MADISON, WI – After successive weeks of record unemployment claims and more than 22 million workers across the country losing their jobs in the midst of a global pandemic, U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) led a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for further improvements to short-time compensation, otherwise known as work sharing, in the next coronavirus response legislation.

Business can’t just reopen with the flip of a switch. They must increase employee hours at the pace their business can accommodate. Work sharing provides businesses with the tool they need to gradually reopen, while keeping workers paid in the meantime. Under work share programs, currently in place in 27 states and Washington, DC, employees get a portion of Unemployment Insurance (UI) while working part-time as businesses ramp up. That means reliable income for employees, flexibility for small businesses to meet demands, and savings for state UI accounts—that’s a win-win-win.

“At a time when workers live in fear of losing their next paycheck, we must do everything in our power to protect their livelihoods.” said Congressman Mark Pocan. “Work sharing is the tool that state governments, small businesses and workers alike would benefit from. We have a duty to prevent layoffs and keep workers on payroll, the infrastructure to do that already exists nationwide, we just need to expand it. As we continue to talk about eventually re-opening economies across the country—work sharing should be at the top of everyone’s proposals to transition workers back to the workplace while keeping small business afloat.”

The letter was endorsed by Main Street Alliance, American Sustainable Business Council, 20/20 Vision, MomsRising, National Women’s Law Center, National Employment Law Project, Economic Policy Institute, Common Defense, Center for American Progress, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance of the AFL-CIO, and the United Auto Workers.

The letter was also signed by Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), André Carson (D-IN), Katherine M. Clark (D-MA), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Jesús G. “Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), John B. Larson (D-CT), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Joseph D. Morelle (D-NY), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Ayanna Pressley (D-MI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Smith (D-WA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), Mark Takano (D-CA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

See the full letter below and here.

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