by Carolyn Bick
According to NaSushon Taylor’s unemployment claim, which as of mid-June was still listed as “[a]djudication in progress,” Washington State owes her more than $5,000 in unemployment.
She hasn’t seen a dime of that money.
For the first three months since she was furloughed from her dishwashing job at Cook Weaver in Capitol Hill nearly four months ago, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Taylor called Washington State’s Employment Security Department (ESD) every day to try to get the thousands of dollars in unemployment the state owes her.
Taylor has been fighting hard for it. When she was still calling ESD every day, it wasn’t unusual for her to call hundreds of times in one day. One day, she called ESD 541 times. Another, she called 511 times. Each time, ESD’s system disconnected her call.
Taylor isn’t alone. Robin, a registered nurse and tutor who preferred that the Emerald not print her last name or place of employment, was furloughed from one of her two part-time jobs at a local clinic in mid-March. She faced a different situation — ESD had told her that she owes the state $1,700 for allegedly inaccurately entering one of her employer’s names. But the end result was the same as Taylor’s: she dealt with endless holds and hundreds of dropped calls, while the bills continued to mount. And according to ESD, hangups, dropped calls, difficulties using the system, and general confusion aren’t an uncommon problem for the almost 1.17 million people who have filed for unemployment since March 7.
Continue reading “It’s Labyrinthine”: Workers Filing for Unemployment Benefits Face Dropped Calls, Confusing Online Systems, and Hours-Long Wait Times
by Carolyn Bick
Washingtonians who were previously unable to claim unemployment may now find themselves eligible for benefits.
At a press conference on April 16, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine announced an expansion to the state’s unemployment benefits program by implementing certain parts of the federal CARES Act, a response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Continue reading Washington State Expands Unemployment Eligibility, Increases Weekly Payment by $600 Through Federal CARES Act
by Leslie Dozono, Lauren Hipp, Vy Nguyen, and Erin Okuno
In spring of 2019, the Washington State legislature passed I-1000 which allows for considerations like race, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, religion, ethnicity, and citizenship status to be a factor when considering a person for public education or employment opportunities, overturning Initiative 200, which banned those considerations in the 1990s. While many people support affirmative action, there was opposition — including from a vocal group of Asians claiming they stand for equality collecting signatures to take Referendum Measure 88 to the voters in hopes of repealing the new law. This is our response to our community and our ask of our families: decline to sign and say NO to Referendum Measure 88.
Continue reading OPINION: Support Fair Opportunity, Decline to Sign Referendum 88
by Lauren Hipp
As we welcome in the New Year, there are many reasons to celebrate. But perhaps one of the biggest is that on January 1, Washington took a huge step toward ensuring that workers across the state will have access to comprehensive paid family and medical leave for the first time. This will make a huge difference in the lives of so many families, and I’m especially excited about the changes it will bring for mine.
Continue reading OPINION: Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program Supports Workers, Businesses
(This article originally appeared on Patch.com and has been republished with permission)
by Neal McNamara
Some of the state’s wealthiest corporations — including Amazon, Starbucks and Fred Meyer — employ thousands of low-wage workers who receive public food assistance. Experts say this is a phenomenon driven by low wages and tenuous employment arrangements, like seasonal or on-demand work.
Continue reading The Wealthiest Companies In Washington Employ Thousands On Food Stamps
by Jessie McKenna and Marti McKenna
Summertime: Long, light-filled days and a brief respite from the overcast skies of fall, winter, and even spring here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a time when kids are out of school and running their flip-flopped feet to the beaches of Lake Washington or their closest public pool to soak up the sun. It’s also the season when some of the youth of our communities dip their toes in the local workforce. For 40-plus years, as many as 58-percent of youth on average found employment in the summertime, but, beginning in the early ’90s, a series of recessions and other shifts in youth employment dynamics changed that.
Continue reading The Bygone Days of the “Summer Job” and the Sharp Decline of Youth Employment—a South End Perspective