We are pleased to announce that S-3215
(Sarlo D-36/Madden D-4), which concerns unemployment insurance benefits during labor disputes was approved by the Senate Budget Committee today. We thank the members of the committee who voted to advance the bill on party lines by a vote of 8-4. Chairman Sarlo (D-36), Senator Ruiz (D-29), Senator Cruz-Perez (D-5), Senator Thompson (D-12), Senator Zwicker (D-16), Senator Diegnan (D-18), Senator Johnson (D-37) and Senator Greenstein (D-14) voted in favor. Senator Steinhardt (R-23), Senator Oroho (R-24), Senator O’Scanlon (R-13) and Senator Testa (R-1) were opposed.The bill reduces the waiting period for striking workers to receive unemployment insurance from four weeks to two weeks.
Additionally, the bill closes several loopholes in current law that result in workers being denied unemployment insurance when they go on strike or are locked out. These loopholes include: language that barred workers from collecting benefits if they are locked out after a strike; language that made workers ineligible for benefits due to an employer’s violation of state or federal law unless it was the only reason for the strike; the “notice provision” loophole, which allows employers to not pay UI benefits prior to a 30 day threshold, so long as the employer notifies the Department of Labor they will rehire the striking workers after the labor stoppage is resolved; and finally, employers can easily nullify benefits by simply categorizing replacement workers as ‘temporary.’ All of these loopholes allow employers to deny benefits despite the spirit of the law. We thank Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sarlo for hearing the bill today, the bill sponsors for their work, as well as all of our affiliated unions and community partners who supported this important piece of legislation.