Group protests outside Georgia Department of Labor to demand unemployment answers

Thousands of Georgians say they are on the verge of losing everything because they have waited for unemployment checks for up to five months.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was outside the Georgia Department of Labor in downtown Atlanta Tuesday. A group of unemployed workers and elected officials held a protest at the office.

“I am 69 years old, but I work two jobs just to pay my bills every month – I haven’t had a paycheck since March 13th,” Carmen Lindsey said.

People like Lindsey have been calling their elected officials for help because they don’t know what else to do.

Many of those officials have met with the Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler to discuss the concerns. But they say those talks are getting nowhere.

“We’ve heard the same things regurgitated over and over about the problems. People need solutions. It’s the 1st of the month. You have people getting ready to face evictions. People’s water and utilities are going to be disconnected and right now we’re trying to stabilize homes for virtual learning,” Rep. Kim Schofield said.

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Some people say the system is so backwards that college students are getting money while they get nothing.

“You have kids out here getting unemployment for doing nothing,” one woman told Fernandes. “Absolutely nothing. I worked and I pay my taxes. I haven’t received not one dollar. How freaking fair is that to us?

Fernandes reached out to the commissioner’s office to get a response to today’s protests. The following statement was sent:

“We here at the Georgia Department of Labor are very disappointed in the actions of certain members of the Georgia State Legislature. After working with several Georgia legislators from both sides of the aisle, we implemented a process for these elected officials to forward information to our office regarding older claims. Ironically, some of the legislators present at today’s press conference have had their constituent issues personally handled by the men and women working inside the location they spoke in front of. Both Representative Scott and Representative Schofield have submitted 63 claims for review in the past few weeks. Of those claims, all but five were resolved with payments issued or a determination of ineligibility. The outstanding five are complicated claims and are continuing to be worked on. It saddens me that politics has gotten to the point it has here in Georgia where elected officials would misrepresent critical assistance for political gain. I do, however, applaud the 95% of other legislators of both parties who have been consistently helping us identify individuals with serious issues with their unemployment claims.”

More gatherings are planned for the rest of the week in Georgia at 10 a.m:

  • Wednesday, August 5, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot, 2211 Beaver Ruin Road, Norcross, GA, 30071
  • Thursday, August 6, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot, 465 Big Shanty Road, Marietta, GA 30066
  • Thursday, August 6, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot in Macon, 3090 Mercer University Drive, Macon, GA 31204
  • Friday, August 7, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot (South Fulton), 223 Courtland Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
  • Friday, August 7, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor parking lot, 5717 White Bluff Rd, Savannah, GA 31405