Ending Federal Unemployment Benefits Will Result in Lasting Harm to Working Families

Ahead of the state's official withdrawal from federal pandemic unemployment programs on Saturday, July 3, Tennessee AFL-CIO President Billy Dycus issued the following statement.

"With just hours left before federal unemployment benefits are abruptly cut off, Tennessee workers are scared. For many who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, this extra $300 a week has been a critical lifeline that has allowed Tennesseans to put food on their tables, pay their bills, and stay in their homes while searching for work. Now, that remaining bit of security during a difficult time is threatened as a direct result of Governor Bill Lee’s disregard and disrespect for the needs of those who are still feeling the painful and ongoing effects of this pandemic.

Instead of repeatedly insulting hard-working Tennesseans by saying they are lazy and would rather draw unemployment benefits than look for work, Governor Lee and the Republican supermajority would be wise to focus on some of the real issues facing our state, including a lack of jobs that pay a living wage and an economy that clearly does not work for working families.

While we are realistic enough to not expect an Eleventh Hour reversal of this cold, callous decision, we have no doubt that this latest, anti-worker action will cause lasting harm in all 95 counties. Instead of continuing to play partisan games and cater to the will of big business, Governor Lee and his allies need to start actually working for the people of Tennessee. Otherwise, they may be the ones who find themselves without a job next November."