Pittsburgh: Unemployed Workers Struggle with Loss of Benefits

Photo credit: Bytemarks

By Peter Garland

In the wake of the Biden administration’s decision to not extend the expanded federal unemployment benefits last week, workers across the country are struggling to make ends meet. Contrary to the lies of the monopoly media and politicians, unemployed workers are actively seeking to return to work but face numerous barriers, including mass closures of workplaces, lack of affordable childcare, and a bureaucratic system that neglects their needs.

Tribune spoke with unemployed workers in the Pittsburgh area about their experiences losing unemployment benefits.

Erin, an unemployed mother of two, said: “I’ve had no money for rent bills. With my two children I do not know what to do. My job’s closed down forever, so is my fiance’s, so we have no child care available for them, nothing.”

Also speaking to the difficulty of losing benefits with children to take care of, another unemployed mother, Chelsey, explained: “It has impacted my family. Unemployment is over. I can’t find a job, and if my son’s school goes back to virtual I can’t work. I already got an email saying there was a case in his school. How am I supposed to pay my bills? We are living with my mom because of COVID and I can’t even find a place of our own. Things are so screwed up and it’s taken a toll especially with us parents.”

Brad, a driller who was laid off from Southwestern Energy, explained the frustration of dealing with the unemployment system as well as companies that refused to hire him:

“When I appealed my unemployment benefits expiring I was never assigned to anyone from the unemployment office and my claim was left there for five to seven months in limbo. I got a docket number and promised a call back that hasn’t happened yet.”

“My situation on the jobs is about as bad. I have applied for over 400 or more jobs and did interviews. The interviews went great until the end when they said I was ‘overqualified’—in terms meant they couldn’t pay me what I previously made. That’s borderline discrimination. I knew what the jobs paid when I applied for them. I was fine with what they paid, I just needed an income. I just can’t fathom how people are making ends meet. Most people didn’t even have that to fall back on. We are all written off with big fancy words or terms to hide the State’s mistakes.”


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