Frustrated Unemployed plan Capitol protest

Empower Wisconsin | June 19, 2020

By M.D. Kittle 

MADISON — Fed up with a broken unemployment insurance system that has left many without money and hope for months, a group of displaced workers is planning a rally next week in Madison.

The Unemployment Rally/Protest is slated for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 27 at the State Capitol, according to one of the organizer’s Facebook page. 

“A lot of individuals have been waiting between 8-15 weeks with no response from Unemployment/DWD,” the post states. 

As Empower Wisconsin reported Thursday, there were about 151,000 individual claimants waiting for unemployment benefits or an administrative decision from DWD, as of Monday. Some 860,000 jobless claims had yet to be paid.

It’s been one heart-breaking story after another. 

One woman told the office of Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) that she was laid off from a dental hygienist job after a period of unpaid maternity leave. She applied for unemployment benefits online, but her claim was held pending resolution of “outstanding issues.” She sent DWD the information the agency required weeks ago. Kooyenga’s office has been assisting her for months. 

As of Thursday, “still no contact with the department after NINE weeks since we contacted DWD on her behalf,” the Senate office told the Evers administration.

The claimant still hasn’t been assigned an adjudicator, still hasn’t gotten a call from the agency. She’s been “sitting in limbo” since April 2. 

DWD this week told lawmakers that delays are stretching back four to five weeks for claimants who have sought help through their state representatives. But it’s clear the resolution times are much longer in some cases. 

“Just finished emailing all 99 Wisconsin Representatives, letting them know about rally/protest including a link to FB event page,” wrote rally organizer Kelly Butler on his Facebook page. “Also included an invite to rally/protest so they could come help support their fellow constituents in their time of crisis/need.”

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