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Schumer Announces Feds Grant Federal Trade Adjustment Assistance To Workers At Hydro Aluminum North America

Following Increased Importing of Home Medical Equipment and Plant Closure, close to 300 Workers Were Left Unemployed

TAA Can Provide Income Support, Retraining and Benefits To Workers Displaced By Foreign Trade

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved much needed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) benefits for laid off workers at the recentlyclosed Hydro Aluminum North America, Extrusion and Casting Divisions, located in Ellenville. The division produced extruded aluminum products used as components in home medical equipment but an increase in foreign imports of the finished products devastated the plant and left over 260 workers unemployed. The TAA program, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, provides aid, retraining and reemployment services to workers laid off because of foreign competition.

"This is some muchneeded good news for Hydro Aluminum North America workers and their families," Schumer said. "They worked hard, played by the rules and yet are out of work due to complications from foreign trade. This is exactly why Congress set up the TAA system in the first place. This vital aid will get these New Yorkers back on their feet and help them to find a new job."

Hydro Aluminum North America, Extrusion and Casting Divisions closed on July 1, 2007, resulting in the unemployment of the roughly 300 workers at the facility. The firm produced parts used as components in home medical equipment produced by a manufacturer whose workers were already certified as eligible to apply for adjustment assistance based on imports of said equipment. A significant proportion of Hydro Aluminum North America's sales went to this customer, and the loss of these sales contributed importantly to the facility's decline in sales and production that lead to its closure.
The TAA program is a federal program that provides aid to workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports. The program extends the following benefits:

• Training for employment in another job or career. Workers may receive up to 104 weeks of approved training in occupational skills, basic or remedial education, or training in literacy or English as a second language.

• Income Support. Workers can receive weekly cash payments called trade readjustment allowances (TRA) for 52 weeks after a worker's unemployment compensation benefit is exhausted and during the period in which a worker is participating in an approved fulltime training program.

• Job Search Allowance. Workers can get reimbursed for expenses incurred in seeking employment outside their normal commuting area.

• Relocation Allowances. Workers can receive reimbursement for approved expenses if they are successful in obtaining employment outside their normal commuting area and they need to relocate.

Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) program benefits are provided as an alternative to the benefits offered under the regular TAA program. Participation in ATAA allows older workers, for whom retraining may not be appropriate, to accept reemployment at a lower wage and receive a wage subsidy.