Congress Kills Benefit For Laid-Off Factory Workers

by | Jul 26, 2022 | Politics

WASHINGTON ― For decades, factory workers who lost their jobs when their employers moved production abroad could qualify for special benefits to help them find new careers. Not anymore. Congress faced a July 1 deadline to keep the Trade Adjustment Assistance program alive, but lawmakers failed to do so. In recent years, the program benefitted around 100,000 workers annually. AdvertisementThe best hope for a continuation of TAA, as the program is known, had been a bill to boost the domestic semiconductor chip industry. The likely final version of that legislation cleared a procedural Senate vote on Tuesday without an extension of the worker assistance. United Steelworkers president Thomas Conway said he supported the chips bill because it will boost jobs and scientific research, but he harshly criticized senators for leaving out the training program, which faced Republican opposition. “Today, thousands of workers who have seen their jobs outsourced to countries, like China, cannot get access to job training because 10 Republican Senators in a caucus of 50 chose not to help,” Conway wrote in a Monday letter to senators. The TAA program typically provides job counseling, retraining for new careers or wage subsidies for older workers who take lower-paying jobs than what they’d previously earned. Enrollees are often former manufacturing workers who are older, less educated and less white than the broader workforce. Two-thirds find new jobs within a year, though not necessarily better pay. Advertisement“They don …

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