Governor orders ‘immediate’ hiring & retention of EDD staff
8:39 AM - February 27, 2014
State vows to fix unacceptable delays for workers seeking benefits
Addressing the crisis facing California’s unemployed– and answering calls for action from frustrated Local 1000 members–the governor’s office has ordered the Employment Development Department (EDD) to take serious steps towards addressing a critical backlog of unemployment applications.
Saying the problems cannot wait for approval of a new state budget in June, California Labor Secretary David Lanier ordered the EDD to hire 280 new customer service employees immediately, retain hundreds of additional interim staff, continue authorizing overtime pay and implement improvements to its phone system.
Lanier also directed EDD management to hire programming staff to fix the state’s botched $110-million computer system upgrade.
“This is a big step in the right direction. Our members are on the front lines every day, hearing from the struggling Californians whom this department has failed through a combination of technical problems, outside contractors and chronic understaffing,” said Local 1000 Vice President for Bargaining Margarita Maldonado. “We are glad to see that the governor has taken action to help our members better serve the Californians who have been let down by these failures.”
“We must continue to pursue solutions that strengthen this vital safety net for our most vulnerable communities,” Maldonado added.
The flawed computer system and the expiration of federal funding have forced out-of-work Californians to wait long periods to receive benefits–with some people calling EDD 200 times without getting through. Our members have seen firsthand the tragic impact on people caused by inefficient computer and phone systems that are a legacy of the Schwarzenegger administration.
“It is painful to see people forced to endure so much stress to simply go through the process of seeking unemployment benefits–people are waiting weeks or more for assistance,” said Irene Livingston, an EDD steward from San Jose. “We’re all committed to providing help that Californians can rely on, especially those most in need, and it is gratifying to see that our calls for a solution are being heard.”