Congress this morning extended for two months unemployment insurance (UI) for America’s jobless workers. Republicans in the House earlier this week had blocked the UI extenstion, but after suffering badly in opinion polling, they announced they’d join with 89 out of 100 senators from both political parties who’d already voted to renew unemployment aid for two months—with no cuts and no strings attached.
Media headlines throughout the week–including the conservative Wall Street Journal–and Republican stalwarts such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), had decried House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) refusal to move the UI bill, which gives a lifeline to 2.8 million jobless Americans who otherwise would lose UI after Dec. 31.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka described the victory for jobless Americans as “not a hnndout or a free ride” but “a lifeline.”
In the fight to extend aid for the jobless, the 99 percent went on the offense against 1 percent politicians. And we won. And if working people keep it up, we’ll score more victories and build a better future. Not every time—two steps forward, one step back. But look around. People all across the country are saying our economy and our democracy are out of balance. And they’re winning the public debate.
This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO Now blog on December 23, 2011. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Tula Connell says ” I got my first union card while I worked my way through college as a banquet bartender for the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee (we were represented by a hotel and restaurant local union—the names of the national unions were different then than they are now).” With a background in journalism—covering bull roping in Texas and school boards in Virginia—she started working in the labor movement in 1991. Beginning as a writer for SEIU (and OPEIU member), she now blog under the title of AFL-CIO managing editor.