Oregon Legislature Approves Unemployment Extension for Locked Out Workers

(Salem, OR)  Oregon’s Senate voted late last night to approve HB 4086, a bill designed to extend unemployment insurance to workers who are locked out of their place of employment as the result of a labor dispute.  The bill was introduced into Oregon’s legislature at the same time Allegheny Technologies Incorporated chose to lockout workers represented by the United Steelworkers. The lockout began in August of last year and forced nearly 200 Steelworkers in Albany, Oregon out of work.  Earlier this week, the lockout ended when the Steelworkers and Allegheny Technologies ratified a new contract. 

 The approval of the bill by Oregon’s legislature is another victory for working people in what has been seen as a landmark legislative session with Governor Brown signing a minimum wage increase into law on Monday. 

 Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain explained why this bill is important, even after the nearly 200 locked out Steelworkers in Albany head back to work:

 “Lockouts are incredibly difficult to bear, especially if they last beyond the term of unemployment insurance.  Working people lose their homes and take on egregious debt to make ends meet, even during the time in which they’re drawing from unemployment insurance.  But by passing this law, Oregon’s legislature has taken a step forward to enact a policy decision that will ease the burden on working families during lockouts.”