Rock Island Unemployment Office Moving Next Door - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island Unemployment Office Moving Next Door

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Changes to the unemployment office in Rock Island are coming soon and could affect the way you file for unemployment.    

The Illinois Department of Employment Security will now share space with the Rock Island Partners in Job Training and Placement office next door, and the old office will be used to expand the current call center.     

It's all a part of a plan to save money in the long run and get more people to apply for benefits online or by phone. But employees there are concerned about how this change will affect future services, especially for those who have to travel far just to get to the Rock Island office.  

Thomas Campbell drives from Kewanee to the Quad Cities to get his unemployment benefits at this office, but new changes and the push to move online and by phone have some worried. 

"It's still an inconvenience because I like to talk to people one on one," he says, "Come in, sit down, talk to them, explain the situation, we can discuss it much easier than trying to do it over the phone." 

Employees are concerned too. The local union and state representatives spoke out about the changes and what this could mean for the future.  

"You've got people that don't have access, or don't have the ability to file claims on the Internet, and that's the ones that are going to fall through the cracks," Todd Jackson of AFSCME Local 2615 says, "The ones that need it the most are the ones that are going to get hurt from this." 

"We're in the business of providing service to people so they can get proper service, and I just hope this doesn't turn into something where people are afraid to get their claims or don't know how to get their claims," IL State Senator Mike Jacobs says. 

Reps from the Illinois Department of Employment Security couldn't say how much money this move will save, but say expanding the call center will make things run more efficiently and save in the long run. They blame millions of dollars in federal budget cuts as the reason behind the changes.  

"Rather than just cutting off access to people, there's other ways to handle low funding," AFSCME Local 2615 President Carlene Erno says. 

The union and state representatives say they'd like the current office to stay open with reduced hours to save money. The offices will be combining space starting September 3rd.