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The Unemployed Held Hostage [NY Times]

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posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:21 PM
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Since June 1, when federal unemployment benefits began to expire, an estimated 325,000 jobless workers have been cut off. That number will swell to 1.25 million by the end of the month unless Congress extends the benefits. The Senate, so far, has failed to act.

Some senators, including Democrats, have balked at an unrelated provision that would begin to close a tax loophole enjoyed by some of the richest Americans. You heard right. Desperately needed unemployment benefits have been held hostage to a tax break for the rich, and the Senate’s Democratic leadership has had to delay and finagle to get its own caucus in line.

State-provided unemployment benefits generally last for 26 weeks, and the federal government picks up the tab after that, provided Congress approves the extensions. There is no disagreement over the need: 46 percent of the nation’s 15 million jobless workers have been unemployed for more than six months — a higher level than at any time since the government began keeping track in 1948.



source: www.nytimes.com...

 

MOD NOTE: Posting work written by others
mod edit: to shorten quote

[edit on Thu Jun 17 2010 by DontTreadOnMe]




posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:28 PM
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This is terrible, that you as a governing body can't come to an agreement over an obviously abused tax law - and as a result hundreds of thousands, and by the end of the month over a million will have lost their final lifeline.

It's looking like I will have to bite the bullet and see if my old boss will take me back, so i can work as many hours is required to get the job done and still receive the same amount of pay each week. It's sad when a system setup like that - a flat pay each week regardless of the hours I work, looks more stable.

Slavery is looking like a better option than relying on your government to get something done, is what I am really trying to say.

Please don't take that comment out of context, I am only referring to the situation I am currently in where I will not be paid for the hours I work.

Also - if they let this go on to the end of the month, they are going to have 1.25 million pissed off new yorkers to deal with. I don't want to think of the ramifications of this, but some of us are not so level headed.

Let them eat cake has turned into: let them starve, we'll get around to governing after our free meal with the lobbyists.

[edit on 15-6-2010 by djzombie]



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:38 PM
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It is illegal for your employer to pay you for less hours than you worked, if you are paid hourly.

If you are salary, like me, then sometimes you have to work 20+ additional hours in a week and get the same pay. The other side of that coin is the stability of having a guaranteed amount of pay every week, regarless of the hours you work.

I have a question though. How long should unemployment benefits be extended? 26 week? 52 weeks? 104 weeks? Just curious on your thoughts.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:43 PM
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Extend it as long as needed! If people are not hiring they are not going to go out and find jobs! This is just typical



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:50 PM
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Well indianajoe, my old boss setup an "incentive system" when he did this he cut our base pay by about 35%.

Basically with this incentive program, if we get the work done quickly, we get a "bonus" that is based no how many "extra" hours we had to work. The fewer "extra" hours, the bigger the "bonus."

As you can see, it would not be hard using a system like this to set it up so that no matter how many hours your employees work they get the same flat pay rate each week.

Unfortunately, this is an hourly wage job, not salary, so this is people already living at the poverty line with a pay system like this.

The shift in pay was so detrimental that I am making the same amount of money on unemployment that I would be making each week working at my old job, because my unemployment is based on a time when business was good, i was working at least 8 hours of overtime each week and getting paid a decent wage.

I really don't have a clue as to when unemployment benefits should be extended to - but nothing is being done to create jobs. This is why I will be forced to go back to my old job(if he will even take me) because I can't find another job here.

Benefits should be extended until the unemployment rate starts to decline? How about that? Cutting peoples benefits when the unemployment rates are as bad as they've ever been in this country doesn't make any sense, unless you're trying to starve the already poverty stricken further.

The real issue here though was that the unemployed are basically at the whim of a legislative body that only caters to the rich and powerful.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:55 PM
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I work hourly.Where i work, msot managers have been fired(set up first, mostly beucase the company felt they were overpayed* even though they did inf act, work very hard to climb the financial and salary ropes. Everyone wants to make more money, but being on salary does not guarantee you a safe secure job anymore. They will simply give you the pink slip, and hire younger people or illegals for that matter, who will work for less salary and do more work,a nd reduced benefits. thats called being shafted* sometimes yuor better of being on an hourly job, at leat the job is mostly secured then.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by djzombie
 


Hmm, I'm not sure, but that seems highly illegal, unless it was part of some sort of union agreement. I would really check with your state's employment rules.

I have to disagree that the unemployed are at the whim of the legislators. Its not cutting benefits, its just not extending them. Whats stopping you from taking your old job back? Just the fact that you make the same or more on unemployment? Or taking a different, lower paying job just to have money coming in?

I agree also, that all those loopholes should be closed. I'm for a flat tax, with no deductions fir anyone or any business.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 01:25 PM
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It sure does seem illegal, but he has been doing it since I left that job. There is no union, so there was no union agreement. My issue with reporting him would be if he gave me my job back, coming in there and shaking things up like that might get me fired when I would just be grateful to have a job to begin with.

Whats stopping me from taking my old job might just be a job available. I am gonna call him today to see if there is even a job available once my phone gets done charging.

Prior to his pay scam, he seemed like a reasonable, fair, and honest business owner.

I am currently enrolled in online classes, have been for some time now - so I have been trying to improve myself during this time.

I do have to disagree with you though about the unemployed not being at the whim of their legislators. If they haven't done anything to increase job growth, and unemployment rates are still increasing - that's a sign that people are not unemployed just because they don't want to work. They are unemployed because there is hardly any employment available, or the only jobs available will cause them to be underemployed. Underemployed in the sense that they are in a worse financial situation if they were to take a minimum wage job @ 20 hours a week, versus claiming their unemployment.

Also, it certainly doesn't help that employers won't even considering hiring someone on unemployment, thus perpetuating the cycle.

[edit on 15-6-2010 by djzombie]



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 01:49 PM
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If you report him, he can't fire you under Whistle Blower-type legislation. You would be able to sue.

I agree with you that the legislature is doing nothing about unemployment, job growth, economic recovery, anything that would in fact help people. But being held hostage, I think, is an over statement. There are always alternatives.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 01:58 PM
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In new york you can fire anyone without even having to give a reason. So, yeah.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 02:05 PM
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reply to post by djzombie
 


Wow, that's some BS. I just found this link: New York Employment Law




New York is an “employment-at-will” state. Therefore, an employer in New York may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason. (Keep in mind that a federal or state law, collective bargaining agreement, or individual employment contract may place further limitations on an otherwise at-will relationship.)


Check the Federal law regarding whistle blowing, it might preclude the state at-will law.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 02:15 PM
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What if instead of printing the money out of thin air and adding to the decay of the currency, unemployed citizens whose benefits run out are allowed to borrow against their Social Security contributions so that they can continue to pay their bills, yet also find funds to help them qualify for other career fields or to better their education? Once a person has found work again, he or she makes automatic additional contributions to restock their Social Security accounts. Match borrowing fees with the Fed´s interest rate levels. It´s better than issuing yet more Treasury Bonds and paying more interest to China.

Social Security will never survive unless the population is working. Allowing Social Security accrued work credits to be used as collateral for a low cost re-education unemployment benefit won´t solve all problems, but it could help millions of people out, especially the older workers who usually have the toughest time finding meaningful employment.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 03:05 PM
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Here's some data I found pertinent to the subject from another article.


The Economist notes that the nice big positive jobs created number for May - 431,000 - is at first blush great news. However, once one takes into account the fact that the majority of those jobs were temporary hires for the 2010 census, it isn't quite as heartening. Only 41,000 jobs were created by private firms.



Along the same lines, drilling down into the data a bit beyond the headline number, the drop from 9.9% to 9.7% unemployment doesn't mean much, because it takes into account many job-seekers who have given up hopes of finding employment in the current economic environment.



The key question is if extending unemployment benefits will actually reduce the deficit in the long term. Certainly it will increase the budget in the short term, but in essence UI benefits are a public investment in a current liability (unemployed citizen) to produce a future asset (productive citizen) which will allow us to combat the deficit more effectively over the medium-long term through increased GDP.



source: sports.gather.com...



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 03:31 PM
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reply to post by djzombie
 


Alright, maybe I can help. I am not a lawyer so this is not advice. I am professionally trained in employment law issues so I may be able to point you in the right direction as far as what you can do with your employment situation.

First and foremost...most states are "at-will" employers. They can fire you for any reason or no reason, but not reasons that are discriminatory, against the law (retaliation), or terminate you for engaging in protected activities. The wage and hour laws of your state will dictate how an employer must pay an employee.

Second, you speak of a pay scheme that gives incentive to work less hours and provides a bonus for completing tasks on time. You might want to check the term "attached worker." In unemployment compensation issues, if a certain pay reduction is made to a worker, you may qualify for unemployment benefits even while employed. If your income drops off a certain amount but the employer retains your employment some states allow benefits to cover the portion of pay you lost.

Third, generally if you are engaged in filing a claim allowed under law your employer cannot fire you for it. I say generally because the employer often times finds a legitimate rule violation you broke and will fire you for that violation and not for engaging in the protected activity. In a lawsuit you will have to prove that either you didn't break the rule they said you broke, and prove that the termination was actually related to the protected activity. Most employees will not ever to be able to prove this, and even more will not have the money to fight a lawsuit of this nature.

Fourth, in the event you were discharged and unable to prove the discharge was related to the protected activity different states have many options to pursue the claim on. Some examples are: Wrongful Termination (Against Public Policy), Wrongful Termination (Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing)...in fact there are many claims and avenues to take that a lawyer could advise you on. Often times though a person without a job cannot do this.

Your example regarding your employment situation is what a majority of employees go through. Our employment laws are not effective as justice cannot be reached by an out of work employee, with no money. I wish you luck and hope this information helps you look at your options. I would encourage you to talk with an attorney, or legal aid office. Many attorney's will consult for free on these issues.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 03:50 PM
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reply to post by indianajoe77
 


arizona is a "right-to-work" state, meaning basically the same as NY. anyone could be fired without notice and without reason. it makes me so happy and at ease knowing that no matter how hard i work, comply to all the rules, meet or exceed my goals set by my employers, that they could simply fire me because hey, they can and theres nothing i could do about it. yup, living the american dream...



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by taguon
 


I will have to correct this common mistake most employees make.

"Right-to-Work" means that you have a right to work with or without union representation. Employers and managers love using this term though to pound into employees heads they can fire you for anything and there is nothing you can do about it. This is very far from the truth. However, the term is great for creating a workforce that really believes employers are GODS over their income. The fact remains, fairness in workplaces is in the interest of the State.

The term you are looking for is "at-will" employment. Which means, there is no contractual relationship between the employee and employer. That either side may exit the relationship without harm or fault of the other party. However, "at-will" employment does not bar an employer from getting rid of you for any reason or no reason.

Check out your state exception to the "at-will" doctrine. In the State of Arizona an employer cannot fire you without good cause. This usually means that the employer must fire you for misconduct related issues that are specifically outlined in your companies policy. Anyway take a look.

www.bls.gov...

[edit on 15-6-2010 by ExPostFacto]



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 04:46 PM
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reply to post by fockewulf190
 


The problem with this suggestion is that when a person pays social security taxes, those monies do not go into some sort of account or trust for that person. Today's workers' social security taxes go towards paying today's retirees' social security benefits.

Unfortunately, there is a large wave of baby boomers that are hitting retirement age. There might not be enough money to take care of today's retirees and today's unemployed workers.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 07:50 PM
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Originally posted by hotpinkurinalmint
reply to post by fockewulf190
 


The problem with this suggestion is that when a person pays social security taxes, those monies do not go into some sort of account or trust for that person. Today's workers' social security taxes go towards paying today's retirees' social security benefits.

Unfortunately, there is a large wave of baby boomers that are hitting retirement age. There might not be enough money to take care of today's retirees and today's unemployed workers.


I am aware of that fact, and forgive me for for expecting that fact to have been common knowledge. The collateral value is not based on a physical pile of accumulated money, it is based on the future LIABILITY claim that worker has accumulated by making contributions. Lets face it, for the unemployed, their chances of obtaining a loan for education, or to further their qualifications from commercial banking sources is next to nothing. States are broke themselves, so there isn´t any real option there. Another fact is that having high unemployment is only going to hasten the demise of Social Security. We also know that selling more debt obligations to foreign powers is the least desirable option available to help the unemployed. So why not offer a low cost loan for those people who are unemployed? If they default, meaning they never work again, their Social Security benefit is gone. If they rejoin the work force, there contributions to Social Security automatically are increased to pay off the loan and Social Security regains another paying contributor. Like I said, why pay the Chinese when we can pay...and help...ourselves? Social Security already has a monetary savings and incentive program to help the disabled get better qualified and get back to work. Why not take things a bit further and help the abled get back to work?

[edit on 15-6-2010 by fockewulf190]



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 10:25 PM
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Originally posted by kupoliveson
Extend it as long as needed! If people are not hiring they are not going to go out and find jobs! This is just typical


That is not economically feasible. What happens if those jobs don't come back? At some point there has to be a cut off date. You can't just assume jobs like assembly lines will always remain in America. What I would like to see happening is the government offering further financial aid for these out of work people to go to college or trade schools and become educated to work a job that is needed in this country.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 11:45 PM
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What I would like to see happening is the government offering further financial aid for these out of work people to go to college or trade schools and become educated to work a job that is needed in this country.


That's what this country needs, a reasonable policy when it comes to educating people. It should not only be accessible to the privileged.

I'm taking online classes currently for an industry that I've always wanted to get a job in, so I am definitely working towards something better. It's just that in the mean time - it would be helpful to have some sort of help. I know that when i get out of school I'll have a huge debt over my head, just as my girlfriend still does now.

I've read of people with only 26 weeks of benefits exhausted being denied additional weeks because of the cut off dates for the different tiers of benefits. It's just ludicrous.

I can definitely agree with you though that there should be some mechanism to help people trying to further their education.



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