Coalition Media Release, March 8th 2021

Monday, March 8, 2021


WHAT: Representatives of the newly formed “Coalition to Defend and Respect Hawai’i’s
Workers” which sponsored the February 24, 2021, rally at the State Capitol, will gather at the
Hawaii Convention Center to hold signs and conduct a media conference on the Coalition’s
campaign to get the DLIR to provide improved, timely, responsive, and direct in-person
services to Hawaii’s thousands of unemployed claimants who are still waiting for much-needed
and legally mandated assistance.

WHEN: Thursday, March 11, 2021, at 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

WHO: Unemployed workers and Coalition representatives from UNITE/HERE Local 5, Living
Wage Hawaii, Hawaii Nurses Association, Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, Faith
Action,Young Progressives Demanding Action, Pono Hawaii Initiative, Anakbayan Hawaii,
Hawaii Scholars for Education & Social Justice, Hawaii State Teachers Staff Organization
(HSTO), Academic Labor United, Thriving University for a Thriving Hawai’i (TUTH), Hawaii
Peoples Fund, and the Hawaii Workers Center.

WHERE: Outside the Hawaii Convention Center, Kapiolani Blvd. and Atkinson Drive

WHY: The Convention Center is the site of the DLIR’s Call Center where some DLIR staff are
deployed. The Coalition commends the diligent work and efforts of the Call Center’s staff who
are not to blame for the DLIR’s failure to receive and respond to the calls of thousands of
unemployed workers who cannot reach a staff member to get assistance and resolve
problems. It is time to fix the broken UI system and install a responsive and working phone
and email communications system for claimants, and to open up direct, in-person sites where
claimants can go to resolve any issues with their claims.

Media Contacts:  Sergio Alcubilla, 371-4805; Rev. Sam Domingo, 384-8701; John Witeck,

The Respect & Defend Hawai’i’s Workers Coalition has united around several key issues including: 

  • fixing the broken Unemployment Insurance (UI) system;
  • opening up DLIR offices to provide direct, in-person and responsive services, timely
    benefits, and functional communications; 
  • the safe return and fair recall of workers to their former jobs; 
  • raising the minimum wage to a living wage level;
  • exempting unemployed workers’ benefits from state taxation; 
  • banning forced overtime for health care workers; 
  • increasing state funding for public education;
  • defending and advancing workers’ rights, and reducing inequality and poverty.

    The Hawaii Workers Center (HWC), a Coalition member, is a non-profit resource and organizing center
    serving unemployed and low-wage workers and immigrants. Visit HWC’s website at or email us at

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