We, the undersigned, call on Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Jay Rowell to stop IDES layoffs and office closures across the state of Illinois and save unemployment services.
At a time when IDES is already understaffed, the cuts will hurt thousands of struggling families around the state as they face delays in getting unemployment claims filed, timely benefit payments, determination decisions and appeals considered. These delays mean real hardships for claimants waiting for benefits to feed their families and pay their bills.
It is believed the layoffs and office closures are intended to force unemployed workers to apply for benefits electronically and reduce headcount in local offices. But many jobless workers don’t have access to or are not comfortable with computers, and will likely have to go to much greater lengths to get the help they need. Office closures mean claimants will have to travel much farther to apply for benefits or return for job search assistance. Once they get to those offices, the waits will be much longer because there will be fewer employees to process claims and provide vital services.
There are 192 IDES planned staff layoffs and 7 office closures around the state . IDES has plans to close local offices in Centralia, DeKalb, East St. Louis, Galesburg, Jacksonville, Mattoon and Murphysboro effective March 8, 2013.
The latest layoff threat comes on the heels of the layoff of more than 216 intermittent employees and the closure of four offices at the end of last year. IDES has already consolidated 10 offices, vacated 10 shared outpost locations and stopped scheduling 216 intermittent employees. Of those 10 offices, five were in the Chicago area and the others were in Evanston, Freeport, Litchfield, Mount Vernon and Pekin.