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Help May Be On The Way For Laid-Off Workers In Triangle

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Thousands of North Carolinians have lost their jobs this year. Now the state is taking steps to try to help them.

A group of laid-off employees in North Carolina are calling themselves, "Collateral Victims of Terrorism," -- Americans who lost their jobs because of the economic impact of the Sept. 11 events. Some of those unemployed workers joined U.S. Representatives Bob Etheridge and David Price Tuesday in front of the Employment Security Commission in Raleigh.

They are pushing for more benefits to those who lost their jobs.

Among those present at the rally was a textile worker who was laid off after 33 years on the job and Joyce Wlodarczyk, a single mother who was among the 2,400 Midway employees who lost their jobs in September.

Both said they are finding it difficult to make ends meet on unemployment benefits. Both said they also lost their health insurance and cannot afford to buy coverage out of their own pockets.

"My premium alone is $209 a month and I will tell you that I only gross $195 a week for unemployment," Wlodarczyk said. "If I wanted to put my two daughters on my Cobra plan, it would be $400 a month. I can't do that."

Workers hope Congress will increase the amount of their benefits and extend them. Officials with the Employment Security Commission said it is difficult for qualified workers to find new jobs.

The state's unemployment rate stands at 5.4 percent.


Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Jay Jennings, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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