Reality Stinks! DOL Commissioner’s Memo Highlights Adverse Impact Cuts Are Already Having

Commissioner advises to tell Vermonters waiting for services to think of their wait as "Calling like a ‘radio contest’ and hit redial.  You will get through."

Full Text Of Memo:

Hello all,
As you know, we are ALL getting calls from people who are frustrated about not getting through on the initial claims line, the claimant assistance line and the employer assistance line.  People are calling any number for the Department of Labor and they are calling any state agency they can find to complain about getting a busy signal.
 
This is a normally VERY busy time at the Claims Center.  It is exacerbated by folks filing for extended benefits recently approved by Congress and by additional layoffs occurring due to the recession.
 
We are taking steps to help alleviate this problem.  We have hired 5 temporary staff at the UI Claim center, we are hiring 3 more.  It takes time to train these folks but they will be on the phones soon to answer calls.  We have extended call in hours to 5pm this week and last to accommodate for the short work week.  ALL UI staff are taking turns in the “overflow” room to take calls.  We have asked folks with prior UI experience to help on the phone lines and they are.  We have folks from the Central Office to help with administrative tasks so claims takers are free to answer the phone.  We are developing an on-line solution for folks to re-establish a claim.  These steps will make a difference.
 
I know we are all very busy but I am asking that ALL of us do all what we can to assist the UI Division during this very difficult time.  Please take another look at the attached memo regarding hints on for callers. In addition to the information in the memo please keep these hints in mind:
«Suggest they set aside some time to call frequently versus calling once every hour or two.
«Think of calling like a “radio contest” and hit redial.  You will get through.
«If you have been trying for a number of days, be sure to tell the customer service rep when you do get through that you have been trying for more than a week and your date of separation (last day of work).
 
I know it is time consuming, but if you receive a call from someone who has been trying to get through on the claimant assistance line, PLEASE take a minute to advise them of these helpful hints.  While it may be less time consuming to take a number and ask someone in the UI division to call, please know they are already extremely busy.  Taking the time to explain to the caller is what each of us can do to help out!
 
I thank you for your extra effort.  This will improve in the coming days and weeks. 
 
And a Happy New Year to all!
Pat
 
 
Patricia Moulton Powden, Commissioner
Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
P.O. Box 488
Montpelier, VT  05601-0488