Wis. Unemployment Support Facebook group aims to create social movement
While thousands of people across Wisconsin still wait for their unemployment benefits to be paid out, a new, online group has been formed to allow people to share their experiences about filing claims.
People from all walks of life across Wisconsin are part of the group, including its administrators.
“We've evolved from a support group with a few hundred people to a sort of, multitasking issue group about unemployment with over 2,000 people in a short time,” said Brett Lipshutz of Shorewood, one of seven administrators of the group.
Lipshutz says he waited five weeks to be paid unemployment benefits but continued to be part of the group to help others.
“I realized how anxious and depressed I was after only 5 weeks, when I was reading about people waiting 10 weeks, and who were in a much more perilous situation than I was,” says Lipshutz.
Now, group leaders are hoping to harness the momentum the group has created and turn it into action.
“Going forward, one thing we really want to get across is people over politics,” said Ashley Green from Madison. She is helping form an action plan with Lipshutz. Green joined the group a few weeks ago looking for information after finding herself unemployed.
Group leaders worked together on a
calling on state leaders to take responsibility for the backlog of unemployment claims.
“We feel like the attention is moving away from us going weeks -- some of us months -- without a dime, and no fault of our own,” said Green.
The petition also asks state leaders to update the number of claims and adjudications processed each week, create a list of resources to help those who are struggling financially due to the wait for their unemployment payout, and proof of outreach to those who are disenfranchised and who may not have access to the internet.
So far, more than 1,000 people have signed the petition.
“I think the goal is to just make enough noise so that someone says, I don't know if I can do something, but we're going to find someone who can,” said Carri Compton of Waukesha. Compton was working as a special education paraprofessional within the Waukesha School District until she was furloughed.
Leaders say they’re turning to members for ideas on how to create a new movement.
“This isn't about how many votes you get in the election. This isn't about who can complain the loudest or who can point the strongest finger. This is about people,” said Chenon Times-Rainwater, who has taken on a research role within the group to help answer people’s questions and provide resources.
Times-Rainwater owns two businesses but hasn’t generated any income since February due to the pandemic.
Group members say they are not associated with any organization or political group.