On April 20, 2010, this writer interviewed Issa Decker, who created the petition to add Tier V unemployment benefits. Ms. Decker, who lives in California, believes Congress has failed to help the long-term unemployed because there is no powerful voice speaking for the unemployed. Ms. Decker is determined to let Congress know that they are ignoring powerful and increasing organized voice -- unemployed Americans.
As background, Ms. Decker explained that there are two roadblocks to passage of legislation to assist the long-term unemployed. First, Ms. Decker, who is among the long-term unemployed, found that calls to her Congressional representatives were met with indifference. Ms. Decker stated that she was told, again and again, that "nobody is calling" us about extending unemployment benefits. Ms. Decker realized that phone messages left with staffers and interns lacked political muscle and that the main "roadblock" is the absence of a strong voice advocating for the unemployed.
Second, Americans "conceptually" view unemployment benefits as "welfare." This perspective casts a stigma on the unemployed. Ms. Decker found that her family and friends view her unemployment benefits as welfare Ms. Decker stated that Americans and politicians must be reminded that the workers are receiving unemployment "insurance" earned by working. Since a person's eligibility for unemployment stems from their last quarter wage earnings, people who have not worked cannot receive unemployment benefits. Ms. Decker urges the unemployed to remember that they have earned their benefits just as workers earn social security benefits.
As a result, Ms. Decker wanted to organize the voice of the unemployed to motivate Congress to act on this issue. Ms. Decker create the Petition for Tier V located at www.change.org. If you sign the petition, it will be sent to your state's congressional representatives as well as the political leaders for the House and the Senate. Ms. Decker urges everyone to sign the petition to let our elected leaders know the unemployed are a united political voice that should not be ignored. Equally important, Ms. Decker urges you to encourage others to sign the petition.
Next: Ms. Decker and unemployment insurance
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