January 22, 2014

Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Warren, McGovern muster support for extension of jobless benefits

By Stephen H. Foskett, Jr.
January 22, 2014

WORCESTER - Tony Caramello's story is one heard many times in today's economy.

At age 55, with 18 years of executive experience under his belt, Mr. Caramello got called into the meeting nobody wants to ever be a part of.

"They told me my services were no longer needed," he said.

His wife is a schoolteacher, which softened the blow somewhat, but unemployment helped fill the gaps as he began a long search for a new job.

He said he never thought he would be asking for an extension on unemployment benefits after his 30 weeks ran out. But he did.

"Things change," Mr. Caramello said.

Things changed for the better for Mr. Caramello. He came to Workforce Central to help focus his job search, and eventually went back to work, with the Marlboro Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Caramello's story was part of a roundtable held Wednesday at Workforce Central that included U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester. The pair are back home trying to build public support for extending federal long-term unemployment benefits, which expired last month.

Ms. Warren said 2,000 people in Massachusetts are losing their unemployment benefits every week because of Congress' failure to act.

She said Republican filibustering led to unemployment benefits being cut off. She called it an attack on working families, while the government continues to provide subsidies to oil companies and "big agri-business."

Pushing back to get unemployment flowing again is morally right, she said. Reinstating unemployment is also good for the economy, she said, quickly giving people money to spend.

"Every dollar gets turned right around," she said.

Read the full story here.