Suit Challenges Decision Ending Federal Unemployment Benefit in Maryland

Maryland residents who are out of work have filed a class-action lawsuit to block the state’s decision to end enhanced federal unemployment benefits next week.

News outlets report that the Unemployed Workers Union, which is led by a Baltimore organization called the Peoples Power Assembly, filed the suit Thursday in Baltimore Circuit Court.

The lawsuit challenges Gov. Larry Hogan’s authority to stop several unemployment benefits on July 3, seeking an injunction to keep the governor from revoking benefits two months before the federal end date. The decision will affect nearly 250,000 people, according to the labor department.

The lawsuit also seeks benefits for people who filed claims but haven't yet received payments.

The suit names Hogan and Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson as defendants. The plaintiffs are six Maryland residents who have filed for unemployment.

The additional benefit of $300 a week is unnecessary now that vaccines are widely available and there is a growing worker shortage, Hogan said. At least 24 other states with Republican governors have taken similar steps.

“Our position is that this order is illegal. And a threat to the public welfare,” the union’s lawyer Alex Summerfield said.

Hogan has no intention of reversing his decision, spokesman Michael Ricci said.

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