At Workers Day rally, hundreds call on state to help employees laid off during COVID

Hundreds turnout in Kalihi for International Workers Day rally

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - About 300 people gathered for a rally in Kalihi Saturday to celebrate International Workers Day.

But, organizers said they were also there to protest against an indifferent state government — which they say has been slow to deliver unemployment benefits for people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

“They’re waiting for six, seven, eight months. That is just unacceptable,” said Rev. Sam Domingo of the Hawaii Workers Center. “And we’re going to hold our leaders and government very much accountable.”

Former city Councilmember Ron Menor, a longtime supporter of the hotel workers union added, “We are going through unprecedented times during which thousands of working individuals and families have been going through tremendous financial hardship.”

“It’s in these challenging times that all levels of government need to take strong decisive and immediate action to adopt measures to help out working people,” he said.

The state Labor Department, which was initially overwhelmed by the flood of unemployment claims last year, said it has reduced the backlog as the statewide unemployment rate has dropped.

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