September 2, 2021 Letter to Lt. Governor Josh Green

September 2, 2021
Lt. Governor Josh Green
State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813

Dear Lt. Governor Green:

We have been dismayed by the State’s poor and ineffective response to the needs of thousands
of unemployed or furloughed workers since April, 2020. Many are low-wage workers or
immigrants who are now struggling to sustain themselves and their families. They hail from
working class communities which have been hardest hit by the Covid pandemic.

The State’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, after 17 months of keeping its offices
closed and refusing to provide direct in-person services and assistance to unemployed workers
needing to file claims, recently announced that it would reopen its offices on September 7, 2021,
but last week announced that it would not do so.

This has added to the stress and suffering of claimants, many of whom have had to wait for
many months to get through to the offices and then wait for months more to receive benefits.
This is unconscionable.

We have met virtually with the DLIR Director Perreira-Eustaquio and have written her several
letters urging the following: 1) open up UI offices statewide for direct, in-person services; 2)
have a more responsive call center and email response system; and 3) modernize and improve
the barely functional, archaic DLIR computer mainframe. Almost all our letters and requests to
meet with her to discuss alternatives have gone unanswered.

We are therefore requesting to meet with you at your earliest possible convenience and can do
so virtually if not in person. It is time for the state to affirm that assistance and processing of
payments to unemployed workers is an ESSENTIAL service—like banking, shopping, and
medical needs—and it can be provided at minimum risk to the DLIR workers and the claimants
with the proper safeguards in place.

Late last year, we transmitted a petition to the Governor and the DLIR urging that these urgent
measures be taken but received no response. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss
these matters. Please call Rev. Sam Domingo at 384-8701 or John Witeck, 347-3306, to
arrange a meeting.

Sincerely, and with urgency,

John Witeck, for the Hawaii Workers Center

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