LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) The Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Department announced late Thursday plans to lay off 600 employees.
Many work at seven call centers across the state that help the unemployed — including one in Lackawanna County. Eyewitness News Reporter Eric Deabill has our story.
The State Department of Labor and Industry says the 600 layoffs are needed after the state senate failed to vote on legislation that would have provided money that the call centers needed across the state.
Exactly how many of those layoffs — if any — will be based in Lackawanna County has not yet been released — but state leaders say the impact is beyond disappointing — it’s disgraceful.
It was business as usual Thursday at the unemployment compensation call center in Taylor.
Employees were busy answering calls trying to help get people back on their feet.
This facility and six others like it across the state are now in jeopardy.
“it’s just unfortunate that we have to have this contention when it can be easily avoided” Said State Senator John Blake (D) 22nd District
Tuesday night, The state senate failed to vote on legislation that would have put more than 57-million dollars into the system next year.
In response, Governor Tom Wolf said:
“The failure to pass this bill now also means that the unemployment insurance system will be forced to lay off workers and close centers who process claims for the very people who are newly eligible to receive benefits”
“Unless we find a solution-set, we’re actually going to be laying off the people who care for unemployed workers throughout the Commonwealth” noted Senator Blake
Skyler Davis of Scranton has been looking for a job for nearly a year.
This news upset him.
“It’s already a log-jam to get in contact with those resources and if they’re cutting it — they’re leaving people in even more of a bind”
When new lawmakers take office in January — the bill could come up again and Senator John Blake hopes it does.
“That would be my most fervent hope, yes…” Senator Blake told Eyewitness News.
The Secretary of the State’s Labor and Industry Department says the senate put “Politics before people” — and says the 600 employees will now be without a job just before the holidays.