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Public Statements

Letter to The Honorable Hilda L. Solis, Secretary U.S. Department of Labor

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

In a letter sent today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), U.S. Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA-01), U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA-02), and U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA-09) called for approval of emergency assistance for Kimberly-Clark workers in Everett, who lost their jobs and are transitioning to new employment.

In a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, the Washington delegation members supported a quick decision on the Snohomish County Workforce Development Council's application for a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Dual-Enrollment National Emergency Grant, which would provide additional services to 700 workers and their families as they transition to new jobs.

On December 20, 2011, the Association of Washington Pulp and Paper Workers announced that the plant's workers would receive Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which supports job training, relocation assistance and other reemployment services. A National Emergency Grant (NEG) will provide services not available under TAA, including transportation and childcare assistance as workers look for new employment.

"Time is of the essence," the members wrote in the letter sent today. "Workers from across the Northwest region of the state have been impacted; many of whom have already been laid off and are now searching for work. Additionally, many are primary-wage earners and the loss of income could be devastating to their families. Thus, it is critically important that this application receive the Department of Labor's fullest consideration and be processed as quickly as possible."

The WIA's NEGs are discretionary awards made by the Secretary of Labor when a significant number of workers at a facility are displaced and in need of assistance that can't be met through standard WIA programs. The WIA's various services have helped thousands of Washingtonians looking for work. During the last program year, July 2010 to June 2011, more than 364,000 Washington residents were served by WIA-funded programs in some way.

The complete text of the letter sent today follows:

February 13, 2012

Secretary Hilda L. Solis
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Solis:

We are writing to express our strong support for the Washington State Employment Security Department and its subgrant recipient, the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County, in its application for a National Emergency Grant to address the impact of the closure of the Kimberly-Clark facility in Everett, Washington.

On September 20, 2011, Kimberly-Clark announced that efforts to sell its Everett, Washington paper products facility were not successful and the plant would close by March 31, 2012. The facility has been a hallmark of the Everett waterfront for nearly 80 years and employed more than 700 workers in the area as of last year. The impact of its closure will undoubtedly be felt across the region for years to come.

The Association of Washington Pulp and Paper Workers, which represent the employees at the facility, filed a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition with the U.S. Department of Labor. The petition was certified on December 16, 2011. This is a positive step, but more resources are necessary to support the impacted workers as they search for new jobs, develop new skills, and continue to provide for their families. A Dual-Enrollment National Emergency Grant will help in these efforts and support services not available under TAA.

Time is of the essence. Workers from across the Northwest region of the state have been impacted; many of whom have already been laid off and are now searching for work. Additionally, many are primary-wage earners and the loss of income could be devastating to their families. Thus, it is critically important that this application receive the Department of Labor's fullest consideration and be processed as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Maria Cantwell
United States Senate

Patty Murray
United States Senate

Jay Inslee
United States Congress

Rick Larsen
United States Congress

Adam Smith
United States Congress

CC: Department of Labor Region VI staff


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