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Opinion: Statement from West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword on Senate Bill 841, which would cut unemployment benefits

“Seizing on an array of inconsistent testimony and unproven numbers, the House Finance Committee has passed an astonishingly cruel bill to steal earned unemployment benefits away from West Virginia workers. Workers, many of whom have worked at places like Cleveland Cliffs and Allegheny Wood Products for decades but are losing their jobs due to no fault of their own, should not be the victims of politicians in Charleston playing political games.

“These hard-working people should be able to rely on a consistent unemployment benefit, one they earned just like healthcare and retirement, and this legislation would not only cut the number of weeks it’s available, but also would decrease the benefit over time. 

“We cannot understand why this bill, which will also raise taxes on employers, is being pushed in the final week of the legislative session, particularly when the fund is perfectly healthy, and could sustain crisis-level unemployment for multiple years.” 

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