Four NWU-FSP members joined the Fund Excluded Workers Coalition on a lobby day trip to Albany in late January. As part of the coalition, we are advocating for New York to enact the Unemployment Bridge Program, a permanent $500 million fund that will provide the equivalent of unemployment insurance to workers excluded from traditional unemployment, including undocumented workers, people who have recently been released from incarceration, cash economy workers, and freelancers.
We joined organizations representing marginalized workers across the state, including members of Make The Road New York, Release Aging People in Prisons, New York Communities for Change, Carroll Gardens Association, and more. There were hundreds of advocates present at the press conference, where member Zoe Beery spoke movingly about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on freelance contracts and the urgent need for a real safety net.
Then we met with several members of the state legislature along with the rest of the coalition, sharing our stories in an effort to communicate just how many different workers have been excluded from unemployment benefits. The meetings went well—everyone we talked to was interested in signing on to UBP. We look forward to confirming their involvement, and continuing to fight for a safety net for all precarious workers statewide.