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The Conversation: State Unemployment Office Answers Questions

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Casey Harlow / HPR
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The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Ann Perreira-Eustaquio answers questions about the backlog of unfulfilled unemployment claims; Honolulu Civil Beat reporter Stewart Yerton discusses potential Hawaiian Airlines' layoffs; the head of Local Five talks efforts to vaccinate hotel employees; and U.S. Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch dishes on recent postal scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.

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Credit State of Hawaii DLIR

Last week, unemployed workers and activists rallied in front of the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relation's building to improve the outdated unemployment system. Questions about claims and delays still abound for many. The Conversation's Savannah Harriman-Pote interviewed DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio in search of answers.

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Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, Director, Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
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Credit Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

Civil Beat business reporter Stewart Yerton says that Hawaiian Airlines will delay layoffs of more than eight hundred workers - but that measure isn't off the table if economic conditions don't improve. You can read Stewart Yerton's full story at civilbeat.org.

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Stewart Yerton, Business Reporter, Honolulu Civil Beat
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Credit cgordon8527/Pixabay

Speaking of unemployment, Local Five, the Hawai'i hotel workers union, says that only two thousand of its eleven thousand members are working. Hotel workers will be eligible for vaccines under the priority group 1-C, which could be in line for shots starting in late March or April. But Union leader Eric Gill is concerned that current CDC guidelines only include front-of-house workers.

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Eric Gill, Local Five Union Leader
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Credit Savannah Harriman-Pote

The United States Postal Service has released a series of public service announcements designed to educate the public about variations of the "money mule" scam. We reached out to US Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch, who joined us on last week's show, to learn more. 

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' webinars sheds more light on various types of consumer fraud. Watch them here.

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Jeff Fitch, U.S. Postal Inspector

Savannah Harriman-Pote rejoined The Conversation in 2021 after interning for Hawaiʻi Public Radio in the summers of 2018 and 2019. She also produces HPR's podcast Manu Minute in collaboration with The University of Hawaii at Hilo. She was born and raised on the Big Island, and she collects public radio mugs.
Catherine Cruz is the Host of The Conversation and a member of HPR’s news team. She has been a television reporter in Hawai‘i since 1983 and has won a number of awards and respect from a statewide audience. She spent more than thirty years at KITV, covering beats from government to education and health. Originally from Guam, Cruz is also a co-founder and former Board member and programming chair of Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC). Catherine is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
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