Yesterday we had a union meeting and around 40 people attended. Workers have been given conflicting counsel from the Employment Development Department. One person will say that each person needs to run their personal unemployment benefits dry, and then refile a claim, and others have heard or read that this will be done automatically. Why the conflicting instructions? Others have been told that the retirement that they collect on has to be deducted from unemployment and others say they don't. Just makes for nerves to fray.
I talked to one guy who knew one of the work counselors on a personal basis. The counselor told the worker how sad he was for these workers who were making over $80,000 and how tough it will be for them and their families to adjust to making less. "Hey, that's me your talking about!" This same person had a lead on a potential job and went to EDD headquarters to update his resume. He said the place was busy and when he was able to get to the computers, he found out that 4 of the people there were workers from the plant he was going to apply at! They had just been laid off.
It was good to see the story in the Times Standard of the Mckinney's from the mill learning a new trade. But the funding for the Power Plant in Blue Lake has been sketchy at best. I hope that it all pans out good. Lots of workers from the mill are retraining and trying re-invent themselves. It is hard for workers in their 50's to do that. And the mill had nearly half in that age range.
Former Evergreen workers will need to make over $12 an hour just to make what their unemployment pays. Not many of those jobs out there now.
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