WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representative Bruce Poliquin announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved much-needed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for displaced employees at Madison Paper. Last month, Senators Collins and King and Representative Poliquin sent a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez in support of the TAA petition.
“This announcement is welcome news for the more than 200 hardworking men and women at Madison Paper Industries who are being displaced. TAA plays an essential role in helping Americans across our country who, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs as a result of foreign—and often unfair—competition. Our workers are the best in the world, and they can compete when there is a level playing field. TAA programs provide a crucial lifeline that enables displaced workers to acquire the new skills and training necessary to prepare for and pursue jobs in other industries,” said Senators Collins and King and Representative Poliquin in a joint statement.
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.
Senators Collins and King and Representative Poliquin’s letter to Secretary Perez is available HERE and the full text is below.
March 17, 2016
The Honorable Thomas Perez
United States Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Mr. Secretary:
We are writing in support of the recently filed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition to assist the more than 200 workers at Madison Paper Industries in Madison, Maine, who are being displaced due in large measure to increased foreign competition within the supercalendered paper industry.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission (ITC) investigated imports of supercalendered paper from Canada. As part of this inquiry, the Department investigated Port Hawkesbury Paper in Nova Scotia and Resolute Forest Products in Quebec and determined that imports of supercalendered paper from these mills received countervailable subsidies ranging from 17.87 percent to 20.18 percent. In December 2015, the ITC determined that the domestic industry was materially injured by these imports.
Given the closing of three other major pulp and paper mills within 125 miles of Madison in the past two years and the bankruptcy restructuring of a fourth, the skilled Madison mill workers face an enormous hurdle in identifying and securing meaningful alternative employment in the area for which they have the qualifying experience. As a result, it is crucial that these workers receive the retraining and reemployment resources available through TAA certification. Such a certification will allow them to get back on their feet more quickly and continue making critical contributions to their families and our economy.
We urge that you review this TAA application in a timely manner, consistent with all applicable rules and regulations, to ensure that these trade-affected workers receive the assistance they need to obtain work and maintain their financial stability.
Thank you for your consideration on behalf of the workers at the Madison Paper Industries.