The IUPAT DC 53 Painters Union is holding a peaceful protest on the West Virginia Capitol grounds at the corner of Greenbrier Street and Washington Street East on Monday, February 21 10:30 am – 1:30 pm to raise awareness of attacks on West Virginia’s working families.
Senate Bill 2 “Relating to unemployment benefits program” would reduce the number of weeks workers are eligible for unemployment from the current level of 26 weeks to as little as 12 weeks, with a maximum of 20 weeks in times of high overall unemployment. Lead sponsor to this bill is Senator Tom Takubo from the 17th District.
Cutting benefits to 12 weeks hurts seasonal and construction workers, as jobs are temporary and there can be extended periods between projects.
West Virginia workers would have one of the shortest lengths of time eligible for unemployment benefits in the country with the passage of this bill. At least 26 weeks is the norm for most states. Only nine states currently offer less than 26 weeks, and only Florida and North Carolina offer just 12 weeks.
If Senate Bill 2 is passed, workers would only receive more than 12 weeks of unemployment benefits if the state unemployment rate is above 5.5 percent without taking into consideration individual county rates. This bill will hurt rural counties that have traditionally experienced higher than state average unemployment, such as Calhoun County, which had the highest rate of unemployment average of 10.2% in 2021.