Local 506 Business Agent
To Pennsylvania UC Claims
UE Local 506 Business Agent Pat
Rafferty authored this guide to filing for unemployment online or by telephone in Pennsylvania. Copies can be obtained by
calling 717-705-4345. The pamphlet can also be downloaded in:
• MS Word format
• PDF format
Devising a guide to Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system became just one more task for the busy business
agent of UE Local 506, Patrick Rafferty.
Layoffs inflicted on the local’s membership by General Electric, combined with cutbacks in state services imposed by
then-Gov. Tom Ridge, caused a crisis requiring a creative solution: A Guide for Setting Up a Claim by Telephone or Internet,
issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and largely written by the full-time UE officer.
JOB CENTERS CLOSED
The Ridge administration’s decision to close most of the Commonwealth’s Job Centers and consolidate operations in just
eight Unemployment Compensation (UC) Call Centers created delays and confusion for the unemployed. "Our members began complaining
about being denied benefits for both waiting and benefit weeks," says Rafferty. The biggest problem lay in communicating the new
rules for signing up."
Local 506 officers handled some 80 local appeal hearings, with some going on to the Board of Review in Harrisburg, the
GOT AN 'EARFUL'
So when Alan K. Williamson, the head of Pennsylvania’s UC program, came to Erie to formally inaugurate the new
Call Center, Rafferty and Chief Plant Steward David Kitchen seized the opportunity to give him an earful about their members’
frustration and difficulties. That encounter was the beginning of several exchanges.
Eventually, Williamson asked Pat Bruno of the Erie County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and Rafferty to write a
new, "easy-to-understand" manual. "Since I was closest to the problem, we decided I’d write the book, and when completed,
submit it to the State AFL-CIO for approval," Rafferty says. And that’s what happened.
A Guide for Setting Up a Claim clearly and simply explains the terms and procedures for filing for UC benefits. Copies
are available from the Office of UC Service Centers, Customer Services Division, 717-705-4345. Printed by a union printer, the pamphlet
prominently acknowledges the role of UE Local 506 in developing the publication. This pamphlet may also be downloaded in MS Word format or in Adobe's Acrobat Reader PDF format.