Pay delay 

About 150 to 200 idled workers are expected to testify today (Feb. 13) before a “workers’ rights board” featuring religious, labor and community leaders. Former employees of Chrysler, Northwest Airlines and Mexican Industries will share how they manage on a measly $300 a week in unemployment pay.

Republican state lawmakers are poised to introduce a bill that would raise weekly unemployment benefits to $415. If passed, it will be the first increase in weekly benefits since 1995.

But the bill is also expected to include a clause requiring the unemployed to wait a week before they can apply or collect benefits, according to state Rep. Rose Bogardus (D-Flint), who opposes that stipulation.

Last year Bogardus introduced a bill to increase unemployment benefits, but the Republican majorities in the House and Senate ignored it.

According to Kendall Wingrove, House Republican press secretary, workers will still be eligible for all 26 weeks of benefits. He maintains that the delay will simply prevent overlap between a worker’s final check and the start of benefits.

The fact that there’s often no such overlap is just one of the reality checks unemployed workers attending tonight’s meeting will be more than happy to provide any lawmaker supporting the bill. They want you to know you’re all invited. The hearing is at Detroit’s Chrysler UAW Local 7, 2600 Conner at 5:30 p.m. For more information call 313-961-0800.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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