June 12th, 2020

// Nearly 1.5 Million North Carolinians Remain Jobless, But Tillis Won’t Support Extending Unemployment Benefits That Expire Next Month

Nearly 1.5 Million North Carolinians Remain Jobless, But Tillis Won’t Support Extending Unemployment Benefits That Expire Next Month

Tillis Claims That He’s Fighting for NC’s Jobless, But His Record Tells a Different Story

Loss of Jobs Hurting Black Community, Minorities Particularly Hard

Raleigh, N.C. — Piedmont Rising Executive Director Casey Wilkinson released the following statement as the U.S. Department of Labor reports 44.2 million unemployment claims have been filed since mid-March and nearly 1.5 million North Carolinians remain jobless. 

“The number of jobless claims filed last week are more than twice as high as the highest number of weekly claims filed during the Great Recession. Clearly, too many North Carolinians are out-of-work and still struggling. While Senators Tillis and Burr voted against expanded unemployment benefits that have served as a lifeline during this crisis, they have a chance to support extending this critical support ahead of their expiration next month. Not doing so would be cruel and bad for the economy. Instead of making life harder for working North Carolinians, like they have by voting consistently to raise health care costs, it’s time for Senators Tillis and Burr to support expanded unemployment benefits that help their constituents pay the bills and get by during this crisis. Especially as Black unemployment has risen, now is certainly not the time to leave North Carolinians to fend for themselves.”   

Background

An estimated 44.2 million have filed for unemployment benefits due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, meaning millions will be left without health insurance.

A new report shows that fewer than half of Black people included in the labor force were employed in April, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, further illustrating their greater risk for job losses amid the economic upheaval on top of higher rates of COVID-19, which has now killed more than 100,000 people in the US. 

Without the ACA, North Carolina would have entered this pandemic with 500,000 fewer residents insured, and thus 500,000 more who would have weighed seeking treatment for coronavirus-like symptoms against their ability to pay for it.

Tillis’ history of restricting unemployment benefitsblocking Medicaid expansion, attempting to eliminate key public health programs, and limit access to affordable health care dates back to his time as the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives when he fought to reduce eligibility and “touted the benefit reductions.”  

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About Piedmont Rising

Piedmont Rising is a 501 (c)4 issue advocacy organization built by and for North Carolinians to advocate for lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs and to ensure that more people have access to safe and affordable health care. Through grassroots organizing, education, and engagement, we are amplifying our health care stories and holding our elected officials accountable to the people, and issues they were elected to represent. www.piedmontrising.org

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