About Unemployedworkers.org

Disclaimer: Please note that information provided on or by this website is for informational purposes only and is not and should not be considered legal advice.


UnemployedWorkers.org is the grassroots online campaign and informational portal created in 2003 to serve, engage and inform jobless workers. When the economy tanks and unemployment spikes, jobless workers shouldn't have to bear the burden on their own. Unfortunately, some in Congress don't understand how important extending benefits is to the whole economy. We collect stories from the unemployed, facts about the economy and present them to opinion makers inside and outside of Washington.

UnemployedWorkers.org is a project of the National Employment Law Project (NELP). NELP works to restore the promise of economic opportunity in the 21st century economy and has led advocacy to modernize and bolster the safety net for jobless workers for the last 10 years. Learn more.

If you want to ask a question about unemployment benefits, please use our 'Ask the Expert' section. We are not able to respond to all queries.  To submit your own personal unemployment story click here.  And if you want to give us feedback about the site or comment about our work, please use the form here.

Our team includes:

Christine L. Owens, Executive Director
Christine Owens joined NELP as its Executive Director in January 2008. Over her long career as a workers’ rights advocate, she has held a variety of public interest and public sector positions advancing employment rights and opportunities for women, people of color and low wage workers. Her long tenure includes time as appointed Director of Public Policy for the AFL-CIO.

Maurice Emsellem, Policy Co-Director
Maurice Emsellem joined NELP in 1991, after working for the Legal Aid Society in New York City. At NELP, he has worked on collaborations with organizers and advocates that have successfully modernized state unemployment insurance programs, created employment protections for workfare workers, and reduced unfair barriers to employment of people with criminal records in state laws and in city hiring practices.

Judith M. Conti, Federal Advocacy Coordinator
Judy joined NELP in 2007 after spending seven years as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the D.C. Employment Justice Center, a legal service provider devoted to workplace justice in the D.C. metropolitan area. Judy has developed NELP’s presence in D.C., working to bring the expertise and experience of NELP and its allies to the halls of Congress and relevant agencies. She has lobbied on issues of income security, job training for workers who have lost jobs due to globalization, and the needs of workers who have criminal records serving as a barrier to full employment

Mitchell Hirsch, Web and Campaign Associate
After being laid off from a long-standing job in the retail industry, Mitchell Hirsch turned full-time to his life-long passions of policy advocacy and journalism. He was named 2010 CREDO Mobile/Netroots Nation Blog Activist of the Year for his work on Working America’s Main Street Blog, and joined NELP in 2010.

Mike Evangelist, Policy Analyst
Michael joined NELP in 2010. As a member of the Economic Adjustment Initiative and Unemployment Insurance teams, his work includes research, analysis, and advocacy in support of state and federal programs for jobless workers as well as unemployment insurance reform. Prior to joining NELP, he was a policy analyst at the Center for Economic Progress in Chicago where he advocated on behalf of low-income workers.

Rick McHugh, Staff Attorney
Rick joined NELP in 2000.  Before joining NELP, he represented low-income workers seeking to access their government benefits as a legal services attorney, and he was a lawyer for the United Auto Workers, where he represented laid-off workers seeking to access unemployment benefits and Trade Adjustment Assistance.  At NELP, he has successfully worked with advocates in the Midwest and other states to improve the state unemployment insurance programs.  In 2005, he established the Economic Dislocation Initiative serving Midwest states suffering from major layoffs in the auto industry.

George Wentworth, Staff Attorney
George Wentworth joined NELP in September, 2009 after 35 years of service with the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL). As Director of Program Policy, he served as General Counsel to the Labor Commissioner for 20 years. He served as chief drafter of Connecticut’s unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility regulations and has provided training and policy guidance to the agency’s adjudicators.

Norman Eng, Communications Director
Norman joined NELP in the fall of 2010. Previously, he was media relations director at the New York Immigration Coalition, where he served as a media strategist, policy advocate, writer, editor and spokesperson.  Mr. Eng is a first-generation immigrant and graduate of Fordham University Law School and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Claire McKenna, Policy Analyst
Claire joined NELP in the Fall of 2010 after working as a researcher with the Institute for Children and Poverty, a position she began before she graduated from the Wagner Public Policy program at NYU in 2009.