The unemployment card is supposed to be a way to prove your ability to find a job, but it’s been used by employers and politicians alike as a way of intimidating workers and denying them their right to unionize.
Now, some lawmakers want to change that.
Municipal government leaders are pushing back against what they say is an unfair use of the card.
They are asking state lawmakers to remove it from the books and allow for a statewide database to track unemployed workers.
Rep. John Mascola, D-Grand Rapids, said the state is not the only state to have used the card to identify unemployed workers, and the state should do more to keep it that way.
The job card is one of the few ways for workers to show they have a job and their benefits, Mascana said in a statement.
The card is also the only way to verify a worker’s eligibility for unemployment benefits.
The Michigan Department of Labor, Employment and Training is considering whether to issue a new version of the unemployment card that could be issued by the Michigan Department.
The current card will be used until June 2019.
Rep. Matt Wurzbach, D.L., who sponsored the bill, said in an interview that the job card was a useful tool for employers to identify people with limited skills.
It also allowed companies to know who the unemployed were, he said.
The bill would remove the word “underemployed” from the card, making it easier to determine who was actually in the unemployment line.
But the bill faces hurdles in the Legislature.
A committee approved the bill on Thursday, but the chamber is not expected to take it up for a vote until next month.
The chamber has not yet released a copy of the bill.
The bill also is not on the November 2018 ballot.
The state has not passed a job creation bill since 2006, but several bills are expected to get the signature of Gov.
Rick Snyder in the coming months.
A job-creation measure would pay $500,000 to any worker who can demonstrate he or she is ready to work in the next four months, said Rep. Lisa Fiedler, D/R-Lansing, one of four co-sponsors of the House version of Mascolas bill.