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Smith, Kilmer urge swift renewal of TAA by year’s end

kilmer-dereksmith-adam-newWASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 21, 2014) — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Thursday introduced a Senate companion bill to the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Act of 2014, introduced by Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA), Sander Levin (D-MI), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Charles B. Rangel (D-MI). These bills would renew TAA, which is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2014.

Congress created the TAA program in response to the loss of jobs among hard-working Americans as a result of increasing global competition, as well as to promote American competitiveness. TAA can provide fully funded training, extended income support, and other benefits to dislocated workers whose companies move production or outsource to another country, or are forced to lay off workers or close plants due to increased imports and foreign competition.

“The unfortunate truth is that layoffs of this kind are all too common in our state, making these benefits a necessity,” wrote Caitlyn Jekel and Bill Messenger, WIA Liaisons for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, in a column last year. “The TAA program has already helped tens of thousands of unemployed workers across Washington find new jobs and make ends meet until they do.”

Reps. Smith, Levin, Rangel, and Kilmer released the following statement calling for the immediate passage of the TAA:

It is critical that Congress pass Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation before it expires at the end of the year. Both the House and Senate TAA bills provide critical work training, income support, and health care to help dislocated American workers transition and learn new skills for new careers in competitive industries.  This vital assistance helps American workers and businesses adapt and compete in a rapidly evolving world economy.

TAA by the numbers:

2,192,910  — The number of workers served by TAA since it was created in 1974.

104,158 — The number of workers eligible to apply for TAA in 2013

50 — The number of states with workers eligible for TAA benefits in 2013

75% — The percentage of TAA workers who got a job within six months of finishing the program

90% — The percentage of those TAA workers who remained employed at the end of the year

The Washington State Labor Council has two staff members who can assist with unemployment insurance issues. If affiliated unions have members that who support, please contact Bill Messenger ( or Caitlyn Jekel ( for help.

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