At what point does sad become funny?

Throughout the pandemic and state shutdown Bill Doyle and I heavily covered the crisis of the unemployed not able to file claims, not able to get their calls answered, not able to collect what they paid into and what is owed to them. Week after week we would take calls and hear horror stories of people being booted off the online application process just before completion, having appeals dates sent with the year 2040, their emails unanswered, their phone calls unanswered, etc.

The Labor Department kept telling everyone to be patient. Their commissioner in press briefings blamed it on the filers and not the antiquated, broken system. The governor guilted the unemployed as though they were being unreasonable to expect what was owed them in a timely manner.

It all culminated in a contentious interview with Labor Department Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo In which he offered little insight into the failures and little hope.

Now we learn from an NJ.com article that a new call center finally opened to alleviate the strain and get these calls answered at last. The center was open for testing/training on Monday then had a soft open Tuesday and was fully operational on Wednesday.

Guess what?

NJ Advance Media reports “scores of workers” contacted them with the common story that once again they could not get anyone to answer the calls on either Wednesday or Thursday.

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

There’s clearly a systemic dysfunction at the Labor Department that needs to be addressed. Perhaps someone there needs to find out exactly what it’s like to be unemployed.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.