Unemployed Workers Union wins court victory: ‘We will continue to fight’

Unemployed Workers Union picket in Baltimore, July 6. SLL photo

July 13: The Unemployed Workers Union is encouraged by today’s decision by Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill to grant a preliminary injunction to halt Governor Hogan’s plan to end federal pandemic benefits early. 

Along with the U.S. Department of Labor’s requirement of a 30-day cut off notice, the judge’s decision means that help will continue until September.  

Today’s court decision is a victory for unemployed Maryland workers, especially those who collect pandemic benefits. In many cases, this $300 a week is the only funds available for workers who have exhausted benefits or are not covered under regular unemployment benefits.

Alec Summerfield, attorney for the Unemployed Workers Union, stated, “It may make the difference whether a worker eats or not, or between paying a utility bill, car payment, mortgage or rent.”

Summerfield continued, “This addresses a part of our lawsuit; the second part revolves around the thousands of workers who have not seen a penny of their benefits, some for as long as a year, held up in the dysfunctional Maryland Labor Department’s Unemployment Division.”

Sharon Black, a representative of the Unemployed Workers Union, added: “We will not stop until every worker receives the benefits that they are owed. This includes continuing our lawsuit and holding protests and assemblies where workers can speak out.”

At a news conference following the judge’s ruling, Black declared “You were responsible for this victory!” She was addressing the thousands of unemployed workers across Maryland who’ve joined the effort.

“There have been many messages of thanks to our attorney and organizers. But none of us won this victory. It was your efforts — your ability to remain focused, to amplify your voice in any way possible, to sacrifice and stay the course that got us this far.  

“The grievances you filed, the picket lines you attended, even the emails and social media posts, created the irresistible force that led to this decision.

“We still have miles to travel on this road until everyone is paid. Please do not stop.”

The Unemployed Workers Union will be announcing future activities soon. In the meantime, if you have an eviction emergency, reach out to UWU representative Joyce B. by email at [email protected].

Don’t forget our weekly Unemployed and Workers’ Rights Clinic, Thursdays from 6 pm to 8 pm at 2011 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. Just show up — no need to make an appointment. Please come and fill out a grievance form.