After Brian Kemp announced he will end the $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits enacted to help Georgians during the pandemic, labor groups and local experts warn that the short-sighted move will disproportionately harm women and Black workers in Georgia.
According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute:
“April unemployment claims rose by 2% for women while declining by 11% for men … women often face a difficult decision between working and care-giving when affordable, accessible child care is not enough.”
“Black workers collect 57% of unemployment benefits. . .and unemployment claims for Black Georgians in April were 35% higher than those of all other filers and 54% higher than those of white Georgians alone.”
Meanwhile, the Georgia AFL-CIO notes:
“The decision to economically coerce vulnerable, low-income Georgians into unsafe, underpaying jobs is political manipulation on full display.”
“Meanwhile, racist hiring practices that predominantly impact Black, Latine and queer workers in Georgia continue to go unchecked and exacerbate unemployment trends amongst our most vulnerable workers.”
“This decision by Brian Kemp was not based on sound public policy, but on right-wing talking points. Cutting a lifeline to Georgia workers is cruel punishment that does nothing to help families or solve labor shortages,” said Rebecca Galanti, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “If Georgia Republicans really cared about our workforce, they would focus on things like expanding Medicaid, guaranteeing livable wages, enhancing workplace safety, and improving childcare – not on leaving vulnerable Georgians high and dry.”