It isn’t easy being a hostage from your job for even one day, let alone for more than 128 days. It is even harder to stomach and listen to the insincere apologies and excuses we have heard from certain lawmakers who lack the basic understanding of how our unemployment compensation system is funded, works, is administered and what the rules are for determining eligibility for UC benefits.
Since I was furloughed, I have survived cancer, but while my hair has grown back and my energy level has improved, my life still hangs in the balance. With my COBRA health insurance payments costing almost half of my monthly income, I can no longer afford my home.
The general assembly has approved $15 million in temporary funding — lawmakers and the public need to understand that without a long-term funding solution there will be additional UC Service Center closures beyond the three that were closed last December. The lines and delays we witnessed recently will double without the funding our UC system requires. Long-term funding would come from a trust fund to which employers and employees both contribute. Not a single cent would come from the general fund, and it does not involve increasing taxes on the residents of Pennsylvania.
Without our union we would never have had a chance to fight for our jobs, or protect the unemployed. It’s time for lawmakers in Harrisburg to “Finish the UC Fix.”
Penny M. Erney,