More than a dozen people gathered Friday evening on the corner of West Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard for a peaceful protest for families who haven’t received their unemployment payments.
After a Nevada judge signed an order last week mandating the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation resume paying self-employed and independent workers who previously received benefits before the state froze their funds, many say they still are without payment under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, or PUA.
The Strip protest was organized by a group called Nevada United, which promised to protest as often as possible with the hope that the gatherings picked up more independent workers each time.
“We’re out here to get paid,” said Darren Larra, 43. “It’s kind of ironic because you see these million, billions of dollars worth of casinos as people are gambling and yet here we are, suffering.”
Larra said he “hasn’t received a penny,” since filing with DETR.
Belsin Younan, 26, said he had to stop working after being diagnosed with COVID-19 four months ago but since then has been told his jobs as a Lyft driver and at an insurance call center disqualify him from any unemployment assistance.
“I have a 3-year-old at home and they’re not paying,” he said. “This should be a criminal case because DETR is terrorizing Nevada families.”
David Day, 34, of northwest Las Vegas, said the state asked him to close his business as a hair and makeup artist March 18 but after submitting his documents three times for PUA benefits, Day is still without payments. He said the department owes him over $20,000.
“My NV Energy bill is due next week and I’ll lose my business license if I don’t come up with $240 by Aug. 8,” he said.
Several cars drove past the corner honking, one man chanted, “Pay me my money,” while the protesters cheered.