26. SUPPORT OF INCREASED FUNDING FOR TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE (TAA) and WORKER RETRAINING PROGRAMS FOR WORKERS DISPLACED BY TRADE

lclaaLCLAA 17TH NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP CONVENTION
ORLANDO, FL
AUGUST 4-8, 2008


RESOLUTION:

26.    SUPPORT OF INCREASED FUNDING FOR TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE (TAA) and WORKER RETRAINING PROGRAMS FOR WORKERS DISPLACED BY TRADE


WHEREAS, millions of workers are suffering from the displacement effects of our trade policies and programs such as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) are important, they are no substitute for good trade policies that create and retain good jobs in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the need to help displaced workers exists independently of the debate over these trade policies; and

WHEREAS, the TAA program must honor the promise made to workers since 1962: that the federal government will provide retraining, reemployment assistance, and income support to workers who lose their jobs due to federal trade policies and these workers are forced to pay the price for federal policy decisions; and

WHEREAS, no worker should be denied TAA training due to insufficient funds and help for laid-off workers has always been modest compared to the gains claimed for trade; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. currently spends less than $1 billion on TAA, while it is claimed that the U.S. economy gains $1 trillion a year from trade; and

WHEREAS, funding for TAA training should not be capped and the should be no reason why the commitment to trade-impacted workers should be nullified simply because of flawed administration, the state in which the worker happens to live, or when a layoff occurs; and

WHEREAS, the GAO has confirmed that the current method for distributing TAA training funds is deeply flawed because the Department of Labor uses a formula that reflects past, not current, demand; and

WHEREAS,
this basic flaw leads to two undesirable results: (1) some states experience funding shortfalls at the same time that other states have unspent funds at the end of the fiscal year; and (2) many states seek to ration training services to keep within the constraints of their base TAA allocation – shortchanging workers; and

WHEREAS, in the past couple of years we have seen states like Michigan and Illinois experience shortfalls in training funds due to the extraordinary demand for help and Ohio has had to limit the duration of training due to funding shortages; and

WHEREAS, the TAA program does not currently cover the thousands of technology and service sector workers who find themselves jobless when their employers outsource their work overseas; and


WHEREAS, Though secondary workers are eligible for help few of them are receiving TAA benefits.  According to the GAO, just 7 percent of workers covered by TAA were secondary workers in FY 2004 – 2006.

WHEREAS, the GAO points out that workers need help in making decisions about training yet there are no funds available under the current TAA program to pay for such help, and increasing TAA funding for these services through the state Unemployment Insurance and Employment Service agencies is the most effective and efficient way to help trade impacted workers; and

WHEREAS, links can be established between TAA and new opportunities in energy technology   since the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries are experiencing a lack of skilled workers; and

WHEREAS, --the Apollo Alliance-- a coalition of labor, business and environmental groups -- focuses on the development of “green collar” jobs that create sustainable economies and energy independence estimates that as many as 3 million new jobs could be created over the next 10 years if the country launches a comprehensive effort to build a renewable energy future; and

WHEREAS,
the professional staff of the state agency which already provides access to UI and TRA benefits can help provide immediate counseling and job search help to workers, and the state ES/Unemployment Insurance system has the flexibility to move resources around the state to respond to layoffs as they occur; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) will mobilize its membership to urge Congress to support TAA and its availability to all workers displaced by federal trade policies to cover service and public sector workers, to ensure that adequate funding to accommodate such expansion is provided; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) will urge Congress to improve outreach and access to TAA training, case management and support services through state Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Employment Security (ES) agencies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) will urge Congress to support policies designed to put more workers on a career path of good jobs with good wages and good benefits, and promote job prospects within the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry through investment.

Respectfully submitted by: 
LCLAA Executive Board

REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE:_________________________
CONCURRENCE: _______________________________________
NON-CONCURRENCE:___________________________________