Victor Forberger

Victor Forberger is a labor and employment attorney living in Wisconsin.

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Rep. Petryk, Rep. Penterman, and Sen. Roth have proposed a major revamp of unemployment support that would re-make the Department of Workforce Development into a government-sponsored job coach that would, presumably, guide claimants to new jobs.

In place of a free labor market, where claimants get to make their own decisions about which jobs to apply to and how to go about searching for work, these politicians want to mandate government involvement and even control of claimants’
Continue Reading Replacing Unemployment with Reemployment

At the September 16th Advisory Council meeting, a new employer representative appeared, as David Bohl, general counsel to J. H. Findorff & Sons, replaced John Mielke of ABC-Wisconsin.
Note: As of October 18th, however, John Mielke is still listed as a council member.

At this meeting, the Department provided the following information to council members:

  • A letter from Secretary-designee Pechacek asking the Advisory Council to approve another program integrity assessment (estimated to be $3.3 million). Left out


Continue Reading Advisory Council Meeting in September 2021

On Sept. 7th, Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, LLP, Axley Brynelson, LLP and myself filed a law suit in federal court to eliminate the SSDI eligibility ban that keeps disabled workers from receiving regular unemployment benefits. A press release explains:
The eligibility ban means that the plaintiffs in the class action and disabled workers like them are being treated differently from non-disabled workers in Wisconsin. Because of their disability, these SSDI recipients are presently ineligible for unemployment benefits. This different
Continue Reading Class Action Lawsuit to End the SSDI Eligibility Ban

The US Dep’t of Labor has announced the beginning of an effort to modernize unemployment claim-filing to make the process both more equitable and less susceptible to fraud.

This effort is centered around the creation of “tiger” teams that are “composed of experts across many disciplines including fraud specialists, equity and customer service experience specialists, UI program specialists, behavioral insights specialists, business intelligence analysts, computer systems engineers/architects and project managers.” These teams will not only work on hardening a
Continue Reading Tiger Teams and Unemployment Reform Coming to Wisconsin

A few weeks ago there were media reports about legislators circulating a bill to allow employees who quit or are discharged for refusing a vaccine to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Well, they actually did it. Meet SB 547. The bill creates a host of exemptions for those workers who refuse vaccines and lose their jobs as a result to qualify for unemployment benefits. The legislators even included a provision automatically to waive charges to employer accounts for unemployment
Continue Reading No vaccine unemployment bill introduced

At the August 17th Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Advisory Council meeting, there was action on some of the Department proposals.

After coming out of caucus, council members agreed to support Department proposals D21-01 through D21-08, D21-11 (work share modifications), and D21-15 (eliminating unemployment taxes for summer camps and excluding camp counselors who are not students from covered employment).

Full details on D21-11 and D21-15 are available in this previous post.

The support for D21-01
Continue Reading Update on Department of Workforce Development Advisory Council’s August Meeting

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With the ongoing unemployment crisis, I have not had much time at all to do anything computer-related in a while.

But, Dedoimedo has a fabulous post about how to make FireFox more user-friendly in the current v91 user-interface. Here is what I managed to accomplish in 20-30 minutes.

Download the userChrome.css file I created yourself to save some copying and pasting, if you want.
Continue Reading Adapting FireFox

The Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council has been meeting in 2021 over how to reform unemployment in Wisconsin.

To date, a Department summary and the actual written comments from the November 2020 public hearing were reported to council members at the 21 January 2021 council meeting. There has yet to be any discussion or even acknowledgment by council members of the concerns raised at that public hearing.

And, the Department has re-presented its proposals from 2019 and new proposals for
Continue Reading Labor and Management Proposals to “Reform” Unemployment in 2021

MEUC (Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation) benefits have been over-shadowed by PUA, PEUC, and PUC benefits. But, many self-employed individuals who also engage in regular wage work may be eligible for this benefit that originated with the Continued Assistance Act.

MEUC benefits pay an additional $100 per week from the week ending 1/2/2021 thru the week ending 9/4/2021. You are eligible for MEUC benefits if:

  • you receive regular unemployment benefits or PEUC benefits (receiving PUA benefits would mean that


Continue Reading Apply for MEUC benefits before the Sept. 4th deadline

Given the delays in getting cases heard (for the week ending 7/31/2021, 4,732 hearings were scheduled, but the number of hearings still waiting to be scheduled stood at 13,151, up from 12,780 as of 5/1/2021 despite over 4000 hearings be scheduled each week), hundreds if not thousands of claimants will not find out about their eligibility for regular unemployment benefits or their PUA eligibility until well after September 4th, when PUA benefits expire. After that date, filing an initial
Continue Reading File a backup PUA initial claim NOW

PUA (unemployment for those that do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits), PEUC (extensions for those eligible for regular unemployment benefits), and PUC (the $600/$300 supplement being paid out to those receiving either regular UI/PEUC or PUA) benefits are currently slated to expire on Sept.5th/6th. So, the last week of these benefits available will be the week ending Sept. 4th.

Andrew Stettner has the details on what the end of these programs will mean. A summary of the report
Continue Reading Pandemic unemployment programs are ending after Sept. 4th

With all the problems being described with unemployment here, there are also many efforts at reforming the unemployment system — especially of late — as the problems access and timely payments have become so obvious even John Oliver of Last Week Tonight can see them.

A major report (over 100 pp.) for Reforming Unemployment Insurance is now available. A press release is also available.

This report describes how unemployment is supposed to work, why national or universal
Continue Reading Reforming Unemployment

The Department’s own claim-filing mistakes
Note: Previous posts detailed the length of time and number of cases in the unemployment backlog in part 1, some of the mistakes by the Department that allow cases to be re-opened in part 2, a place for stories and advice about how to find assistance in part 3, how most claims in Wisconsin — and unlike in other states — are being denied and thereby creating a ginormous backlog in
Continue Reading Unemployment Delays, Part 8

Phone calls to unemployment one year later
Note: Previous posts detailed the length of time and number of cases in the unemployment backlog in part 1, some of the mistakes by the Department that allow cases to be re-opened in part 2, a place for stories and advice about how to find assistance in part 3, how most claims in Wisconsin — and unlike in other states — are being denied and thereby creating a ginormous
Continue Reading Unemployment Delays, Part 7

Tax breaks for employers

I previously described how the Joint Finance Committee ignored reality and state unemployment law — particularly the state’s partial wage formula that encourages people to work part-time while STILL being eligible for and collecting unemployment benefits — to make false claims about unemployment benefits keeping people from working.

This effort is being done in the name of stigmatizing unemployment benefits. This push to end the pandemic relief programs early is still utter nonsense.

What
Continue Reading The DWD/unemployment budget, Round 2

Several folks have forwarded to me different articles that describe the current unemployment situation.

An article in Dissent establishes that the current attack on pandemic unemployment programs is mostly just another kind of attack on working folk.
Across the country, workers have used the health and safety concerns posed by the pandemic and the enhanced unemployment insurance provided by the CARES Act to renegotiate the basic social contract that governs the American workplace. As social-distancing restrictions end and employers
Continue Reading The Summer 2021 Unemployment Situation