Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy today, along with Congressmen Barney Frank and James McGovern announced that a $1,093,159 National Emergency Grant has been awarded to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development to assist the workers affected by the closing of Quaker Fabric in Fall River.
The approximately 751 workers will receive wrap-around services not funded under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Such services may include assessment, career counseling, job search workshops, access to labor market information, job placement assistance, and occupational skills training.
Immediately following the plants closure, the legislators urged the Department of Labor to take all appropriate steps to provide assistance and occupational training that the workers rightfully deserved.
"This is a lifeline for the hundreds of workers in Fall River who abruptly lost their jobs last summer. These are hardworking people who played by the rules, and this funding will help them get back on their feet and find new jobs in these difficult economic times," said Senator Kerry.
Senator Kennedy said, "This federal funding is important for the hundreds of families left reeling by the sudden closing of Quaker Fabric last year. We need to do all we can to support these workers as they make the transition to new jobs."
"Current law does not provide adequately for workers in this situation, and I regret that we can't do more. However, given the existing limitations on federal assistance, I am pleased that we are able to take this positive step," said Congressman Frank.
"I'm pleased that the Quaker Fabric workers will receive these vital services," Rep. McGovern said. "These workers are facing a very difficult job market, and the federal government must to everything it can to assist them in transitioning to new employment."
Kerry is also a co-sponsor the FOREWARN Act of 2007, which requires a 90-day notification of plant closings. The legislation would also allow employees to seek double back-pay and authorizes the Department of Labor to bring suits against businesses that violate the WARN Act.