September 22, 2011

Gillibrand Votes To Secure More Aid For Laid-Off Workers

Senate Passes TAA Extension to Support American Workers Who Lost Their Jobs Through No Fault of Their Own

Washington, D.C. – Facing an ongoing economic crisis and continuing manufacturing job losses, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the U.S. Senate passed legislation to extend support for American workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. The legislation makes a long-term extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a federal program that has helped nearly 19,000 laid-off workers in New York continue to make ends meet since 2009, provided nearly $24 million for New York workers last year, and offered nearly $17 million in training funds to help prepare New York workers for the jobs of the future.

In May, Senator Gillibrand and a group of her Senate colleagues wrote to President Obama supporting his decision to include a long-term extension of bipartisan TAA reforms to protect American workers before submitting pending trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama.

“We need to support American workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When our jobs get shipped overseas as a result of unfair trade practices and outsourcing, these workers deserve assistance to help continue to make ends meet and provide for their families, and get the retraining they need so they have the right skills for the new economy. Our manufacturers powered us through the last century, and I am working every day to set the right policies so our manufacturers can thrive in this century, and we can see ‘Made in America’ again.”

TAA is a federal program that provides aid to workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports or outsourcing. The program extends benefits including training for employment in another job or career, income support, assistance for health care costs, job search allowance, and relocation allowances. Qualified workers may quickly return to employment through a combination of these services.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expanded the pool of eligible TAA recipients and increased available TAA funds from $200 million to $575 million – changes that went into effect in May 2009.  These changes enabled individuals losing jobs due to outsourcing to countries like China and India, in addition to trade agreement partners like Mexico, are eligible for benefits  The legislation the Senate today passed includes long-term extension of these bipartisan reforms.

The Senators’ May letter to President Obama is attached.