Monday, May 10, 2010

My heart hurts

Last year I worked for a dying construction and electrical company not knowing it's economic woes. I had been unemployed for the first time in my life and felt a desperation to have a job - any job - no matter what. So what if it was 45 minutes away in traffic at $12 an hour? So what if they didn't want to give overtime or health benefits? I needed it. They made me feel like another opportunity wouldn't come around and so I grabbed at it with all my might.

The first shock was when we were told we probably wouldn't get our paycheck on time. A day or so wasn't a big deal, I guessed. Last year was hard on everybody, I knew. So when the April 1st check came on the 2nd and the April 15th check on the 16th or 17th I was ok. But when the May 1st check never came...I was a little upset. Oh my employer talked a great game - it was the bank's fault. He was going to throw in his retirement to save the company (which would be a $20,000 loss to him, he would tell us in a desperate tone) but the bank refused, or wouldn't call him back, or would tell him the money was coming. And then the speech on May 13th, 2009 - how he was glad we were still there and how he wasn't giving up. He would get the money to pay us. He could have a better job, was asked to work for a company where he could be making so much money - but wanted this instead. Tomorrow he would pay us.

It's May 10th, 2010 and I have not recieved a dime of the $2400 he owes me. I've gone through Labor and Industries thinking this is the right way, the most appropriate way. I don't want more than what I'm owed...just the $12 an hour from pay periods April 11-24th, 25th - May 10th and May 11th - May 20th. Sure he messed with my unemployment claim - reporting to them I quit when he told me he would say it was a lay off. Four months of receiving letters stating "we may have overpaid you $1849.63 - please report why you feel we did not overpay." I had stress spots, anxiety, and tears. I have debt with a 16.9% interest rate. I would like to take that entire check and shove it straight at my CC - cutting it in would think a year would be enough time.

L&I has over 1000 claims dating to 2009, I was told today. Because my claim didn't reach collections until March 25th, it is towards the bottom of the stack. I made my first L&I claim in July 2009. It took that long to process, inspect, approve, contact and file. They have 1 person handling the wage cases. How the hell is this an effecient system?

I'm tired. I'm tired of the stress of not having great credit and owing my cc, my dad and my boyfriend money a year later. I'm tired of being told one date by L&I reps and then another date. It is entirely possible this man can file for bankruptsy between now and whenever they can get to my claim and I'd have to start all over again because L&I has no authority over bankruptsy claims.

Who do I contact - my local government? - to suggest instead of cutting L&I employees, add them. There seem to be a lot of scumbag bosses who would prefer volunteers and think they can skip out on paying. I know there are a lot who went in over their heads...but the parting words from my former employer was to find a company that can babysit me and cater to my needs. He then went on to screw with my unemployment claim and tell them he had no knowledge of me working there as long as I did because it wasn't in the records. No, there need to be more agents in collections...people like him should be made to pay - all 8 of us - in full.

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