Sep. 15, 2020

HARRISBURG – Since March, Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation System has been plagued with problems, leaving millions of workers without benefits as they need to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.

Since the initiation of the governor’s now-unconstitutional business shutdown and stay-at-home orders, questions have arisen as to how involved the Department of Labor and Industry, which oversees the Unemployment Compensation System, was in the process of initiating the order and whether or not the department was adequately prepared and given appropriate notice that a historic number of unemployed Pennsylvanians would be seeking assistance.

To seek answers to these questions, Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover), who is a member of the House Labor and Industry Committee, wrote a letter to Labor and Industry Sec. Jerry Oleksiak seeking information about what the department knew, when they knew it, and their level of involvement in standing up for Pennsylvania’s workers prior to the shutdown order.

“As a member of the House Labor and Industry Committee, I have had the ability to question you and others from your department on how and why Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system failed to deliver for the people of Pennsylvania,” Klunk’s letter said in part.

“Having heard from you multiple times, and understanding your support for the March 19, 2020, shutdown order, I continue to question how prepared the department was for a surge in Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate and what coordination, if any, existed within the Wolf administration leading up to the issuance of the March 19, 2020, shutdown order to put plans in place to deal with millions of unemployed Pennsylvanians.”

Speaking to why she sent the letter, Klunk noted the effect the failed UC system has had on her constituents and Pennsylvanians at large.

“My staff and I have spent countless hours on the phone with residents, many of whom were near to tears or crying, who haven’t received a cent in unemployment compensation,” Klunk said. “Their stories are gut-wrenching. Sadly, their stories are not unique. We must work toward a solution to the problems so that not one more Pennsylvanian has to suffer.”

A copy of the letter is attached.

Representative Kate A. Klunk
169th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Greg Gross
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