Oct. 20, 2020
– As Right-to-Know (RTKs) requests filed with the Department of Labor and Industry go unanswered, Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) continued today during a House Labor and Industry Committee to seek answers to the Wolf administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that left millions of Pennsylvania out of work.
“The answers I am seeking are to basic questions that Department of Labor and Industry officials should be able to be answer,” Klunk said. “This is a time when we should be working together to assist Pennsylvanians instead of elected members of the General Assembly being met with obstruction by the department that operates the state’s Unemployment Compensation System.”
Nearly 4 million claims for unemployment benefits were filed since March when the governor instituted his unconstitutional business shutdown and stay-at-home orders. Since then, the House Labor and Industry Committee has sought to assist with improving the department’s response.
“Unfortunately, during previous committee meetings committee members have been fed the same lines that the department is working to fix systemic problems,” Klunk said. “At the same time, my office, and other legislative offices across the state, continue to receive calls from unemployed people who haven’t received a dime in benefits in seven months. These people are beyond desperate and need assistance now.”
To get answers to numerous questions about problems that have plagued the state’s Unemployment Compensation System, Klunk and fellow members of the committee, both Republicans and Democrats, have continually focused on the topic during hearings.
Often met with abrasive responses from Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak, Klunk first sent the department a letter on Sept. 15 seeking answers. The letter went unanswered for weeks, leaving Klunk no choice but to file RTKs with the department, which have yet to be answered. However, the secretary did state during the hearing the department will answer the RTKs.
“In addition to addressing problems within the system, we must work to improve and learn from mistakes and from what worked well,” Klunk said. “My questions seek to accomplish that.”
Representative Kate A. Klunk
169th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross