New Orleans residents protest for $600 unemployment compensation extension

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NEW ORLEANS – Many people in Louisiana are struggling due to lost wages during this pandemic. It’s an ongoing problem complicated even more as unemployment benefits are set to run out next week.

“If the unemployment extension stops, it’s gonna be a disaster, a total disaster,” Hospitality worker, Willie Woods told WGNO on Wednesday morning. “People are gonna lose homes! People are gonna be evicted! People are gonna be put out on the streets!”

The $600 weekly federal unemployment compensation is scheduled to be discontinued on Friday, July 31st, 2020, which could impact thousands of people. That’s why over hundred people rallied together- calling it a caravan protest- to demand to extend the unemployment funding. 

“It’s important to fight for this because at the end of the day, it’s standing in solidarity,” Job-loss Organizer, Caleb Holmes shared. “Without workers and the money that they spend, this economy would be dead!”

After the caravan circled both senator’s offices, protesters dropped off a box filled with 1.5 million signatures petitioning to “save the 600”, referencing the weekly unemployment amount here in Louisiana.

Senator Cassidy released a statement today saying “We have to take care of families as they struggle to keep their lives together. But at the same time, we cannot incentivize people not to work. It’s not good for them. It’s not good for their job skills.”

“We do want to work,” unemployed New Orleans resident, Shan Grimm stated. “The problem is we’re all now fighting for the same jobs! It has nothing to do with anyone looking for a handout!”

Ultimately, unemployed residents are hoping their voices will be heard before July 31st.

“Make the extension go forward! Cause we didn’t ask for this and we don’t deserve this! We deserve better! We are workers of this country,” said Woods.

Senator Cassidy’s office says, discontinuing the $600 unemployment compensation has yet to be determined – Congress is still negotiating. 

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