Philadelphia Jobs Rally Takes On Protest Flavor As Congress Dithers on Benefits

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The US Congress appears close to going home without extending emergency unemployment benefits which are set to expire December 31st (see related story).

Protest rallies have been cropping up across the country, including in Philadelphia, as organizers try to lean on Congress to get the job done.

Traditionally, long-term benefits were designed to last 26 weeks, but when the severe recession hit in 2008, Congress passed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program to help states extend those benefits up to 99 weeks.  If Congress does not renew the program, the benefits expire.

Today’s jobs rally at the Arch Street Methodist Church was scheduled weeks ago as a “holiday program for laid-off Philadelphians,”‘ with Santa bringing toys for children whose parents are out of work.

But it morphed into a protest.

John Dodd, director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project (at lectern in photo), quoted an editorial in the Wall Street Journal:  “They said the entire exercise was political but the Republicans have thoroughly botched the politics.”

“The unemployment benefits help you get by, but they don’t take care of all of your bills,” notes Dane Osborne, who was laid off in 2010 after 17 years as a corporate trainer at Home Depot.

Organizers say unemployed workers — including 75,000 Pennsylvanians — will start seeing their benefits dry up  in January, and 281,000 people across the Commonwealth will exhaust benefits by June, without Congressional action.


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One Comment

  1. Tom McGraw says:

    p.s. The jobs picure in thsi country is a true bi-partisan effort and cannot be blamed on only one party! This class warfare card being played right now is lethal to this country’s recovery, period!

  2. Tom McGraw says:

    Maybe they should protest Congress / President for sitting on the proposed 7 Billion Dollars Keystone XL pipeline (3 years now) and the 20000 direct pipeline jobs and many thousands more in support jobs as it moves from Canada to Texas. It’s not like this country couldn’t use another half a million barrels of oil a day from someplace other then the unstable Middle East… Build it now and creat jobs that supply much needed energy or surely China will sep up and they’ll build it insead to the west coast to be tanker shipped (think Exxon Valdez) to the Peoples Republic…

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