Hare's Provisions to Assist Workers Impacted by Unfair Trade Agreements Included in Legislation Adopted by Ed and Labor Committee Would Provide Counseling and Early Access to Training for
Washington, Oct 18 -
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, today successfully included two important provisions to help displaced workers and their families in the Early Warning and Health Care for Workers Effected by Globalization Act. The legislation passed the committee by a vote of 26 to 17.
The bill reported out of committee included Hare's provisions to add counseling and early access to training to the list of benefits about which the Department of Labor is required to notify displaced workers.
The legislation provides updates to the previously adopted Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act which was intended to give workers and communities sufficient advance notice of plant closings and mass layoffs so they could prepare for the inevitable consequences.
"Last week marked the 5th Anniversary of Maytag's announcement that it would be closing its Galesburg plant," Hare said. "The workers who lost their jobs as a result were thrust into a trade readjustment system that failed to provide them with the assistance they so desperately needed."
Hare said that many workers who lose their jobs as a result of bad trade policies are not aware of the benefits available to them. "Displaced workers have to deal with the flurry of emotions that come with losing a good jobanger, depression, grief, and confusion," Hare said. "Financial and guidance counseling as well as early access to training are critical to helping dislocated workers get back on their feet. My provision requires the Department of Labor to inform workers about the availability of this help at State Unemployment Insurance (UI) agencies."
Hare cited the experience of former Maytag employee and Galesburg resident Dave Bevard when describing the importance of his provisions. During testimony before the House Education and Labor Committee in March, Bevard said: "Maneuvering through the TAA and other programs can be like entering a bureaucratic minefield. One wrong step and you may lose out on your eligibility for benefits."
In the coming days, Hare will introduce the Dave Bevard Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Improvement Act, legislation designed to improve programs for displaced workers. He plans to work with senior members of the House Education and Labor and Ways and Means Committees to ensure that key components of this legislation are included in the TAA overhaul bill, which is currently in the discussion phase.