‘Bad for Workers, Bad for Texas’: Hundreds of Thousands Of Texans About To Suffer Loss of Unemployment Benefits

Gov. Greg Abbott’s ill-advised decision to cancel $300-a-week federal Unemployment Insurance benefits on Saturday will take desperately needed funds from hundreds of thousands of workers along with many Texas businesses that are still being slammed by the pandemic, Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said today.

“Gov. Abbott's move cruelly cuts off up to 10 weeks of benefits for workers who have lost jobs through no fault of their own and who have not yet found work that is suitable to their talents,” Levy said. “Today, we stand with members of arts unions who are eager to return to work but face a slow-moving restart. Saying ‘no’ to federal funds to help them and families in a similar predicament is just plain wrong.”

“The cancellation of benefits harms businesses, too,” Levy said. “The remaining federal lifeline for Texas workers figured to pass the billion-dollar mark, money that gets spent as quickly as it comes in at local businesses across the state. The cutoff is bad for workers and bad for Texas.” 

“Besides causing economic harm, Gov. Abbott’s decision insults workers by adopting the assumption of low-road businesses that federal benefits have kept workers home,” Levy said. “The overwhelming majority of Texans who lost jobs through no fault of their own want to work right now. In fact, the unemployment rate has declined dramatically while federal benefits are in effect.” 

“What workers don’t want to do — especially when they have had time to examine alternatives — is return to low-road, low-wage, low-benefit, high-pressure jobs that allow for no work-life balance. Working people want to work to live, not live to work.”