The Indiana AFL-CIO workers’ union delivered over 1,200 signatures to the downtown Indianapolis offices of senators Dick Lugar and Evan Bayh Thursday from Hoosiers who want Congress to act quickly to extend unemployment benefits.
Federal unemployment benefits started running out at the end of November. Indiana AFL-CIO president Nancy Guyott says this petition to Indiana’s U.S. senators is an appeal for those benefits to be extended, since up to 90,000 Hoosiers could lose benefits by Christmas if they are not. Gary Newcom, a union electrician from Indianapolis was present to deliver the petition. He says he’s been out of work since May, and without those benefits, and his wife’s full-time income, his family’s financial struggles could be even worse.
“It would be very difficult for me to maintain my home, to pay the utilities. Obviously it would be a stretch,” said Newcorn. “And there are people, especially Hoosiers, who are in worse shape than I am that are on the brink of losing their house or not being able to pay their utilities or finding every way they can to feed their kids.”
Indiana’s unemployment rate is 9.2% as of October. Guyott says Congress has never cut benefits with the number of people out of work that high. In 1985 benefits were cut after the 1981-1982 recession, when unemployment was at 7.2% nationwide.