Rep. Payne, Jr. and Mayor Quintana Demand Congress Extend Long-Term Unemployment Insurance at Newark's One Stop Career Center

Jan 30, 2014 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Local Issues

Newark, N.J. – Today, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Newark Mayor Luis Quintana, and One Stop Career Center Operations Director Norma Gonzalez, along with Newark residents who are unemployed, hosted a press conference on the need to extend unemployment insurance at Newark’s One Stop Career Center followed by a walk-through of the facility. The press conference is a follow up to President Obama’s State of the Union Address where he called on Congress to extend long-term unemployment insurance.

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 “One thing that Congress can do to immediately reduce the income gap that exists in New Jersey is to extend unemployment insurance right away,” said Rep. Payne, Jr.  “I refuse to turn my back on the thousands in New Jersey who are looking for hope and a helping hand up, not a hand out.  I know what it’s like to be out of work and not know where your next paycheck will come from. Unemployment insurance helps those who have fallen on hard times to make ends meet, keep a roof over their families’ heads, and continue to be able to go out and find a job – not just any job – but a good job. Every week we wait, more than 3,400 more New Jerseyans lose this vital life line, so we can’t afford to wait any longer.”

“We have thousands of Newark residents who are struggling to find jobs and career opportunities to feed their families, and pay rent and bills. Unemployment insurance is not a hand out, but a hand up, to help these workers find the jobs they need. Our residents deserve and need our support,” Mayor Quintana said. “H.R. 3824 will provide that support. I urge Congress to pass it swiftly. Newark and America need to go back to work. President Obama said that mayors must go out and make their cities economically viable. We will be addressing that at the national level at the next US Conference of Mayors, and at the local level by working with our corporations to hire more Newarkers. Soon, we hope to have a press conference with Congressman Payne, Jr. in which he presents us with a big check to support more training, job creation, and employer partnerships.”

Due to Congress’ failure to extend unemployment insurance, more than 1.6 million Americans, including more than 104,000 New Jerseyans, have been left out in the cold as they have been cut off from unemployment insurance since December 28, 2013.  Rep. Payne, Jr. has repeatedly called on Speaker John Boehner to extend unemployment insurance and is a cosponsor of H.R. 3824, legislation that would extend unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed for three months to provide vital relief to New Jerseyans. 

Newark residents who are unemployed and have recently lost their long-term unemployment insurance also shared their stories of the impact the loss of unemployment insurance is having on their lives.

"I was recently laid off from a printing company, exhausted my savings and now my livelihood and that of my family's is threatened. It's much harder for long term unemployed to get a job. I've been searching for a very long time. We need more training programs like this for our benefit," said Newark resident David McClendon.

“I just want to tell you, as an older person, who is aged 54 years old, that it is harder to find a job when you are an older person. Companies ask: ‘Why should we invest in this person?’  It's harder for older people to compete with younger candidates, who have Masters Degrees. We need to help other companies so they can hire more people," said Newark resident Bendue James. "I feel guilty, and like I've lost my dignity. I want to tell someone I work at Verizon. Instead I have a job at Shoprite. We want to work. I want a job to get my dignity back."

"We need hope. My unemployment benefits were cut right from under me while I was in the middle of training to become a truck driver," said Trina Townes, a Newark resident and single mother with two sons. "It terribly hurt me and my family. I urge our leaders to reinstate long-term unemployment so I can continue my training and support my family at the same time."

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