Press Conference to Call for Expanded Funding for Excluded Workers Fund (Oct. 5 – 11am)

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Workers, community members to press Gov. Hochul and state legislature to use executive powers, hold special session as demand for fund soars

NEW YORK___Workers and community members will hold a press conference tomorrow, October 5 at 11:00am at Washington Square Park, to demand Governor Kathy Hochul and state legislators take steps immediately to add funding for the state’s Excluded Workers Fund, which is running out of money amid skyrocketing demand — even though scores of workers across the state have yet to apply for the fund.

More than 300,000 applications have been submitted to the program, which provides relief to workers who were cut out of pandemic aid programs, and more than 100,000 workers have had their applications approved. Nearly all applicants have received the higher tier of benefits available for the program – a one-time $15,600 payment before taxes. The state’s Department of Labor has already approved more than half of the budgeted $2.1 billion for distribution and the fund is nearing exhaustion.

On September 24, the Department of Labor posted a banner on its site informing new applicants that they would no longer be guaranteed funding, even if they meet all eligibility requirements. Instead, workers may be placed on a waitlist, with no guarantee that they will receive the money they applied for.

At the press conference, workers and allies will call on Governor Hochul and the state legislature to use every tool at their disposal to expand funding for the Excluded Workers Fund, including using Executive Orders and holding an emergency state legislative session.

Workers will detail the impact of the fund, explaining how it has changed their lives and made it easier for them and their families to survive. They will be joined by advocates who will explain how cutting off access to the fund would create inequities across the state, underlining the hurdles that have made it harder for workers upstate and in rural areas of New York to learn about and access the fund. Advocates will also explain why additional funding would be a boost for the state’s economy as a whole.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 — 11:00am

WHERE: Washington Square Park (under the arch)

WHO: Fund Excluded Workers Coalition, community members with Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, Laundry Workers Center, Community Resource Center of New York, Obreros Unidos de Yonkers, National Domestic Workers Alliance – NY Chapter, Mixteca, Worker Justice Project, Damayan, Domestic Workers United, Arab-American Family Support Center, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE)

LIVESTREAM: The press conference will be livestreamed on the Make the Road New York Facebook page

The Excluded Workers Fund opened in August after a year-long organizing effort by excluded workers throughout the state. Excluded New Yorkers fought tooth and nail to be able to access economic relief that will allow them to get back on their feet after losing their incomes and unjustly being left out of federal and state government support during the pandemic.

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