The Oregon state Senate last week approved an unemployment insurance extension for locked-out workers that previously passed the state House, and the bill now goes to the governor for final approval. The bill will extend unemployment insurance to workers who are locked out as a result of a labor dispute. The legislation was introduced after Allegheny Technologies Inc. locked out members of the United Steelworkers (USW) in August of last year. Last week, the lockout ended when USW and ATI ratified a new contract.
Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain explained the importance of the legislation:
Lockouts are incredibly difficult to bear, especially if they last beyond the term of unemployment insurance. Working people lose their homes and take on egregious debt to make ends meet, even during the time in which they’re drawing from unemployment insurance. But by passing this law, Oregon’s legislature has taken a step forward to enact a policy decision that will ease the burden on working families during lockouts.
The Oregon AFL-CIO notes that the approval of this bill is part of a landmark legislative session, with Gov. Kate Brown (D) already having signed a minimum wage increase.