Skip to main content

The Time to Enable Striking Workers to Receive Unemployment Benefits is Now

By Paula Hicks-Hudson
November 7, 2023
The Democratic Standard

Recently, I introduced legislation to allow workers participating in a labor strike to collect unemployment benefits, support which striking workers are currently prevented from obtaining under Ohio law.

A strike is a message from hardworking Ohioans that their needs must be met. These are not people who don’t want to work; they are people who want to work for a fair, family-sustaining wage, in safe conditions, and with the sort of benefits that keep them healthy and allow them to retire comfortably. They should not have to worry about paying their bills while they stand up for better treatment for themselves and their fellow workers.

Additionally, the bill will allow individuals to claim up to four weeks of retroactive benefits if they file their claim after the beginning date of the strike. It also waives requirements for weekly work searches and removes the one-week waiting period before being paid unemployment benefits.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union went on strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis (the parent company to Jeep) in mid-September, the first-ever simultaneous walkout against all “big three” Detroit automakers. Late last month, the United Auto Workers union reached tentative agreements with all three companies. With the strike lasting over six weeks, the personal financial effects are being felt, and the unemployment processes are sometimes difficult to navigate, or cannot provide financial relief efficiently enough.

Senate Bill 180 will help alleviate that burden.