HARRISBURG – Two unemployment advocacy groups, The Unemployment Organizing Committee and the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, have called for the immediate resignation of Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Secretary Gerald Oleksiak, according to Senator David G. Argall. These groups cite the widespread failure of the department to process unemployment claims during the pandemic and the lack of attempt to communicate with frustrated claimants as the reasons Secretary Oleksiak should be removed.
“My offices have received countless calls during the covid-19 pandemic from constituents who are frustrated, concerned, and scared because they have gone months without receiving a dollar of benefits,” said Argall. “The Department of Labor and Industry must do better.”
Claimants concerned about not receiving their benefits have been left in the dark as to why their benefits were delayed. Individuals attempting to contact the department by phone and email have been met with no response. This lack of communication comes as record numbers of Pennsylvanians have applied to receive unemployment benefits due to the economic impacts of the covid-19 shutdown.
Senator John DiSanto (R-Dauphin/Perry) has also called for the resignation of Secretary Oleksiak due to his handling of the unemployment system both during and before the pandemic. Senator DiSanto stated that he felt the department squandered the opportunity presented by the recent period of low unemployment to make critical, systematic changes that could have solved many of the issues the department has faced during the crisis.
Read the letter from the Unemployment Organizing Committee and the Philadelphia Unemployment Project to Secretary Oleksiak here.
Contact: Jim Brugger