MADISON - The following is a statement from State Senator Chris Larson on the announcement that Caterpillar will be cutting 10,000 jobs worldwide.
“The announcement that Caterpillar will be cutting 10,000 jobs worldwide is alarming, as the company has hundreds of employees in the Milwaukee area. While it is currently unclear how Wisconsin workers will be affected by yesterday’s announcement, it is important to reflect how our working families fare during times of economic hardship. Thus far, Walker and the GOP have been playing Keep Away with the rescue rope, while unemployed families try to keep their head above water.
“Walker’s Wisconsin already has the fastest shrinking middle class in the U.S., is last in the nation for new business startups, and lags in job creation. There is simply no excuse for our state to lose already scarce jobs. Unfortunately, instead of prioritizing real solutions to the problems facing Wisconsin families, and recognizing a need to promote and attract diverse businesses, including medical research and technology, Walker and Legislative Republicans have focused on punishing the very people they have failed.
“Therefore, I am calling on Governor Walker’s Department of Workforce Development to immediately follow the guidance of theLabor and Industry Review Commission and the federal Department of Labor to correct their misleading unemployment filing procedure and stop using complex, confusing questions that lead to accidental filing mistakes, resulting in unnecessary overpayments. I am also calling on Republican leadership to halt their plans to create arbitrary excuses to prohibit our neighbors from participating in the unemployment program for seven years.
“My colleagues and I have heard from our neighbors who have filed for unemployment and unintentionally answered a filing question wrong due to a disability or simply because they were confused. Others have said they needed to ask a family member for help using a computer to file their claim. If Walker and the GOP have their way, these individuals could be on a path to being excluded from the program.
“It is unfair to our Wisconsin families to continue to subject them to deceptive filing process, and then punish them when they make a mistake. I hope Wisconsin workers will ultimately not be hit by the announcement from Caterpillar, however, Walker and GOP leadership should take this opportunity to act proactively. We can and must do better by our workers and industries.”