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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 6, 2017 11:07 AM
From: Representative Joseph A. Petrarca
To: All House members
Subject: Lockout Compensation
In the near future, I intend to reintroduce legislation to provide temporary extended unemployment benefits for employees during a labor lockout.

Last year, a lockout by Allegheny Technologies Inc. idled hundreds of western Pennsylvania steel workers for many months. While current law permitted these workers to apply for unemployment compensation, many of them exhausted their benefits while they were still barred from returning to their jobs. It was during this dispute that I partnered with Democratic Leader Frank Dermody to develop this legislation providing for temporary extended unemployment benefits.

According to The Century Foundation, “The labor lockout—an action by the management of a company to deny workers access to their place of employment—was once a rare phenomenon compared to the strike, and there was a time when one could be fairly certain that any work stoppage was a strike. But in recent years, the federal courts and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have expanded the permissible use of lockouts by management to the point that they now represent a significant portion of work stoppages.”

My legislation will provide temporary extended unemployment benefits for individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own due to a lockout and whose regular unemployment benefits have been exhausted. The legislation would provide benefits equal to the weekly amount of an individual’s most recent unemployment claim, and would apply only to those unable to perform their jobs because of a lockout. Locked out workers would receive a maximum of 26 weeks of additional benefits.

Extending temporary unemployment benefits will enable employees to provide for the basic necessities of life, such as food and shelter for themselves and their families. In addition, it will help to reduce the economic impact of the lockout on the local economy.

Please join me in co-sponsoring and supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1475