FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New York, NY- October 19, 2010 
Contact: Kian Frederick:
American 99ers Union: 202-579-9377
www.american99ersunion.com

AMERICAN 99ERs UNION URGES ALL UNEMPLOYED TO VOTE DEMOCRATIC ON NOV 2 
UNIFIED NATIONAL STRATEGY SHOWS UNEMPLOYED WORKERS’ GROWING POLITICAL STRENGTH  

“All unemployed are 99ers on November 2. Vote for job creation, Tier 5 and extended unemployment insurance by voting for Democrats” is the message being sent out to all unemployed workers by the American 99ers Union. In a show of growing political strength, the American 99ers Union a fast growing coalition of activist groups representing unemployed workers - is moving forward with a unified political strategy. A major piece of that strategy is encouraging the estimated 4 to 5 million 99ers, 10 to 11 million unemployed that are still receiving unemployment insurance (UI), and the 15 million underemployed to vote as one voice in the upcoming mid-term elections on November 2. 

The American 99ers Union was formed to advocate for job creation, extended unemployment insurance, and Tier 5 legislation, which includes the passage of S.3706 - The Americans Want to Work Act. S.3706 would add 20 weeks of UI, also known as Tier 5, in states that have an unemployment rate of 7.5% or greater.  Currently, however, the American 99ers Union warns that all UI beyond the original 26 weeks will begin expiring at the end of November unless legislation extending UI is passed before November 30.

Under current Federal legislation, after receiving 26 weeks of regular State UI, unemployed workers progress through a series of UI “Tiers”. There are currently four UI Tiers, which are all federally funded plus Extended Benefits (EB), currently funded equally by the federal government and the states.  Each Tier and EB provides additional weeks of benefits; a maximum of 99 weeks of UI can be collected in states with high unemployment rates, depending on the original filing date.  

The name “99ers,” refers to all unemployed who have exhausted all UI Tiers and Extended Benefits (EB). Not all 99ers collect UI for 99 weeks. In many states, even those hardest hit by the jobs crisis, UI maximums are much less than 99 weeks. “We all take the name ‘99ers’ as a show of solidarity,” the American 99ers Union says on its website, “because we are all in the same boat unless law-makers take action soon”.  

“The bottom line is this: After November 30th, all UI beyond the first 26 weeks will be cut-off, either immediately or as soon as you finish your current Tier of UI. For those on EB, you will be cut-off on December 5th. And, if you are newly laid-off, you will receive nothing beyond 26 weeks unless Congress passes new legislation.” These looming deadlines, the American 99ers Union believes, gives added urgency to their cause. 

“Whether or not you are receiving UI, all unemployed, underemployed, those who fear they may be laid-off soon, and their families, must not simply wait and hope for job creation and extended UI. Millions of unemployed will be 99ers after November 30. If Republicans take control of the House of Representatives and/or Senate they can expect to remain a 99er for a very long time”. As a result, the American 99ers Union encourages all unemployed and underemployed to vote Democratic on November 2. “We sincerely believe that Republicans will not propose legislation that supports job creation, UI extensions and Tier 5. We must be pro-active if we want to survive”.    

The American 99ers Union ends this statement with a rousing call to action in support of Democratic candidates at all levels of government: “The Democratic Party has supported the unemployed and fought for job creation, UI extensions and Tier 5. Democrats must remain the majority in Congress”. The American 99ers Union believes that the GOP is not a party of the people. “At every turn, Republicans have chosen to support banks, the wealthy and corporations instead of supporting the needs of struggling Americans. We need the support of ALL Americans; the unemployed, underemployed, full-time workers and their families to fight with us. VOTE DEMOCRATIC ON NOVEMBER 2!”
End Press Release

WILL YOU BECOME A 99er BEFORE CHRISTMAS?

Vote for Jobs * Vote for Tier V * Vote Democratic * Protect Yourself  

Anyone collecting unemployment insurance will become a 99er after November 30th unless Congress votes for an extension.  This will be a huge fight, just like last July.  Currently, however, there is a stand alone bill, S.3706 that would create a Tier V, 20 additional weeks, for ALL who have exhausted their unemployment insurance (UI), both the “old” 99ers, and the “new” 99ers who will begin to lose UI after Nov. 30th.  The bill is supported by the Democrats, not the Republicans.  The Democratic Party has supported job creation, the unemployed and fought for extensions of Tiers and dates. This is the party that needs to remain the majority in Congress if any of us are to receive any help.  We already know that the GOP is not a party for the people.  At every turn, Republicans have chosen to support banks, the wealthy and corporations instead of supporting the needs of struggling Americans. Current 99ers cannot wait any longer for financial assistance. We have fought long and hard for over 8 months now, and we need the support of ALL future 99ers to join the fight. Whether or not you are receiving UI, all unemployed, underemployed, those who fear they may be laid-off soon, and their families, must not simply wait and hope for job creation and extended UI. Millions of unemployed will be 99ers after November 30. If Republicans take control of the House of Representatives and/or the Senate, many can expect to remain a 99er for a very long time.   

If you are not a 99er, how will the upcoming expiration date of November 30th affect your UI? 

The bottom line is this:

1) If you are currently collecting your first 26 weeks, after Nov. 30th, you WILL NOT be allowed to move into a Tier.  All you will receive in TOTAL UI is 26 weeks. When you finish your 26 weeks, you will become a 99er. Example: You first filed for UI in August, 2010. Your 26 weeks is finished in January.  You will become a 99er in January, 2011.

2) If the state you are collecting from qualifies for the Tier, and you begin a new Tier before November 30th, you will be able to complete the weeks for that Tier.  You WILL NOT be allowed to move the next Tier and, when your current Tier ends, you will become a 99er. Example: Assuming the state you are collecting from qualifies, you began Tier 1 (20 weeks) in August, 2010.  You will become a 99er in January, 2011.

3) If you began collecting your 20 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB), before the Nov. 30th deadline, you WILL NOT collect EB after December 5th.  No EB will be paid out, regardless of how many weeks you have left.  On Dec, 5th, you will become a 99er. Example: You began collecting EB in August, 2010 and you think you have until Jan, 2011.  You will be cut-off and become a 99er on Dec.5, 2010. 

Usually, a laid-off person receives 26 weeks of unemployment insurance (UI).  In a normal economy, 26 weeks is often enough time to find a job.  Money for the first 26 weeks comes from your State.  Because of the economic crisis, some states also have Extended Benefits (EB), and the Federal government pays for extra weeks through a series of steps, called Tiers.  
Currently, there are four Tiers of Federally funded benefits (in addition to the original 26 weeks of state benefits and 20 weeks of EB, which is jointly funded).  With each new Tier, new individual and state eligibility rules and expiration dates are added.  For example, new money for ALL Tiers expires on November 30th of this year. It is extremely important that you understand what Tier you are in and how the expiration dates and rules apply to you.  The two most important things are: the original date you filed for UI, and the state you live in or are collecting from.  

The original 26 weeks, plus the current Tiers and EB, add up to 99 weeks. The term “99er”, originally adopted by those who have exhausted all 99 weeks, now refers to anyone who has exhausted all of their unemployment benefits. This does not mean that everyone has, or will, receive 99 weeks of UI.  Some think they will automatically move from Tier to Tier and collect all 99 weeks.  NO!! The start date when you file your original claim determines which Tiers you are eligible for.  In addition, not all states are entitled to 99 weeks; it depends on your states’ individual unemployment rate (or that of the state you are collecting from).

Each state is different; please be sure to check with the State Department of Labor to determine which Tier you are in, which Tiers you are eligible for and how many weeks your state might be eligible for. DO NOT assume you know; check for yourself.  You can find your state/collecting state office here:http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp

  • BE PRO-ACTIVE.  DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU LOSE YOUR UI AFTER NOV 30TH!!
  • All unemployed are 99ers.
  • We take the name ‘99ers’ as a show of solidarity because we are all in the same boat unless law makers take action soon.
  • We ask all unemployed to vote as 99ers on November 2.
  • VOTE for job creation, VOTE for Tier 5, VOTE for extended UI, VOTE for Democrats!!

For more information:http://flashmobs4jobs.blogspot.com/2010/10/will-you-become-99er-before-christmas.html