by Max Brantley
A prayer vigil is scheduled outside U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's office at 1501 N. University at 4 p.m. Thursday in hopes of encouraging Griffin to vote for extended unemployment insurance. This would require his putting aside partisan gimmickry in backing plans to extend some benefits in return for punishing other workers with federal job layoffs, means tests for benefit programs and other punitive measures.
Clergy, community leaders, unemployed constituents and concerned working families will hold a press conference and pray for the extension of unemployment insurance outside of Rep. Tim Griffin’s office at 1501 N. University in Little Rock at 4:00 PM on Thursday, December 8. For jobless Arkansans and local communities hit hard by long-term unemployment, extended unemployment insurance is a lifeline that is set to expire at the end of December unless Congress takes action.
Retired Presbyterian minister Howard Gordon, Arkansas AFL-CIO president Alan Hughes and others will lead a prayer and speaking program highlighting the stories of the jobless and calling on Rep. Tim Griffin to put aside politics and vote to reauthorize unemployment insurance.
“Without unemployment insurance, many Arkansans wouldn’t be able to keep food on the table or a roof over their head,” said Alan Hughes, President of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, “and it worries me to think about what would happen to many thousands of Arkansans if Congress doesn’t act now to help struggling families.”
“Our local economy will also suffer if unemployment benefits are not extended because unemployed workers spend all of the money they receive in benefits right here in Arkansas,” added Mr. Hughes.