Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that following their push, the Department of Labor will provide workers at the General Electric Capacitor Plant in Fort Edward access to Trade Adjustment Assistance. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand wrote to Secretary of Labor Perez on August 30, 2016, requesting these resources after the Department of Labor initially rejected the TAA petition from GE workers in Fort Edward.
“This is some much-needed good news for the Fort Edward workers and their families, who just lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Senator Schumer. “They worked hard, played by the rules and deserve help in finding a new job to support their families. This is exactly why Congress set up the TAA system in the first place. It is not enough – which is why I will keeping pushing for more funding for job training programs – but these resources will help these New Yorkers get assistance and training to find another job and get back on their feet.”
“I’m very pleased that the Department of Labor will give workers at the GE plant in Fort Edward access to Trade Adjustment Assistance,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “We need to make sure that when workers lose their jobs through no fault of their own, they have access to the resources and training necessary to find new, meaningful employment as quickly as possible. I will continue to urge my colleagues to support programs like this to help the hardworking men and women in Upstate New York.”
This TAA will support 15 employees who have been separated from their jobs at GE due to the plant’s closure. The GE Capacitor plant was once a driving force in the local economy. However, in 2013, General Electric made the decision to close the Fort Edward facility and move its capacitor manufacturing operations to Clearwater, Florida. Pressure from competitive low-cost imports resulted in GE closing the Fort Edward plant to achieve lower production costs.
After a nearly two year ramp down of operations, GE announced in July 2016 that they will cease all operations at the Fort Edward plant. As the remaining 15 employees were informed of their last day of employment, they were met with the news that TAA had been denied to them, even though TAA benefits were approved for workers at the plant who had lost their jobs at earlier stages of the plant’s closure. These 15 workers submitted an appeal that provides evidence that they were involved in production-related processes, like the previously approved workers, until the plant closed.
Following Schumer and Gillibrand’s push to the Department of Labor, these 15 employees will now receive TAA benefits to provide them with the financial assistance and worker training to find new employment.