With Unemployment Rate Still Over 9% in Lackawanna County, Senator Pushes for Job Training for Impacted Workers
Washington DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today announced that he has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor urging the approval of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for 217 HarperCollins workers who are set to be laid off by September 30th due to foreign competition impacting the industry.
“TAA plays a critical role in helping workers that have been impacted by foreign trade competition learn new skills to compete in the job market,” Senator Casey said. “I’m hopeful that the Labor Department will quickly approve assistance for the HarperCollins’ workers so they can begin the process of seeking employment.”
Senator Casey led the fight to reauthorize the TAA program in 2011. TAA was created in 1962 as a way to help workers and firms negatively impacted by trade. TAA was most recently expanded to include additional workers, expanded job training and improved health care coverage. Reauthorization:
- Guaranteed access to training for American service and manufacturing workers;
- Allowed workers to qualify if their firms shifted production to any country, including China and India, not just counties with which the U.S. has entered into a free trade agreement; and
- Ensured that workers in industries suffering from unfair trade and import surges as a result of unfair subsidies, dumping of goods, and unexpected surges to automatically qualify to receive TAA benefits if their layoffs occurred within one year before or after an affirmative injury determination by the International Trade Commission.
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
March 5, 2013
The Honorable Jane Oates
Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration
United States Department of Labor
Dear Assistant Secretary Oates:
I am writing to support the expeditious processing and a favorable decision for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Petition submitted on behalf of employees of HarperCollins Publishers in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I have been informed that approximately 217 employees will be laid off by September 30 of this year as a result of increased importation of electronic readers, decreasing demand for domestically produced books.
As the bookbinding and distribution industry continues to face similar losses across Pennsylvania, these workers will have even greater difficulty finding work in the same field. The retraining benefits provided by this program will prove to be an important part of their ability to move on to a new, family sustaining career. In addition to the decline of their industry, these 217 employees will be searching for work at a time of already high unemployment rates. In December 2012, the unemployment rate in Lackawanna County reached 9.2 percent.
Thank you for your attention to this request.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator