Many of Hawaii’s residents seem to think that there is no end in sight when they think about the state’s unemployment crisis.
The latest unemployment claims rose again this week by almost 400, now sitting at 4,654.
There are still people waiting on payments, mostly from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC benefit. Some of them are gathering in front of the DLIR building Friday morning, demanding a meeting with the director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio.
The Hawaii Worker’s Center is the organizer of the event. The non-profit fights for the state’s unemployed, low wage and immigrant workers.
Members are pushing for three main demands. First, that the DLIR reopen the unemployment office for in-person filing. Second, that the department increase responsiveness to claimants’ emails and phone calls. Finally, they demand that the DLIR accelerate their plans to modernize the unemployment system.
In a letter to the DLIR, the Hawaii Workers Center wrote: “We wonder what progress has been made and when direct services can be restored and claims processed in a timely way. We would like to meet with you directly and in a safe manner at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, December 18, 2020, in front of the DLIR office building on Punchbowl Street. There are several jobless workers who would like to share their experiences with you about the difficulties they are having applying for and receiving benefits.”
By Kristofel Abella
Ka Lā News staff writer