Expressing “serious concerns regarding Michigan’s workforce crisis,” Congressman Fred Upton and his fellow Michigan delegation Republicans have dispatched a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer calling on her to help end the federal supplemental unemployment benefits that they see as keeping people on the sidelines rather then re-entering the workforce as in-person work continues to resume across the state.
Upton and half a dozen other members of the Michigan Congressional delegation sent the letter Monday to Whitmer, citing an April jobs report that they say “indicates a significant labor supply shortage,” which the say is “a complaint we hear from businesses across our districts daily.” They argue, “With only 266,000 new jobs added last month, it is abundantly clear that employers are struggling to find workers.”
Upton is joined on the letter by colleagues Peter Meijer, Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar, Tim Wallberg, Jack Bergman, and Lisa McClain.
The delegation notes, “We all agree that the federal supplemental benefits served a purpose when businesses were forced to close in response to the public health crisis, but now, as the seven-day average of positive cases continues a three-week decline and hospitalization rates remain low, businesses both can and want to reopen, and employees can and should return to work. Unfortunately, these benefits remain so robust that employees are more incentivized to stay home and collect unemployment than to go back to work.”
They issue a challenge to Whitmer, saying, “Today, we call on you to end participation in this program to get our state’s economy back on track and ensure our employers have access to the talent they need to return to normal.”
The governor’s office in Lansing issued the following statement in response to the delegation:
“As we make our way out of the pandemic, our administration is continuing to focus on meeting the needs of Michigan families and small businesses. The governor does not support taking unemployment benefits away from people who have lost a job through no fault of their own during a pandemic. Instead, we will deploy the critical federal aid we’ve received through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to set up our state for success and ensure that Michigan’s families, businesses, and communities emerge stronger than ever from this pandemic.”
You can see the full letter and signatories by clicking this link: