For Immediate Release
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
Stitt Forced People to Apply for “Return to Work” Incentive and didn’t Pay
OKLAHOMA CITY—MARCH 21, 2022 – Less than 10% of those who applied for Stitt’s “Return to Work” incentive last year received payment. At a dangerous time in our Nation with continued concerns over COVID in the workplace and limited resources, working families were forced to choose between returning to work in a potentially unsafe work environment and losing their income altogether. This choice was made harder by limited daycare for their children because so many daycare centers were closed due to COVID.
“When Stitt ended the expanded Federal weekly unemployment checks early and coerced workers back into the office, Oklahoma already had a low unemployment rate, one of the lowest in the Nation. Stitt’s only reason for forcing people off of the Federal unemployment was to raise his public image at the expense of Oklahoma families. Once again, Stitt demonstrated who he cares more about — himself, over the people he swore to represent and protect,” stated Alicia Andrews, Chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party
“Despite the low unemployment rate, people were forced off of unemployment early, and many who could return to work ended up working more than one job to make ends meet and pay the bills. Yet, when Stitt ended the expanded unemployment checks early, Oklahoma only saw a .2% decline in unemployment, minimal impact on employment levels. Not only that, states that ended the program early saw the slowest growth in their labor markets, whereas states that kept the payments saw the quickest job growth rates.
“Stitt and his Republican cronies claimed that people had to return to work to improve our economy. The truth is, many people not working during the pandemic were not the young, rather an older generation who chose early retirement. In other words, Stitt’s early ending of the Federal unemployment check program and his ‘Return to Work’ incentive were nothing more than a PR stunt he could use for his campaign and boasting opportunities that ‘he did something’ for Oklahoma’s economy. This stunt was unnecessarily cruel and demeaning, demonstrating that Stitt isn’t qualified to run our state. We must not allow Stitt another four years in office,” concluded Andrews.
For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit the party website at okdemocrats.org, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.