Some 521 workers in Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation program are slated to be laid off in less than two weeks, and the union that represents many of them is making a last-ditch effort to save some of their jobs.
Furloughed state workers in Pennsylvania can file civil service appeals if they want to contest the loss of their position.
If an appeal is accepted, the worker gets a hearing where the agency that ordered the layoff must defend the cut.
SEIU Local 668 president Tom Herman said his union is helping as many of its members as possible to file the appeals.
He said, in the best-case scenario, the move could force the Department of Labor and Industries to reverse its decision to close three of the state’s jobless centers due to a lack of funding.
“The civil service appeal process is one of the few options that we have available to us,” he said. “And we’re going to utilize that, and we’re going to defend the best cases that we have.”
Herman said several hundred appeals have been filed so far.
A Labor and Industries representative said the department is sympathetic to the workers, but even if their appeals are successful the program can’t afford that many employees.
“Absent Senate action, there is no ability to redirect this funding, and we cannot simply find this money elsewhere — it does not exist,” according to a department statement.
The layoffs were announced last month, after the Senate declined to vote on a funding bill.
That has kicked off a wave of partisan disagreement between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the GOP-led Senate.