Long-term unemployed aim to become a political force

by on September 23, 2010 · 2 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Labor, Organizing, War and Peace

People who have exhausted their jobless benefits are pressing policymakers for more aid and joining together to call attention to their cause.

By Alana Semuels / Los Angeles Times / September 22, 2010

After his wife of 23 years pulls out of the driveway every morning to head to college, Scott Mathewson sits down at the computer in his apartment and talks to his unemployment group.

Mathewson, a San Jose electrician who has been out of work for more than two years, spends most days in an online chat room he created to lobby for another round of unemployment benefits. In this election year, he and other jobless workers are trying to turn the nation’s 14.9 million unemployed into a political force.

“This has made me 110% more politically active,” said Mathewson, 45, who in March exhausted his 99 weeks of jobless benefits, the maximum available.

Mathewson is part of a growing army of so-called 99ers, the estimated 3.5 million unemployed workers who will have fallen off the jobless benefit rolls by the end of the year. Their prospects for finding new work are dim. The U.S. economy continues to shed jobs and the national unemployment rate is 9.6%; the August jobless rate in California was 12.4%.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Frank Gormlie September 25, 2010 at 11:19 am

This just in by a reader:

Sisters & Brothers,

We all know people who have been or are unwillingly unemployed. Please let them know that the unemployed are getting organized nationally and that they can come together here by contacting Marcia Boruta.

And turn out for Oct. 2nd & 7th http://sdplanningcommittee.wordpress.com/about/


Hello Lorena and All,
And I would be happy to help! Currently, I’m starting by letting the unemployed bloggers know about the Oct. 2 event in Balboa Park.

Below is the comment I just left on the Rochester Unemployment Examiner written by Mike Thornton: “In San Diego, CA there will be an event on Oct. 2, 3:30-4:30 in Balboa Park to coincide with the One Nation Working Together rally in DC. All unemployed who can attend should gather together to show our faces/numbers to those in attendance and the media. I’m not sure yet the exact location, but let’s start planning. Hope other unemployed will gather in their own communities. We need to start meeting each other and showing our faces and building our strength for the Nov. vote. Yesterday I went to a union meeting wearing my UCubed t-shirt and asked those in attendance if they knew anyone who is unemployed. Nearly everyone raised their hand. I told them about the American99ersunion coalition and the Americans Want to Work Act. We must make ourselves visible to those who have jobs and ask for their support, just as they want our votes for their issues. One Nation Working Together means we need to work together!!”

I will be contacting the San Diego Unemployment Examiner written by LaDonna King next. Both of these writers are well regarded and highly read by the unemployed activists. I would love to see the letter to unemployed union members.

Marcia Boruta


avatar dc0de September 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Wow, those jobless rates seem to keep going up…

I guess the President’s employment programs are kicking in like gangbusters…

We certainly need more programs like that.


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