As Unemployment Aid Gets Ready To Expire, 58-Year-Old Jobless Worker In Pittsburgh Says: “There Is A Way Out, For All Of Us, And It’s With Collective Action. We Don’t Have Another Choice. All Of Us Need To Stand Together”
(PITTSBURGH) - Terry Maile’s supervisor called her into a conference room with all of her co-workers to hear the news: It was their last day of employment at Level 3 Communications in Pittsburgh.
That was it.
The jobs were gone to India.
“I couldn’t stop crying,” said Maile, a divorced mother of one, who until that moment had spent her professional life as a Telecommunications Worker before being laid off first by Verizon and then by Level 3.
Even then, Maile said, she still believed in The American Dream.
Maile owned her own home and although she’d been forced to liquidate her retirement after the Verizon layoff, she had begun to build it back up.
Then came the Level 3 layoff.
It shook her to her core.
“That was my defining moment,” she said. “I was filling out paperwork and I couldn’t help it…. I was just crying and crying. I said: ‘They don’t understand. We’re all interconnected.”
Ten years ago, back when Maile worked at Verizon, she earned $75,000 a year.
At Level 3, she was paid $50,000.
Today, she makes $8.50-an-hour at a retail job.
She applies for professional jobs every day.
Sometimes her application is one of 400.
Maile, 58, plans to travel to Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks to raise her voice for benefits for the long-term unemployed.
If Congress fails to act before leaving town for the year, benefits will expire for workers who’ve searched fruitlessly for jobs for more than 99 weeks.
Some six million Workers will stop receiving weekly compensation of about $300.
Maile plans to campaign constantly for jobless Workers.
“I’d been blaming myself, until I realized what’s happening, until I learned more about corporate greed. And then I got active. There is a way out, for all of us, and it’s with collective action. We don’t have another choice. All of us need to stand together,” she said.