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NC Justice Center report touts benefits of work-sharing programs

In a new report, the N.C. Justice Center touts the success other states have had with working-sharing programs, which give employers the option of temporarily reducing employees' hours as an alternative to layoffs.

A Senate bill introduced in April would establish a work-sharing program in North Carolina, but the legislation has languished in committee since being introduced.

Work sharing has saved 61,299 jobs in a combined 19 states in 2012, according to U.S. Department of Labor data cited in the Justice Center's report. Some states, like Colorado and New Hampshire, saved less than 100 jobs, while California, Texas and Washington each kept between about 10,000 and 21,000 employed, according to the report.

Poll highlights opposition to payday lending

According to a new poll from PPP, nearly three-fourths of state residents surveyed said they would be less likely to vote for a legislator who supports a new bill that would legalize payday loans in North Carolina.

Organizations push back against jobless benefits overhaul

Organizations opposed to a bill that would significantly cut unemployment checks for the jobless urged legislators to reconfigure the legislation in light of the harmful effects it would have on people's lives.

The press conference hosted Monday afternoon by several organizations -- the N.C. Justice Center, AFL-CIO, NC MomsRising and AARP -- was held just hours before the state House is slated to consider a Republican-backed measure to overhaul the state's unemployment system. The bill, which was approved last week by the House Finance Committee, hasn't yet been taken up by the Senate.

Robert Riggins, a benefits administrator at the Freightliner plant in Mount Holly, urged legislators to try living on the lower weekly unemployment checks called for in the bill. The legislature is considering cutting the maximum benefits paid to unemployed workers by roughly one third, from $535 a week to $350.

"That bill is devastating to North Carolina families and North Carolina workers," Riggins said. Last week Freightliner's corporate parent, Daimler Trucks North America, announced that it could lay off up to 1,200 workers at its North Carolina plants in Gastonia, Mount Holly and the Rowan County town of Cleveland.

What does the future hold for public unions in North Carolina?

What will be the results of the relationship between public unions, Gov.-elect Pat McCrory's administration and Republican legislative majorities?

A dozen or so union members and represenatives gathered outside the General Assembly building in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday to voice concerns about policy changes that may result from the new relationship, and to renew talking points about familiar points of contention over labor issues.

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