WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that the petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for the 195 workers displaced by the closure of the Expera Specialty Solutions pulp mill in Old Town has been approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“It is our hope that this announcement brings relief to the many hard-working men and women at the Old Town mill who, through no fault of their own, lost their jobs as a result of increased foreign competition,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “TAA assistance will help these workers get back on their feet by providing them with the opportunity to acquire the new skills and new training necessary to prepare for jobs in other industries. It is a crucial lifeline for workers in Maine and across the nation.”
In October, Senators Collins and King sent a letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez urging him to quickly approve this assistance. This June, the Senate passed a bipartisan reauthorization of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which was based upon The Trade Adjustment Assistance Enhancement Act of 2015 that Senator Collins co-authored with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).
TAA is a program of the Department of Labor that helps workers who have lost their jobs as a result of increased imports or a shift of production outside of the United States. TAA provides these trade-affected workers with a variety of reemployment services and benefits to help them find new jobs and get back to work. In the 2013 fiscal year alone, more than 700 Mainers used TAA programs, and more than 70 percent of those participants found employment within three months of completing their retraining programs. In addition, of the participants who found employment, more than 90 percent were still employed in their new jobs six months later.