Wednesday, July 22, 2009

U.S. Department of Labor announces 1st Trade Adjustment Assistance certifications under new law

On June 22, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the certification of 20 petitions for benefit eligibility for workers under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. The new TAA law took effect on May 18, 2009, which provides training and employment services for workers who have lost their jobs due to competitive foreign trade and these are the first certifications under the new TAA law.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) expanded the pool of eligible TAA recipients to include: workers in companies that supply services; workers whose companies have shifted production to any foreign country; workers in public agencies; workers whose companies produce component parts of a finished product; workers in companies that supply testing, packaging, maintenance and transportation services to companies with TAA-certified workers; and workers whose companies are identified in an International Trade Commission "injury" determination listed in the Trade Act of 1974. The Recovery Act also raised the cap on annual TAA training funds from $220 million to $575 million.

A petition may be filed by a group of three or more workers, by a company or public agency official by One-Stop operators or partners (including state employment security agencies and dislocated worker units) or by a union or other duly authorized representative of such workers. The workers on whose behalf a petition is filed must be or have been employed at the firm or subdivision identified in the petition. If the group of workers described in the petition is certified, the certification will cover all workers in the group whether or not their names are on the petition. Workers certified as eligible for TAA have access to a variety of resources such as re-employment services, job search allowances, relocation allowances and various types of income support.

"These certifications mark the beginning of a new era of opportunity for service workers who lose their jobs as a result of direct foreign competition," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Workers covered under TAA are offered the employment and training services needed to upgrade existing skills or pursue new careers in growing industries."

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