New York Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Striking WGAE Members

Seven-Week Waiting Period Due to Strike

If you become unemployed due to a

strike or lockout involving your employer at the establishment where you work, there is an additional waiting

period of seven weeks before you can obtain unemployment benefits. This law applies even if your union is not

involved in the strike or lockout. Under

a new law, however, the waiting period ends when the employer hires replacement



Looking for Work While Collecting Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Once the waiting period has passed and you begin collecting unemployment insurance benefits, in order to maintain eligibility, you must be available and prepared to accept suitable work. Suitable work is work for which you are reasonably fitted by

training and experience. This means that you have to look for work in

all your most recent occupations, especially if the prospect of

obtaining work in your primary skill area is not good, or not available due to the strike. After 13 full

weeks of benefits are claimed, suitable work will also include any work

that you are capable of performing, whether or not you have any

experience or are training in such work, unless you obtain employment

through a union hiring hall or have a definite date to return to work.

Such work must pay at least 80% of your high-quarter base-period wages.

Any offered work must pay the prevailing wage for such work in your

area. You must demonstrate that you are seeking employment while claiming benefits by keeping a written record of your job search. Forms to record your efforts are provided in the "Unemployment Insurance Information for Claimants" booklet mailed to you when you apply. You may be asked to show your work efforts when reporting to the local Division of Employment Services office. You have to report in to Unemployment Services periodically in order to keep your benefits.


Filing a Claim

Generally, you should apply for

benefits immediately upon becoming unemployed. If you have not done so, you should apply as soon as possible. You can apply on line or by phone as

indicated below.

Telephone: 1-888-209-8124

(NY residents)


(Out-of-state residents who worked in NY)


will need the following information to file a claim:

  • Your Social Security


  • Your New York State

    driver's license or Motor Vehicle ID card number if you have one.

  • Your mailing address

    and zip code.

  • A telephone number

    where you can be contacted for additional information.

  • The names and

    addresses of all employers for whom you've worked within the last 18 months,

    including those in another state.



For additional information on unemployment

benefits, see the NY Department of Labor website listed above, especially the