State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today issued a statement following a Statehouse press conference Thursday morning, where he joined lawmakers Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma), Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) and UAW workers to support legislation to extend unemployment benefits and food assistance to union workers fighting for fair wages, better benefits and safer working conditions. The call comes amid a nationwide strike by UAW employees, who reached a tentative labor agreement Wed. on the 31st day of their strike with General Motors.
“On Friday, October 4, I joined UAW Local 1005 workers on their picket line at the Parma Metal Center,” said Rep. Smith. “I mostly listened as I carried an ‘On-Strike’ sign with men and women from across Northeastern Ohio who were locked in a labor dispute with General Motors. I especially remember one gentleman who drove from Mansfield every day because these union protected jobs were his best opportunity to provide for his family.”
Rep. Smith is co-sponsoring Rep. Crossman’sbill, which would extend unemployment benefits to striking workers who are working on reduced pay during the month-long strike, putting strains on the budgets of thousands of Ohio workers and their families. If passed, the bill would ensure UAW workers currently on strike with GM would be immediately eligible for benefits.
“We build things in Ohio. We saved GM a decade ago and these workers should not be forgotten now,” said Rep. Smith. “These are core, foundational jobs for Ohio’s middle class and the Ohio Legislature should do what we can to keep them strong.”
Rep. Smith is co-sponsoring Rep. Sobecki’sproposed resolution as well, which would call on the federal government to allow workers on strike and their families to apply for SNAP benefits.
Rep. Smith’s statement follows recent House Democratic efforts to push commonsense legislation to ensure the economic security and stability of working people and families, part of the caucus’s ongoing Ohio Promise campaign.
After introduction, the proposals will be referred to House committees, where they will be eligible for hearings.