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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 26, 2023 02:40 PM
From: Senator Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: UC Eligibility for Striking Workers
I will soon be re-introducing legislation to allow striking workers to be eligible for unemployment compensation.
Undertaking a strike is a serious decision that a union and its members do not make lightly and that usually comes after any negotiations have reached a standstill.
When this type of impasse is reached, I believe these striking workers should not be denied unemployment compensation, as many months can pass until a negotiation is settled. While this situation is not ideal for both employees AND employers, employers can hire temporary replacement workers, while striking employees must simply “stick it out” and wait for a resolution to be reached.
I believe the right thing to do is to offer striking employees the same eligibility status as any other eligible worker who meets all other requirements under our UC Act. Our neighbors in New York and New Jersey have laws on their books that allow for this. I believe we should follow suit.

My bill amends Section 401 of the UC Law by allowing a claimant who files a UC claim and meets the existing eligibility provisions to be eligible for UC benefits if the claimant is unemployed due to stoppage of work caused by a labor dispute. In the case of a strike, there shall be a 30-day waiting period, but the waiting period shall not apply in the event of a lockout.

I introduced this legislation last session after 1,300 steelworkers at Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) were forced to strike in 2021. This legislation continues to be necessary to protect workers fighting unfair labor practices, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers who have been on strike since October 6, 2022.
This bill was introduced as Senate Bill 823 in 2021-22, companion to Representative Dan Miller’s HB 90. Senate Bill 823 was previously co-sponsored by Senators Muth, Cappelletti, Tartaglione, Kane, Street, Brewster, Hughes, Fontana, Costa, Kearney, and Pittman.

Please consider co-sponsoring this pro-worker bill.

Introduced as SB434