U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced today that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has approved a much-needed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) certification for workers at the former Belden Inc. plant in Horseheads. Belden workers, laid off as part of the company’s acquisition of PPC, can now apply for critical TAA benefits to aid in retraining for new employment fields and in their job search. After the workers were initially denied a TAA certification from the DOL, Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand wrote Acting Administrator Tyler of the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance in support of their subsequent appeal. The TAA program, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, provides aid, retraining and reemployment services to workers laid off because of foreign competition. Schumer and Gillibrand argued that the decision by Belden Inc. to continue PPC’s practice of sourcing parts from overseas for assembly in the US, contributed to the closure of the Horsehead’s facility and subsequent loss of jobs.
“Winning this TAA certification is a much-needed development for the workers of the former Belden plant in Horseheads, and their families,” Senator Schumer said. “These employees worked hard, played by the rules and yet fell out of work due to a shift in production outside the US. This is exactly why Congress set up the TAA system in the first place; to lend a helping hand to workers like those from the Horseheads plant, so they can get the training and assistance they need to get back on their feet and find new employment.”
“This support is incredibly important for Belden workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When New York jobs get shipped away, our workers deserve every opportunity to keep making ends meet for their families, and get the retraining they need so they have the right skills for the jobs of the new economy.”
Belden Inc. manufacturing plant in Horseheads made coaxial cable connectors and parts for TVs. PPC outsourced coaxial parts from overseas and assembled them at its Dewitt facility. With the acquisition of PPC by Belden, both facilities were performing similar and redundant work, some of which was dependent on work being done in China. After the plant’s closure, the workers petitioned for TAA; they were denied at first but appealed that decision. Schumer and Gillibrand therefore wrote the Acting Administration of the Office of the TAA to provide more support for their appeal and deliver addition information. This week, the Office of the TAA approved the workers’ appeal and said they met the certification criteria.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is a federal program established under the Trade Act of 1974. Workers whose employment is adversely affected by increased imports and shifts in production outside the United States may apply for TAA. TAA offers a variety of benefits and reemployment services to assist unemployed workers prepare for and obtain suitable employment such as:
• Training for employment in another job or career. Workers may receive up to 104 weeks of approved training in occupational skills, basic or remedial education, or training in literacy or English as a second language. Workers may also receive employment services such as case management, skills assessment, and job search assistance.
• Income Support. Workers can receive weekly cash payments called trade readjustment allowances (TRA) after a worker’s unemployment compensation benefit is exhausted and during the period in which a worker is participating in an approved full-time training program.
• Job Search Allowance. Workers can get reimbursed for expenses incurred in seeking employment outside their normal commuting area.
• Relocation Allowances. Workers can receive reimbursement for approved expenses if they are successful in obtaining employment outside their normal commuting area and they need to relocate.
A copy of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s letter appears below:
Dear Director Tyler:
We write to you today in regards to Belden Incorporated, a small company located in Horseheads, NY. Specifically our letter is to serve as support for a recently filed appeal by its employees of TAA decision 82663. Belden Incorporated is a small company that manufactures coaxial cable connectors, amplifiers and splitters. It has a long history in the local area, dating back to its incorporation in 1964.
In 2012, Belden Incorporated, the fourth owner of this operation purchased PPC, a competitor, and a privately owned company, that was a leader in the cable TV connector supply market. PPC sources its Drop-line connector components from China, and assembles the components domestically to produce a completed connector. With this expansion it was determined that the Drop-line connector production performed at its Horsehead site would be terminated in favor of continuing the practices of its former competitor: outsourcing parts. In essence, the production of Drop-line connector components performed at Belden Horseheads location has been shifted overseas with this new acquisition. As a result of Belden Incorporated’s decision to source Drop-line connectors from China, 180 workers in Horseheads NY will be without a job by the end of this year.
The additional support and assistance that Trade Adjustment Assistance help can lend to displaced workers is invaluable. The opportunity to learn new skills, or further develop an existing skill set often times is the leg up that enables individuals who have lost their job to obtain gainful employment. In challenging economic times, we need to ensure that all available resources are brought to bear to put people back to work. We ask that you consider their appeal and give it a full review to ensure any potential assistance can be maximized.
Charles E. Schumer Kirsten E. Gillibrand
U.S. Senator U.S. Senator