If you have any comments, questions, or just want to get in touch please contact Pat Ambrose by e-mail or at 202 677-5098.
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Stigma Of Unemployment
According to a joint study by the UCLA and the State University of New York at Stoney Brook, the very fact that someone does not have a job has a stigma attached to it that leads to discriminatory hiring practices. And this stigma starts immediately after someone has been laid off. From the study itself:
"Our results suggest that the unemployed may have a legitimate concern about bias against them because unemployment stigma exists, occurs instantaneously (i.e., the moment an individual is unemployed), is unjustifiable (i.e., without regard to qualifications), difficult to alleviate (i.e., causal controllability of unemployment-onset did not affect stigma), and has negative consequences (i.e., leads to hiring biases against the unemployed). Furthermore, while some employers vehemently deny discriminating against the unemployed (Bassett, 2011b), our results suggest it may continue to happen and that employers may be unwittingly harming their competitiveness by eliminating completely qualified unemployed applicants for vacant positions. Thus, unemployment stigma may ironically harm not only the targets of unemployment stigma, but the perceivers of unemployment stigma as well."
State Anti-Discrimination Laws
While the federal government debates or avoids talking about it, state governments "get it".
Discrimination due to employment status, no matter how you got that way, is a real and growing problem. If you don't already have a job some employers think your skills have "degraded", even if you are doing volunteer work in your field or getting re-training. A number of states either have laws or are trying to pass laws banning unfair and unwise discrimination due to employment status. These states include:
District of Columbia
For more info click on our Legislation page.
Tell Us Your Story
Each generation in our country has faced challenges that threaten our very existence; from wars, disease, and now a 2nd depression. And we want to know your story. Tell us what you used to do, how you became unemployed, how you feel about it, how you overcome every day and what drives you to do it. Click here.
And...if you're a resident of Maryland, we encourage you to let us know that you are a citizen of that state. UR is plans to speak in support of Senate Bill 966, which will prohibit discrimination in hiring in Maryland due to employment status.
UPDATE: Following a hearing of the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on March 20, 2012 to consider it, this important bill was, unfortunately, not reported out of committee.
Political Engagement of America’s Unemployed
A speech given by Pat Ambrose
Almost two years ago I delivered a speech to you that called attention to the need for greater civic engagement to help ensure the ongoing health of our democracy. Two months ago I gave a speech intended to raise awareness of the image problem of America’s 5.4 million long-term unemployed. I would now like to share with you some ideas drawn from both speeches and talk to you today about the political engagement of the unemployed and why it’s important.
Although the Great Recession has been declared over for 36 months, you wouldn’t necessarily believe it if you’re a job seeker yourself, or you know someone who is one and are familiar with what they have been experiencing as such. There continues to be no job available for three out of every four unemployed workers in our country--three years after the recession officially ended. The main problem behind this is a big shortfall in aggregate demand, followed by a secondary problem of a mismatch between open jobs and the number of unemployed workers available with the skills needed to do them. A third problem, which is much harder to measure, but a no less vexatious one, is bias against the long-term unemployed in hiring.
With sovereign debt and banking system chaos in Europe and the looming “fiscal cliff” part of the economic landscape here, the Federal Reserve continues to test the limits of monetary policy in raising the growth rate of the economy and the possibility that more jobs will be created with it. The clear, foreseeable limitations of monetary policy creates an urgent need for Congress to put ideology aside and step up and boost economic growth through an additional large stimulus program as there’s little evidence that the private sector will boost investment and hiring on its own.
I have long felt that the unemployed, as a group, need to be much more engaged in our country’s political life as not being so very much hurts them, since only the federal government has the scale to really mitigate the current jobs crisis. As a group, the unemployed must look out for their interests in the political arena (which mostly center on job creation, unemployment insurance, and protection from discrimination in hiring), but unfortunately, there are the problems of not being listened and responded to. An article that appeared in the New York Times a year ago, entitled “The Unemployed Somehow Became Invisible” noted that the budget deficit, not jobs, had been dominating the conversation in Washington and that, to elected officials, the unemployed were a relatively small constituency. But aside from their low number as a percentage of the total U.S. population, the unemployed have been under considered in Washington for other reasons including:
Will an additional stimulus program really help? Well, I’m reasonably well-schooled in Keynesian economics and I believe so, although skeptics of this approach abound. But, it’s very clear to me four years after the financial crisis, that the U.S. economy will continue to experience disappointing, sub-optimal growth until the jobs crisis is moved from the back burner to the front burner in Washington.
As the economy was losing an average of 530,000 jobs per month following the market panic in September 2008, I foresaw an adverse feedback loop between rising unemployment, rising foreclosures, troubled mortgages, and contraction of the economy, and knew that a strong focus on employment needed to remain a high priority if sustained high unemployment was to be averted, even with the large stimulus from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Unfortunately, there really wasn’t a priority focus in Washington on mitigating unemployment during the following three years and sustained high unemployment is exactly what resulted. But to be fair, the Obama Administration did introduce the American Jobs Act last year which would have provided a $447 billion stimulus to boost growth, but little progress was made in passing it in Congress even after it was broken up into separate legislation.
Organizing the unemployed politically as a group will help them look out for their interests by better enabling them to push the legislators who represent them to do more through fiscal policy to boost growth and create the jobs that are critical for survival. Organizing the unemployed will require credible advocate leaders to step up and use their visibility to educate the general public about the large, long-lasting social and personal costs of the unemployment experience. These leaders will also need converse with legislators and their staffs about the need for immediate action on the jobs crisis and encourage unemployed voters and other voters affected by unemployment to do the same. Outreach initiatives by advocates for the unemployed can and should be organized by legislative district. Special attention should be given to reach the unemployed voter during voter registration activity that will occur between now and November.
Many unemployed, who can be relatively isolated from so many others who are like them, do not want to draw attention to the fact that they are unemployed and this tends to prevent them from thinking collectively and advocating for their common interests in the political sphere. But there’s a good chance that would change if good, motivating, unifying leadership exists for them.
From Our "Hall Of Shame"
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 8. View more »
Truths About Workers Over 40
2. Have lower turnover rates than younger employees.
3. Are generally more loyal employees.
4. Have less job injuries than younger employees.
5. Are less likely to steal from your company.
6. Bring a wealth of experience with them to work.
7. Generally have a strong work ethic.
8. Generally find satisfaction with and enjoy their work.
9. Want to work, at least part-time, even after they retire.
10. You will one day be an older worker.
See more truths and myths exploded...
Hair-dye, Lies, and Economic Violence:
How I beat long-term unemployment during the depression of the 21st century.
Three years of the most
productive period of my time here on earth was spent banging my ...
Posted Mar 9, 2012, 5:04 AM by Patrick Ambrose
Long-term Joblessness, Whoopy and the REAL Audacity of Hope
goes around comes around
Last week I had a job interview. Even though my resumes
are clear and concise telling of my miraculous achievements that make the
businesses I ...
Posted Aug 12, 2011, 7:17 PM by Patrick Ambrose
The Unemployed History of American 50-X
Call me 50-X.
[I thought paraphrasing a classic like Moby Dick would be
an appropriate way to start this blog. I’m also referencing the recent Newsweek
article titled ...
Posted Aug 14, 2011, 10:16 AM by Patrick Ambrose