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Striking Verizon Worker Gets Union Mortgage Assistance

Are you concerned about missing a house payment or facing foreclosure because you're disabled, laid off, locked out or on strike? Click here to learn more about how the Union Plus Mortgage Assistance Program can help eligible union members who have a Union Plus mortgage.

This past August, thousands of Communications Workers of America (CWA) members from Virginia to New England bravely went on strike against Verizon to protect their jobs, pay and benefits. Thanks to Union Plus, workers on the picket line didn't need to worry about missing a home payment when their paycheck stopped.

Sixteen CWA members at Verizon received $36,640 in interest-free loans and grants to cover their September mortgage payments during the August strike. Nearly $16,000 was grant money that never needs to be repaid.

Peace of Mind for 28-Year CWA Member

Mitchell Jakuboski of Brooklyn, NY, and CWA Local 1101 was one of the Verizon strikers helped by Union Plus.

As Jakuboski grabbed his picket sign, he also picked up the phone to request aid from the Union Plus Mortgage Program. Jakuboski, has been a CWA member for nearly 29 years. He recalled all too well his last strike in 1989, which lasted 17 weeks. While he is proud to stand with his union, then as now, he also remembers the financial strain he endured.

"I started having flashbacks," Jakuboski said, "only it was going to be even tougher this time around because I now have both a home - and family - to protect."

When he bought his home five years earlier, Jakuboski selected a union mortgage which not only saved him money on his closing costs, but also came with a unique benefit - the Union Plus Mortgage Assistance Program - which provides the peace of mind union workers need during difficult times.

"These are very hard times," he says, "and union families need all the protection we can get. It just makes sense, if you're buying a home, get a union mortgage too."

Saving Members' Homes

The Mortgage Assistance Program provides interest-free loans to union members, as well as their parents and children, who have had a Union Plus Mortgage for 12 months or more and who miss work due to unemployment, disability, strike or lockout. For first-time benefit users, up to $1,000 of the loan is a grant that never needs to be repaid.

"I was a little skeptical when I first heard about it," he says. "The more they told me, the better it sounded. Still, I figured I'd never have to use it."

When the strike was declared, Jakuboski called Union Plus to tap into the assistance. "They were amazing," he says. He applied for the help, was approved, and Union Plus paid his September house payment. "It really took the stress off both me and my family." Paying the loan back isn't stressful, either. Payments can be repaid for as little as $75 a month.

Still, he made repayment a priority. The strike was called off after two weeks and workers returned to work under the terms of the existing contract though there still isn't a contract settlement as of Nov. 1. However, if the strike had continued, so would have the mortgage assistance.

For strikes or lockouts lasting longer than 30 days, Union Plus will cover your mortgage payment for up to 6 months. These benefits do not need to be repaid and are a one-time benefit for life.

"I paid off my loan just as soon as I had the money because I wanted the funds to be available for the next person who needs it." To help make sure, Jakuboski has been spreading the word, telling his union brothers and sisters about the union program. One has already refinanced into a Union Plus Mortgage just to get this protection, says Jakuboski.

Over $8 Million in Assistance to Union Families

Considering the purchase or refinance of a home? The Union Plus Mortgage Program offers a full-range of mortgage products for union members, their parents, and children.

Since its inception, this special union benefit program has paid out over $11 million in assistance, helping union members keep their home loans current. To learn more about the Union Plus Mortgage Program, call 1-800-848-6466. You may also visit UnionPlus.org/Mortgage.