Director’s Letter RE: Regarding Meeting RequestPosted on Feb 25, 2021 in News
For a pdf of the letter click here.
February 22, 2021
Rev. Sam Domingo
Mr. John Witeck
Hawaii Workers Center
SUBJECT: Letter dated February 13, 2021 Regarding Meeting Request
Dear Reverend Domingo and Mr. Witeck,
Thank you for your advocacy for Hawaii’s workers. I assure you that the Department of Labor
and Industrial Relations (DLIR) is working tirelessly in alignment with our mission to assist and
advocate for Hawaii’s workforce. I must decline your offer to meet in person but know that
providing the best possible service to our community is of utmost importance.
I respectfully disagree with your characterization of the DLIR’s efforts during the unprecedented
crisis that has resulted from the COVID-19 Pandemic. I am extremely proud of the
Department’s workers, including those volunteers outside of the UT Division, who have
persistently toiled long hours – often seven days a week and on holidays – to meet the needs of
our community. I would be remiss to neglect to mention my tremendous gratitude for our
volunteers from our sister departments, the Legislature, the Hawai’i State Libraries, the Hawaii
State Bar Association, UI retirees, the Unions, and the private sector and non-profit partners that
have resolutely strove to address workers’ rightful benefits to provide a greater level of relief as
soon as feasible.
As you may recall, our online benefits portal degraded to the point of essentially eliminating
access to most applicants in mid-March. To address this situation, the DLIR began by
implementing a benefits web application form to take traffic off the mainframe and process those
applications during overnight batch processing. Subsequently, numerous measures were
undertaken. These include making a new claims status check available 24/7, adding 15 front end
web servers to intake initial and weekly claims, creating a replicated database to divert traffic
from the mainframe, tuning of mainframe to optimize performance, installing Amazon Cloud
Front to remove bots and improve the ability to manage the front end and installing an Amazon
Web Application Firewall to protect the web applications from cyber-attacks and enhance
The Department – with the help of our partners – installed phone centers internally, at the
Entrepreneurs Sandbox and subsequently at the Hawai’i Convention Center, procured a vendor
to help with a call and adjudication center, and recently implemented our own call and
adjudication center at the Hawai’i Convention Center staffed with local Hawai’i residents.
In closing, I will continue to focus my efforts on managing the Department to the best of my
abilities and restate my steadfast commitment to all involved – our claimants and their families,
our workers, partners, and volunteers who are all working together to help us provide service to
the greatest number of individuals in an efficient, timely and safe manner.
Director of Labor and Industrial Relations