Pandemic exposes failures of Wisconsin unemployment system — 6/29/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Today we draw your attention to the latest story from WPR and Wisconsin Watch’s Bram Sable-Smith exposing the numerous flaws in Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance system, leaving thousands of jobless state residents without financial support during the COVID-19 crisis. The report is based on interviews with 16 out-of-work Wisconsinites, including David Ficke, a Beaver Dam welder who lived out of his car for a time while waiting for unemployment insurance to kick in. He’s still waiting.

Top Stories

Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance system has failed to deliver for thousands of residents at a time when they most need it, leaving many to miss bill payments, rack up new credit card debt, lean on food pantries and face eviction. Wisconsinites who have had trouble with the system include, clockwise from upper left: David Ficke, Chenon Times-Rainwater, Melissa Minkoff, Belinda Bickford, Alysha Brooks, and Adriana Patino.

Lives on hold: Pandemic exposes failures of Wisconsin unemployment insurance systemWPR/Wisconsin Watch

For juvenile detention, pandemic brings a chance to ‘rethinkThe Cap Times

Wisconsin’s percentage of positive coronavirus tests hits highest point in more than a monthGreen Bay Press-Gazette

Wisconsin ag officials caution mink farmers after COVID-19 outbreaks in EuropeWisconsin State Journal

La Crosse mayor: Time to be more assertive about COVID-19 safetyLa Crosse Tribune

How AIDS pushed Wisconsin to change its approach to public healthWisContext

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Government updates

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Gov. Tony Evers’ office

U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization 


“Many of the riskiest and most stressful frontline jobs now deemed essential offer low pay and are occupied by people at the most marginalized intersections: racial/ethnic minorities, women, and undocumented workers. These intersections contrast starkly with those of the predominantly White, middle-class, and rich people who hire, legislate, and direct the conditions under which the ‘essential’ — or expendable, depending on your point of view — work and, in the COVID-19 era, live or die.”

George Washington University policy analyst Lisa Bowleg writing for the American Journal of Public Health

Data to note

Here is the latest visualization of Wisconsin’s recent increase on COVID-19 cases from our partners at WisContext. 

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us:

SSM Health begins tele-chaplaincy to combat loneliness of pandemicJanesville Gazette

Atwood Barbershop to make a move, double in sizeThe Cap Times

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