With the impending closure of the Birds Eye plant in Fulton expected to affect upwards of 300 workers in Central New York, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is urging the U.S. Labor Department to support Workers United's bid for Trade Adjustment Assistance ( TAA) to provide impacted workers with new training opportunities, job search and income support, relocation allowances and other important assistance.
"We need to stand by these Central New York workers who are losing 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."
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.
Senator Gillibrand's full letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis:
Dear Secretary Solis,
I write in support of Workers United's application for funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program through the U.S. Department of Labor. This funding will help extend benefits, such as job training, income support, job search and relocation allowances and other critical assistance, for dislocated workers affected by the closing of the Birds Eye plant in Fulton, New York.
Located in Central New York, the Birds Eye plant plays a vital role in the local economy with almost 300 employees. With the impending closure of the plant at the end of the year, Workers United has partnered with the Workforce Development Institute, New York State AFL-CIO, Working for America Institute, and the New York State Department of Labor to provide vital assistance to the employees.
This assistance will allow Workers United to provide impacted workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, resources and support they need to new employment. Workers United strongly believes that the company is closing its Fulton, New York plant because of unfair foreign competition, therefore making the dislocated workers eligible for TAA. Given the rise in imported produce from around the world, sales of Birds Eye have declined and led to the company's need to consolidate. The requested support will help the dislocated workers gain the skills necessary to find another job while still having the assistance needed to survive in this economy.
I ask that you please give this application your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact my staff member Andrew Usyk at (202) 224-4451.