Without swift Congressional action, the expanded Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program will expire on February 12, leaving hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans and their families cut off from the assistance and job training they need to help them get back on their feet after their jobs have been shipped overseas. TAA provides benefits and support to U.S. workers who lose their jobs due to the negative effects of international trade. TAA programs offer necessary retraining opportunities, health insurance assistance, and other crucial support initiatives to workers affected by globalization. This important program makes the U.S. labor market more efficient by facilitating participants’ reentry into the workforce after helping them acquire the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st century economy.
From May 18, 2009 to January 31, 2011, a total of 406,124 workers were certified under the TAA program, including 170,000 who would not have received benefits if it were not for the now-expiring provisions of TAA. In 2009, the existing TAA program was reformed to fix problems that denied benefits to many workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas and to make the program more flexible and effective. Prior to those reforms, employees of service firms were excluded from eligibility, as were people who lost their jobs because of a shift in production to countries with which the U.S. does not maintain a trade agreement (e.g., China). The 2009 changes, however, allows service workers whose jobs are offshored and manufacturing workers whose jobs were offshored to any country to be eligible. The reforms also included more robust training opportunities and improved health coverage assistance. If Congress does not act to extend these benefits, tens of thousands of workers laid off due to trade and offshoring – workers in every state — will be cut off from these essential programs. [ETA Sunset of TAA fact sheet, 11/17/2010] [Note, see charts below for FY2010 TAA participation numbers by state and for number of workers who benefit from TAA expansion by state; Click HERE for broader FY2010 TAA statistics by state.]
If the TAA reforms expire, American workers who lose their jobs due to trade with China and India will no longer be eligible to receive benefits. If Congress fails to take action by February 12, “TAA will revert back to failing to cover service employees or workers whose jobs are exported to countries where the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement, including China and India.” [National Employment Law Project, January 2011]
- U.S. Has Lost 2.4 Million Jobs Due to Trade with China. From 2001 through 2008, 2.4 million American jobs were lost or displaced due to the United States’ trade deficit with China, including 91,400 jobs in 2008 alone. [Economic Policy Institute, 3/23/2010] NOTE: Click HERE for job loss numbers by state and/or Congressional district
Reauthorizing TAA is paramount to boosting our economy by getting hard working Americans back on the job. On the heels of the worst recession in generations, this is not the time to abandon hardworking individuals who lost their jobs through no fault of their own; TAA is a lifeline for families. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke explained, “Until we see a sustained period of stronger job creation, we cannot consider the recovery to be truly established.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed those comments saying, “There is nothing more important than creating jobs. We have a long way to go before our economy is back to normal. Ask any American and they’ll tell you: We have a lot more jobs to create and fill.” TAA equips workers with the skills they need to secure stable jobs and strengthen our economy. [Bloomberg, 2/3/2011; Senator Reid’s press release, 2/3/2011]
If Congress does not renew the TAA reforms:
- Services Workers and Firms Will be Shut Out. The 2009 legislation closed a gaping hole in the TAA program and, for the first time, allowed service sector workers who lose their jobs or service sector firms who lose market share due to trade or outsourcing to obtain TAA benefits. If Congress doesn’t act, these workers and firms will be cut out of the program.
- Most Manufacturing Workers who are Victims of Offshoring Will be Cut Off. The 2009 legislation fixed a flaw in the TAA program, providing coverage to all manufacturing workers who lose their jobs when their factory shuts down and relocates overseas. (Prior law created an additional evidentiary hurdle when the factory was offshored to a non-FTA country that was very difficult to meet, effectively shutting these laid off workers out.) If Congress doesn’t act, this hurdle will be put back in place and most victims of offshore outsourcing will be left out in the cold.
- Most “Secondary Workers” Will be Excluded. When a major factory shuts down in a small community, the impact goes well beyond the employees of that factory, and reverberates to the other “upstream” and “downstream” businesses that provided goods and services to the factory. The 2009 legislation expanded “secondary worker” eligibility to ensure that when these workers lose their jobs, they can also retrain for a better job to provide for their families. If Congress doesn’t act, many secondary workers – and small communities throughout the country – will get the cold shoulder.
- Trade-Impacted Workers Will Lose Training Opportunities. The 2009 legislation more than doubled the TAA training funding from $220 million to $575 million to ensure that workers have full opportunity to retrain for new, better jobs. If Congress doesn’t act, all TAA-eligible workers will see fewer training opportunities and in some States, the money will simply run out.
- Longer-Term Training Opportunities Will be Denied. The very heart of the TAA program is the opportunity to get trained for a better job so that workers can continue to provide for their families. The 2009 legislation included changes to ensure that workers can complete longer term training that gives them the best opportunity to transition into a new career. If Congress doesn’t act, these opportunities will be eliminated.
- Participants Will Experience Cuts to the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) at the Worst Possible Time. The 2009 legislation increased the HCTC credit from 65% to 80%– so that workers who have just lost their jobs won’t also have to pay more for healthcare and can continue coverage for their families. If Congress doesn’t act, laid off workers and their families will face premium increases of hundreds of dollars a month.
- Flaws in the Program That Were Fixed Will be Undone. The 2009 legislation fixed short and contradictory enrollment deadlines that caused significant confusion among TAA participants and resulted in some workers losing access to TAA benefits. If Congress doesn’t act, those flaws will return, cutting off many workers.
|FY 2010 Total TAA Participants by State|
|STATE||Total TAA Participants||State||Total TAA Participants||STATE||Total TAA Participants||State||Total TAA Participants|
|STATE||Workers Covered Under 2009 TAA Expansion Who Otherwise Would Not Benefit from TAA||STATE||Workers Covered Under 2009 TAA Expansion Who Otherwise Would Not Benefit from TAA||STATE||Workers Covered Under 2009 TAA Expansion Who Otherwise Would Not Benefit from TAA|
|South Carolina||3,362||North Dakota||905|
[Department of Labor, 11/18/2010]