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Florida labor unions urge Gov. Ron DeSantis to keep federal benefits boost

'Do the right thing,' AFL-CIO Politics Director Rich Templin says
Posted at 4:53 AM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 04:53:21-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida labor unions are urging the governor to rethink early withdrawal from the federal program boosting unemployment benefits.

Claimants will lose an extra $300 a week on June 26 unless Gov. Ron DeSantis backtracks. The money comes on top of any other state or federal benefits for qualified job seekers.

Florida AFL-CIO and others launched a digital campaign and petition Thursday to encourage DeSantis to change his mind. The group wants to keep payments running until their original September expiration.

Rich Templin, Florida AFL-CIO Politics Director
Rich Templin is imploring Gov. Ron DeSantis to keep the federal benefits in place to help struggling workers.

The union's political director, Rich Templin, said the unemployed are still suffering, and the boost has no cost to the state.

"Why would the DeSantis administration leave this money on the table when we are in such a dire economic situation?" Templin said. "This is politics. … Do the right thing. Keep these benefits in place. Again, they're not hurting anyone.”

DeSantis has been defiant to date. Ending the boosts, he's said, will help push the unemployed back to work. More than 400,000 jobs are waiting, and businesses are desperate to hire, the governor said.

"We are back to where, I think, the economy is performing very well," DeSantis said during a press conference last week. "There are a lot of job openings, and so we can transition back to a pre-pandemic construct on that."

At least 23 other Republican-led states are making the same move, ending the benefits boost this month.