State House approves unemployment benefits for strikers

  • By Bill Lucia Washington State Standard
  • Saturday, February 17, 2024 1:30am
  • Politics

OLYMPIA — Workers who are on strike or locked out of their workplace by their employer due to a labor dispute would gain access to unemployment insurance benefits under a bill the Washington state House approved in the early morning hours Tuesday, after working through the night.

The bill passed on a 53-44 vote. Five Democrats voted with Republicans against it. Among them were Rep. Mike Chapman of Port Angeles, who represents Legislative District 24 which covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County. Others were Reps. Debra Entenman, Larry Springer, My-Linh Thai and Amy Walen.

Under the legislation, striking workers would become eligible for unemployment insurance on the second Sunday following the first day of a strike and could then begin to receive benefit payments after an additional one-week waiting period.

The bill would also remove a section of state law that disqualifies employees from unemployment insurance during employer-initiated labor lockouts.

Lawmakers amended the bill on the floor.

These changes included adding a four-week limit on benefits for striking workers and language to shift the cost of the benefits onto the employer involved in the labor dispute, rather than spreading the expense across the unemployment insurance system. Another amendment specified that benefits may not be paid during strikes prohibited by federal or state law or a court order.


Bill Lucia is editor-in-chief of the Washington State Standard (, an independent, nonprofit news organization that produces original reporting on policy and politics.

More in Politics

Port Angeles City Council hopefuls Kate Dexter and Travis Berglund answer questions during a Port Angeles Business Association forum Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula News)
Port Angeles mayor to run for county commission

Dexter has supported climate action plan, affordable housing

Emily Randall, left, and Hilary Franz.
Stalwarts take sides in race for Kilmer's seat

A growing constellation of Democratic Party influencers are choosing sides in the… Continue reading

Online learning keeps rising among state's K-12 students

Online learning for Washington’s public school kids is here to stay. That’s… Continue reading

Jefferson County turnout tops in state

More than half registered voters handed in ballots

Battle narrows to Biden and Trump

Tuesday’s primaries give each the delegates needed for a November contest

Clallam commissioner announces bid for third term

Housing, timber revenue among several priorities

Mike Chapman.
Housing discussed at update

Tharinger, Chapman talk about legislation

House, Senate release spending proposals

Supplemental budgets to be negotiated

Plan to cap how much landlords can raise rent moves ahead

Statewide caps on annual rent increases could take effect in… Continue reading

State House approves unemployment benefits for strikers

Workers who are on strike or locked out of their… Continue reading

Chapman explains votes

Rep. Mike Chapman was among the few Democrats who voted… Continue reading

Democrats Franz, Randall stockpile cash in battle for US House position

Cash is flowing into campaign coffers of two Democrats dueling for an… Continue reading