Mill employees to get federal aid

Published 3:10 pm Thursday, December 24, 2009

The U.S. Department of Labor has approved federal Trade Adjustment Assistance for employees who lost their jobs as a result of the International Paper mill closure, acknowledging the role of foreign workers in the Franklin mill’s imminent closure.

In an announcement just days before Christmas, the Department of Labor approved a TAA petition for the 1,100 employees impacted by the International Paper mill closure. Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) had requested a meeting with the Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration to ensure prompt consideration of this petition.

“The closing of the IP paper mill has been devastating to the surrounding communities,” Forbes said. “Especially as these families face a holiday season marked with anxiety at the future, I am pleased that the Department of Labor has moved forward in approving this assistance.”

The TAA program provides aid to workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports. The program offers a variety of benefits and reemployment services to assist unemployed workers in preparing for and in obtaining suitable employment.

Workers may be eligible for training, job search and relocation allowances, income support, health insurance subsidies, and wage supplements. A petition for TAA may be filed by a group of three or more workers, their union or other authorized representative.

The TAA program is administered by the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. States serve as agents to the Labor Department in administering the TAA program.