Hundreds of unemployed workers demanding change for DEO benefits system

Rallys will be held in Orlando, Tallahassee and Tampa

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Wednesday will be “Fix It DEO” day in Orlando, Tampa, and Tallahassee for Fix-It Florida, a grassroots group fighting to bring attention to the delays in state’s jobless benefits for hundreds of unemployed Florida workers.

Michelle Geist a furloughed Disney reservation employee told News 6 she founded the Orlando chapter because of so many single moms still waiting for jobless benefits from the Department of Employment Opportunity.

“I’ve had contacts from single moms who are saying I can’t pay my bills, I’m not able to feed my family, “Geist said, “ The more that come the larger our voice will be.”

[RELATED: Furloughed Epcot worker waiting for unemployment benefits living on canned vegetables, help from friends]

The rally is set to begin at 10 a.m. at the Disney Amphitheater near Lake Eola and outside of the state capitol in Tallahassee with another group planning a protest in Tampa.

Judy Tanzosch of Fix it Florida ‘s Tallahassee chapter said she is still waiting for benefits after she was furloughed from her job in construction services on March 27.

“I was furloughed along with about 100 employees, about a third of the company,” she recalled, “ we don’t even know if the jobs are coming back.”

The women have assembled a network of men and women who have been unable to get benefits from the Department of Employment Opportunity.

Geist said they are hoping 100 or more show up at all three locations to get the word out.

[RELATED: Florida says it’s now ready to pay federal pandemic benefits to those who have exhausted unemployment]

“The more that come the larger our voice will be,” she said

State Sen. Linda Stewart of Orlando is meeting with the Governor’s staff Wednesday to talk about the people still waiting for benefits.

She told News 6 she supports the Fix it Florida effort because the Department of Employment Opportunity’s log jam is very real.

“It’s really a mess there’s nothing more anyone can say.” Stewart told News 6 Tuesday,” It’s just

not working and hasn’t worked since the beginning.”

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.