MARQUETTE - Dozens of area residents joined demonstrators around the state urging GOP lawmakers to extend unemployment benefits.
A group gathered Friday outside U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek's Marquette office to urge him to support the extension of federal unemployment benefits.
The Michigan AFL-CIO announced rallies at the Michigan offices of eight Republican U.S. House members to promote legislation extending federal unemployment benefits.
Dozens of area residents gathered Friday outside U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek’s Marquette office to urge him to support the extension of federal unemployment benefits. (Journal photo by Kyle Whitney)
The labor federation planned Friday rallies at the offices of Benishek, Justin Amash in Grand Rapids, Dave Camp in Midland, Bill Huizenga in Muskegon, Candice Miller in Macomb County's Shelby Township, Mike Rogers in Lansing, Fred Upton in Kalamazoo and Tim Walberg in Jackson.
The AFL-CIO said the rallies were to start at noon at all sites except Huizenga's office, where it was set to start at 4 p.m.
The federation didn't announce rallies at the offices of Livonia Republican Thaddeus McCotter or the state's six Democratic U.S. House members.
Under the current unemployment system, the state of Michigan pays jobless benefits for up to 20 weeks; some other states pay 26. After that period of time, the benefits are paid by the federal government for up to 99 total weeks.
If an extension of the program, which is set to expire on March 6, is not agreed to, the federal employment benefits will dry up and anyone who has been unemployed beyond the state limit will be without unemployment assistance.
Late last year, the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 extended the expiration date of the federal benefits to March 6.
State AFL-CIO leaders have said the expiration of the program could affect 80,000 Michigan residents.