Baltimore’s unemployed workers speak out

A worker testifies about the crisis created by unjust withholding of unemployment benefits, July 29. SLL photo: Sharon Black

Coming off its second court victory against Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to cut off federal pandemic unemployment relief early, the Unemployed Workers Union planned a Town Hall Assembly at Baltimore City Hall on July 29.

Organizers thought severe weather would force them to cancel. Yet despite a tornado warning in the area, over 30 people showed up, drawn by the opportunity to “Tell your story and let the world know that the crisis is not over!” The assembly went ahead as planned while activists kept a close eye on the skies.

“Thousands of Marylanders have still not received a dime of unemployment insurance and benefits owed to them,” says the leaflet for the event. “Instead, their claims are languishing in hold, false fraud claims, or simply not being paid. Don’t let the Labor Department sweep us under the rug.

“We are continuing to fight inside the courts, but that will not be enough. Only your voice and actions will ensure we win again.”

The turnout, despite the threatening weather, demonstrates the severity of the crisis for unemployed workers in the state of Maryland.

“We will do this again so that many of those who were deterred by the storm and the tornado warnings get a chance to testify,” UWU’s Sharon Black said.

Watch the video and hear first-hand about the experiences of unemployed workers.