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Businesses unable to find workers urging Gov. Abbott to stop extra unemployment aid

Nearly 40 Texas business owners wrote a letter to the governor, stating their case for stopping the boosted in benefits.

SAN ANTONIO — As the state continues to open up and a sense of normalcy slowly returns, businesses say they have positions open, but there’s no one willing to work. This week they united to write to Gov. Greg Abbott, urging him to prevent a “potential economic crisis.”

On Thursday, the Texas Association of Business and 37 other business organizations across the state sent a letter to Abbott. In it, they asked him to end the state’s participation in the supplemental federal UI payment. 

The federal program gives unemployed recipients an additional $300 per week in aid. The group wrote the state should be promoting companies that are hiring and people who are receiving aid should be required to search for work. 

They wrote, in part:

“Texans want to get back to work, back to school and back to normal. Employers believe that supplemental UI benefit payments from Washington is disincentivizing work and resulting in many good Texas jobs going unfilled. Most Texans would agree that a good job is better than a government program, especially now that our economy is rebounding.”

Posted by Texas Association of Business on Thursday, May 13, 2021

KENS 5 spoke with local restaurant owner Chef Johnny Hernandez in March. Despite the state fully reopening, he was unable to find workers. Since then, he says not much has changed for his business. Hernandez owns Burgerteca, Fruteria and La Gloria.

He said that, prior to the pandemic, he had 300 employees. Nowadays, he's down to about 125 employees. As he attempts to fill positions, Hernandez says he’s made changes to his hiring process.

“We don’t set up any interviews with anybody on unemployment,” he said. “We want employees that have been working because they have that engagement.”

Hernandez said it’s crucial that the state is alerted of the challenges facing businesses.

“I think it’s fair for the governor and those in leadership to say, 'You know what? It’s time to do this. It’s time to pull back and scale back these things,'" he said. “We need employees and we need folks to come back to work.”

The following organizations signed the letter to the governor: 

  • Texas Association of Business
  • National Federation of Independent Business
  • Texas Association of Manufacturers
  • Texas Cattle Feeders Association
  • Texas Cotton Association
  • Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association
  • Texas Food & Fuel Association
  • Texas Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Texas Independent Ginners Association
  • Texas Nursery and Landscaping Association
  • Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Texas Restaurant Association
  • Texas Retailers Association
  • Texas Travel Alliance
  • Theatre Owners of Mid-America
  • Abilene Chamber of Commerce
  • Bastrop Chamber of Commerce
  • Boerne Chamber of Commerce
  • The Chamber – Schertz Cibolo Selma Area
  • Denison Chamber of Commerce
  • El Campo Chamber of Commerce
  • Elgin Chamber of Commerce
  • Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce
  • Frisco Chamber of Commerce
  • Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Galveston Chamber of Commerce
  • Longview Chamber of Commerce
  • Lubbock Chamber of Commerce
  • McAllen Chamber of Commerce
  • Ozona Chamber of Commerce
  • Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce
  • Rowlett Chamber of Commerce
  • Temple Chamber of Commerce
  • Texarkana Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Tomball Chamber of Commerce
  • Tyler Chamber of Commerce
  • United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce