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Unemployed Workers Union Files Class Action Lawsuit In Hopes That A Federal Judge Will Reinstate Enhanced Benefits

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Federal Relief Act budgeted aid for states to provide additional relief for the unemployed through September 2021. However, Governor Larry Hogan announced Maryland would be discontinuing the additional federal benefit in June.

The governor cited that the number of vaccinated people and the job supply in the state and said there was no longer a need.

Teresa Bayliss, a single mom from Hagerstown, is filled with questions.

"What am I gonna do to survive? How can I feed my daughter? How can I go to a job if my car is taken?" said Bayliss.

She has been unemployed for the past five months and doesn't know what she'll do without the enhanced federal assistance.

"That $300 can pay a light bill. You can pay your car insurance," said Bayliss.

The federal benefit put an additional $300 into the pockets of every unemployed Marylander. Governor Hogan discontinued that additional aid which will go into effect this Saturday.

The Unemployed Workers Union is rallied outside of the Elijah Cummings Courthouse on Wednesday as their class-action lawsuit went before a judge.

"To stop Governor Hogan from ceasing federal aid this Saturday, July 3," Alec Summerfield, the Union's attorney, said of Wednesday's goal.

Attorney Alec Summerfield filed the lawsuit last week versus Governor Hogan and Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson on behalf of about 50,000 people who filed for unemployment.

"The people that we work for need these benefits," Summerfield said. "We want to make sure that all Marylanders still get their unemployment."

Maryland is one of over 24 states discontinuing the enhanced federal unemployment benefits.

In June, Governor Hogan said, "While these federal programs provided temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply. And we have a critical problem where businesses across our state are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe worker shortages."

But Sharon Black, of the Unemployed Workers Union, said there are still thousands unemployed, many still waiting for their unemployment benefits.

"Some folks have not gotten a dime of their money since the pandemic began," said Black, who vowed not one single unemployed Marylander will be left behind.

Many unemployed like Teresa said they have looking for a job but in the meantime, they still need their benefits.

"I applied at a grocery store they told me I was too experienced. It's hard its been very hard and I'm still unemployed," said Bayliss.

A judge did grant them a hearing today and that hearing will take place Friday morning in federal court at 11:00 a.m.

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