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Gig-workers, self-employed await PUA payments as DWD begins determinations



MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development began making determinations on its more than 80,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims Thursday, with plans to roll out the first of the payments for workers who wouldn’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance benefits late this week.

Many of those workers, like hair stylist Toni Tiberi, have been waiting for those payments for months.

Since being forced to close up shop at her salon because of the pandemic, Tiberi has had more time to herself, being able to take advantage of her front porch.

“It’s a nice calming place to be,” she said.Toni's porch

That’s a feeling that can be hard to come by during the pandemic, especially with frustrations stemming from unemployment benefits, as Tiberi and her hair stylist friends go without pay as they continue their 10-week wait for word on their PUA benefits.

“A lot of people are starting to struggle,” she said. “It’s painful and very frustrating with the lack of communication.”

Afton resident Jessica Saynor has been hoping for more communication from the unemployment department, as well.

“The silence is what’s frustrating,” Saynor said.

News 3 Now spoke with Saynor for a news story in early April as she searched for answers on her pending unemployment benefits claims. She’s now been waiting for 11 weeks for a determination.

“At this point, I’ve kind of given up as well on anything,” Saynor said. “Bankruptcy’s on the horizon.”

Saynor’s situation is a bit unique, since she had a job offer rescinded because of the pandemic, so she may not qualify for traditional unemployment. She’s unable, however, to see if she qualifies for PUA until her claim is addressed. She joins many others whose wait for a determination continues.

“I understand,” said Emily Savard with the DWD’s unemployment department. “They will receive back payment (that they’re eligible for) when we do get to that.”

Savard said staff members are working through the more than 80,000 PUA claims, rolling the first out by the end of the week. She wasn’t able to say how many will get their money this week, or how long the whole process will take.

“The ball is rolling,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that the programming was done correctly, and so we had a couple additional days of programming put in there to make sure there weren’t any problems.”

Savard understands workers are running out of patience, adding that “we’re doing the best we can.”

ToniTiberi worries workers are running out of money. She’s getting back to the salon soon, and that means expensive additions to keep her clients safe.

“It all adds up,” Tiberi said. “For us still not to get anything and was promised that ten weeks ago is not, not, not OK.”


Savard said the DWD’s new call center got up and running Wednesday with several dozen new workers. In June, it will have 500 new workers helping callers with unemployment insurance benefits issues.

According to Savard, the DWD is learning lessons and making changes so they’re more prepared if something similar were to happen in the future.

“Fingers crossed this doesn’t happen again, but if it does, we have these additional plans and measures in place,” she said.


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How workers are fighting for their rights in a dangerous gig economy




How workers are fighting for their rights in a dangerous gig economy

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In today’s Big Story podcast, a few months ago, a group of couriers won a huge victory for gig economy workers in Canada. And you won’t believe what happened next…

We’re relying on this sort of work more than ever as we attempt to stay inside and order our meals and groceries delivered. And it has never been more dangerous. With that in mind, it’s a perfect time to explore the fight for better conditions for precarious workers in Canada, and how the pandemic has (and hasn’t) changed things.

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Powderfinger reunion gig draws 350,000 live streams on weekend




’s stunning One Night Lonely virtual gig on Saturday night drew 350,000 streams, according to guitarist Darren Middleton.

By the end of the 30-minute broadcast YouTube, the donations tally was $427,000. But donations kept rolling in, and at such a rate that it is expected it will reach $500,000.

The money will be shared by and the support service Beyond Blue.

Support Act CEO Clive Miller told TMN its $250,000 share would continue to support its efforts to provide crisis relief and to facilitate its wellbeing and mental health services.

He said more money was always needed: “We’re trying to manage things so we can provide support to people who need it over the rest of the year.

“Things change every day but it is looking clear that we’re not going to have a snap-back and get back to normal … not until the end of this year and probably the beginning of 2021.

“From Support Act’s point of view, we need the liquidity to provide support to people who are facing financial hardship all along the road.”

Powderfinger reunited with Bernard Fanning near Byron Bay, Darren Middleton in Melbourne, Jon Coghill on the Sunshine Coast and John Collins and Ian Haug in Brisbane.

Miller said of the stream, “The production values were incredible, so well done. It looked great, sounded great, and they wanted us wanting more – which is what every great band does.”

Fans hit social media to urge the band to extend their reunion – and increased speculation that Powderfinger will be headliners at the 100% Australian Falls Festival, and a tour will follow.

More money is being raised for Support Act. James Reyne will donate profits to its Roadie Fund from his Sunday, May 31 Red Hot Sundays live streaming session.

It will be the first of the sessions put together by the Red Hot Summer Tour.

The idea is to employ artists, venues, production teams, sound engineers, booking agents, ticketing agencies, managers, graphic designers, publicists and music media at a time when their income is near-nil.

The stream is free, but fans are encouraged to buy a “virtual ticket” from $10 to $100 or T-shirt.

Reyne said: “I’m excited to support this initiative – the invitation to play live and give our industry an opportunity to get back to work, was really appealing to me.”

Reyne will preview tracks from his next album, Toon Town Lullaby, out July 10 on Bloodlines.

The 3 pm AEST acoustic duo show from the front bar of the Corner Hotel in Melbourne and will be live-streamed on the Red Hot Summer Facebook page.

Miller said of the unexpected Reyne contribution, “Like so many people at the moment, there are so many in the music community who are looking around and want to help …

“Support Act is humbled by the incredible support and amazed by the talent, creativity and passion that so many artists are demonstrating at the moment.”

If you or someone you know requires help, please contact Support Act on 1800 959 500.

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Sal Capozucca, Rock Drummer with a Real Estate Gig, Dies at 65




This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

The Rousers, a rock band formed by a couple of high school buddies from Connecticut, once veered close to stardom when a young Madonna opened for them at Max’s Kansas City in 1981, right before that incubator of downtown Manhattan cool closed.

That same year, the band released a single, “Party Boy.” “Psychedelic rockabilly” is how the critic Robert Palmer of The New York Times described it.

After the release the band switched out their drummer for Sal King — born Salvatore Michael Capozucca — a handsome, powerful player with a sparkly 1960s-era Ludwig drum kit and a florid, swing-inspired style. Like his new bandmates, Tom Milmore, the lead guitarist, and Bill Dickson, the bass player, Sal had been playing since he was a child. In his case, since age 3, when an uncle gave him a drum set.

Fame may have eluded the band, yet as the decades wore on and their hair turned gray, the Rousers continued playing. They rehearsed every week and performed year round, though some years less than others as family responsibilities and day jobs demanded more of their time.

Mr. Capozucca — or Mr. Cappi, as he called himself at work — became a successful real estate broker, with a specialty in Brooklyn brownstones. He married his longtime girlfriend, Veronica Griffith, in 1983. She had spotted him across the dance floor at Club 82, a storied drag bar on East 4th Street, 11 years earlier. On that night, Mr. Capozucca — always a flashy dresser (David Bowie was his hero) — was peacocking in blue satin pants and a white satin scarf.

Mr. Capozucca died on May 13 at N.Y.U. Langone Health hospital in Manhattan where he had spent the last two months being treated for Covid-19, his wife said. He was 65.

Mr. Capozucca was born on April 28, 1955, in Brooklyn. His father, Tony Capozucca, was a salesman, his mother, Betty Jean (Gibbons) Capozucca, a legal secretary.

As a teenager, Sal played at proms, weddings and street festivals. He loved Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, and made sure to work a drum solo into his performances. In addition to his wife, Mr. Capozucca is survived by his daughter, Victoria; his brother, John, and sister, Vera.

“Things happen for a reason,” Mr. Capozucca told The New York Times in 2017, in a story about a new New York City club scene for aging rockers and their arthritic fans (early sets!). “It wasn’t meant to be. That life, that rock ’n’ roll life, is a life of heavy partying. So being famous might have led to my early demise.”

In late February, the Rousers played a gig at Bowery Electric, with a set that featured songs like “Old Man Band,” a sendup of the Rousers’ demographic (sample lyric: “older and slower than we were before/you should listen as we rock some more”). They played so well, said Mr. Milmore, they surprised themselves. “Sal called me the next day and said, ‘What the hell happened to us? How come we were that good?’”

Less than a month later, Mr. Capozucca was hospitalized.

“The band was always a celebration of our friendship and our long time together,” said Mr. Milmore. “We were just brothers, and it was always about that before anything else. Of course, Sal was always mad we weren’t famous.”

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