The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

California Unemployment System Is Working for Corporate Interests

Mar 29, 2021

California’s unemployment insurance system has been one big disaster for unemployed workers. The backlog of unprocessed claims is above 1 million, and has stayed around that number for months, despite endless promises by state officials to fix the system.

But this system is working very well for some major corporations. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Deloitte, a multinational consulting firm, has made 55 million dollars off a contract with California’s EDD (Employment Development Department) to answer phone calls. Never mind that, in the whole year that has passed since the pandemic began, EDD’s system (including Deloitte’s call center) has never answered more than 10% of the calls!

Then there is banking giant Bank of America, which issues the debit cards through which unemployed Californians get their payments. Bank of America rakes in millions of dollars off the fees it collects for each transaction. (The exact amount has been kept secret by both the state authorities and the bank.) But when it was revealed that scam artists had been using Bank of America debit cards to rob the system, it turned out that Bank of America had not even provided some basic security measures, such as microchips in the cards to prevent fraud.

To these big, greedy companies, the California treasury is one big honey pot they can freely dip their fingers in. And California officials, elected or appointed, are there holding the pot for them—pandemic or no pandemic.