start.
  • Increased waiting periods threaten the financial security of striking workers and weaken workers’ rights to organize, collectively bargain and strike.  
  • Recently, CWA nurses went on strike for more than a month in Buffalo, NY. During almost half of this period, they were not eligible for UI benefits. As a result, our members were at a significant disadvantage and relied on our strike fund for basic necessities like food and rent. 

The Solution

  • The bill decreases the suspension period to apply for unemployment insurance benefits for striking workers from two weeks to one week thereby protecting workers’ rights to organize, bargain and strike.