Fund Excluded Workers Coalition
The fight for the Excluded Workers Fund showed that our social safety net is riddled with gaps that shut out our state’s most vulnerable workers, especially Black and brown working families. In 2023, we will fight to close these loopholes so workers can access the support they need when they lose their jobs and update our safety net for the 21st century.
When the pandemic struck in 2020, hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs. Many workers were able to access unemployment insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and stimulus checks from the federal government. But for thousands of workers, due to their immigration status and the type of work they did, there was no access to the safety net. Grassroots organizations across New York State launched the Fund Excluded Workers campaign in demand for a relief fund for workers who had no access to relief.
Thousands of phone calls, powerful rallies, direct action that shut down major bridges, and culminating in a 23-day hunger strike made history in New York State. On April 6, 2021, the NYS Legislature approved a budget for a $2.1 billion Excluded Workers Fund – the largest-in-the-nation and the first of its kind.
Within 9 weeks of the program’s implementation, over 130,000 excluded New Yorkers were approved for the fund – 99% qualified for the maximum benefit of $15,600.