Michael Pichler

Unemployment Insurance Navigator


Michael Pichler is the WSLC’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Navigator as part of a pilot project in collaboration with the Washington State Employment Security Department and the U.S. Department of Labor to assist individuals in navigating the complexities of the UI system. He is part of the WSLC Workforce Development team that also includes Workforce Development Directors Rachel McAloon, Chelsea Mason-Placek, and Emmanuel Flores, and Administrative Specialist Laurel Poplack.

Michael is a third-generation mill worker who operated Continuous Digesters at the Westrock paper mill in Tacoma for 15 years. In the five years before joining the WSLC, he has served as Recording Secretary for his union, USW Local 237. In 2023, Westrock announced it would permanently close the Tacoma mill and, after its last day of production on Sept. 30, 2023, more than 400 employees were put out of work. Since then, Pichler and his union have been working to help those displaced workers access the UI safety net and find new jobs.

As the WSLC’s UI Navigator, Michael provides direct assistance to individuals seeking unemployment insurance benefits and conducts training sessions for unions and community-based organizations to improve understanding of UI eligibility, application processes, appeals, and common issues. He also works to develop outreach materials and establish partnerships with local agencies and community groups.

Michael can be reached at mpichler@wslc.org or 360-338-1683.