Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has approved a much-needed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) certification for laid off workers at Alcoa in Massena. Former employees can now apply for critical TAA benefits.
Earlier this month, Senator Gillibrand wrote U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez urging him to support Alcoa employees’ petition for TAA, citing that this will impact a significant number of workers.
“This support is incredibly important for Alcoa 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.”
In January, Alcoa announced plans to close two potlines at its Massena East smelter plant. With approximately 1,100 workers and a local economic impact of $340 million a year, Alcoa is one of the largest employers in the North Country.
TAA 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 U.S. may apply for TAA, which provides a range of benefits and reemployment services, such as:
- · Training for employment in another job or career. Workers are eligible for 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