I-Team: An inside look at DLT
Jonathan Jacobs works at the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.
He's one of the operators at the opposite end of the phone when callers get through. For some callers, they get nothing but a busy signal.
"I can imagine who frustrating that is. I know that people have shown records of having called for days," he said.
Jacobs is a member of the Service Employees International Union Local 401. By department policy, he can't speak negatively about the DLT or on its behalf.
Jacobs, however, wasn't immune to getting a pink slip himself.
Jacobs was laid off in July along with one-third of the unemployment insurance staff. He was recently re-hired.
He said being laid off changed his perspective.
"I came back with a more sympathetic and empathetic idea of who I was talking to," Jacobs said. "They are not our claimants, they are our customers. They're people just like us. They just happen to be in a situation beyond their control. We can help them with that and we should."
In January, the NBC 10 I-Team talked with DLT director Charles Fogarty who admitted the call center and unemployment insurance is not what it should be. Fogarty stressed the importance of new technology and the re-hiring or trained employees, like Jacobs, at least temporarily.
"Slowly but surely wait times are decreasing. It's going to be a while before wait times get down to a reasonable level," Jacobs said.
"We need the resources to get to them. But every single person who is there, is there, and giving a 110 percent to do the best that they can to make sure that each and every claim gets taken care of in a timely manner, and gets taken care of fairly and is done accurately."