January 14, 2014
WE ELECT members of Congress to represent our interests and our views. Does that mean that Congress' view of Americans is, in fact, how we see ourselves? We hope not, because that view is unflattering, to say the least. Case in point: In December, more than a million people ran out of unemployment benefits, Congress having failed to pass an extension of federal jobless benefits that kick in after the typical 26-week state programs expire. Last week, the Senate advanced a bill that Republicans in the House say has little chance of passing.
November 26, 2013
Congressional inaction could put more obstacles in the path of the already slow economic recovery. If lawmakers don't extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, $25 billion in benefits - money that tends to be quickly spent on rent, food, and other necessities - would be ripped out of the economy. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the program is a highly effective antirecession measure. An estimated 1.3 million long-term-unemployed Americans are expected to lose the emergency benefits in December if Congress doesn't act. Another 850,000 could join them before next spring.
August 22, 2013 |
A lifelong friend and business partner to State Rep. Bill Keller was sentenced Tuesday to three months in prison for cheating on his taxes and lying to collect unemployment checks he did not deserve. "If everybody did what you did, we'd have chaos," U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III told Mark Olkowski, rejecting his request for a sentence that did not include prison. Olkowski, 62, pleaded guilty in April to hiding more than $148,000 in off-the-books income from KO, the real estate venture and sporting-goods store he and Keller launched in 1975.
June 8, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - To those who mistakenly - or not so mistakenly - received unemployment compensation benefits to which they weren't entitled, Pennsylvania wants its money back. In an effort to reclaim $613 million due to the fund, the state Department of Labor and Industry is rolling out what it says is the nation's first unemployment compensation amnesty program. "We need to secure this trust fund so it's there when people need it," Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway said at a news conference in the Capitol on Thursday.
January 31, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Perpetually busy telephone lines, long waits for claims, and staff layoffs are among the difficulties state legislators say are preventing thousands of their constituents from getting unemployment compensation checks in a timely fashion. At a hearing Tuesday, state Labor Secretary Julia K. Hearthway said that federal budget cuts and aging computer and phone systems - possibly even sabotage - were to blame for the troubles, and that the agency was working to fix the problem.
October 10, 2012
Survivors of Auschwitz I agree with Andrew Klosinski, William Ecenbarger's Polish guide at Auschwitz, who said that "the horrors of this place are unbelievable" ("Drawn to Auschwitz," Sunday). However, I strongly disagree with his statement, "There are no longer survivors to tell their stories. " Indeed, there are still survivors from Auschwitz, and we must do all that we can to exchange with them now and hear their eyewitness accounts. In Philadelphia, on Oct. 21, Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel will hold a program to honor the Holocaust survivors in its congregation.
October 8, 2012 |
After back-to-back columns about the Corbett administration's forcing unemployed people to waste weeks listening to busy signals, I'm thrilled to throw a glimmer of light into the bureaucratic black hole Pennsylvania's jobless call home. If you, too, have been stymied by the Department of Labor and Industry (or any other state agency), you can ring a human being who will listen to your agony and take up your case. For free. These angels toil anonymously in each county of the commonwealth.
December 6, 2011
ARLENE Ackerman will not go away. In Act Two of her Marie Antoinette act, Ackerman was not satisfied with the nearly $1 million golden-parachute buyout that she extracted from the Philadelphia School District. As a final insult, she has attempted to shake down the taxpayers for pin money: $573 in weekly unemployment compensation. This shameless, chintzy move does not surprise me, nor does the fact that the School Reform Commission won't oppose it, or even that defenders of the great educator, like Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, will try to stifle debate on this.
December 1, 2011
Is it right for ex-Philadelphia schools chief Arlene Ackerman to file for unemployment compensation?