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Workers that help the laid-off are being cut themselves

08.07.12

AUGUST 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Workers that help the laid-off are being cut themselves

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 18th- Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Union’s have been notified they will be laid-off by Pennsylvania. The workers are employed in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Department which includes workers in the Unemployment Compensation Service Centers (UCSC) and the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF).

Some of the lay-offs effect workers that help the jobless learn how to apply for unemployment benefits. Their jobs are to answer the phones and to process unemployment claims.

Recently Pennsylvania made it more differcult for laid-off workers to obtain benefits and continue to receive them by making the unemployed worker prove they are looking for work. Also new eligibility rules have been inplemented with various federal benefits being phased out.

When contacted by the newspaper, Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Secretary, Julia Hearthway in a statement claimed the reason for the lay-offs were because of unemployment claims dropping since the recession ended. “We aren’s back to the level of prerecession claims, but the volume has dropped to the point where the need for higher capacities and greater expense isn’t there,” she stated.

However, in reality many Pennsylvanian workers have been unemployed “long-termed” and have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Those workers are no longer considered unemployed.

According to the most recent data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis Department, approximately 475,000 workers in Pennsylvania are unemployed. That number does not count the long-termed unemployed that have exhausted their benefits.

Laid-off workers must call UCS Center’s after being laid-off and wait until their call is received. Pennsylvania is laging behind many states in its ability to deliver initial unemployment benefits in a timely manner and the lay-offs of AFSCME and SEIU members will likely cause even more delays in laid-off workers receiving benefits.

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