Schweyer for unemployment funding



With the December closure of the Allentown Unemployment Compensation Service Center due to a funding dispute in Harrisburg, state Rep. Peter Schweyer is reintroducing legislation from last session to extend funding for one year for Act 34, the unemployment compensation system’s Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund.


“When the Allentown service center closed, 88 people lost their jobs,” Schweyer said. “Beyond that, there are thousands of out-of-work people who count on these service centers for help with benefits, training and assistance in finding new employment that were impacted.”


Schweyer’s legislation would extend funding through 2017 and ensure that a transfer of up to $42.5 million would be used for operational purposes and up to $15 million to allow the start of technological upgrades to the benefits delivery system.


“The House passed legislation last session that would have avoided the situation we’re in right now,” said Schweyer. “The House vote was 175 to 13, with overwhelming bipartisan support. However, it went nowhere in the Senate and our service center, along with those in Altoona and Lancaster, were forced to close as a result. Not only did those people lose their jobs, but it created additional strain on an overwhelmed system.”


Schweyer plans to attend a noon rally at the state Capitol Rotunda on Monday, Jan. 23, organized by the Service Employees International Union Local 668.


“As lawmakers it is our responsibility to promptly address this issue,” he added. “The banks, the loan payments, they won’t wait just because there’s a delay in someone getting benefits they deserve. We have to act responsibly and make this a bipartisan priority.”