Former IBM Workers Get Federal Help

WASHINGTON, March 11 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that laid-off employees at IBM’s plant in Essex Junction, Vt., will be eligible for help through a federal training and reemployment program for workers who lost jobs due to foreign competition.

Sanders, a senior member of the Senate labor committee, had urged the U.S. Department of Labor to make the Trade Adjustment Assistance available as soon as possible.

The department already had approved benefits for more than 115 IBM workers laid off in last June in Williston, Vt. Today’s announcement extends benefits to more than 300 IBM workers who lost their jobs in the same round of June layoffs at IBM’s Essex Junction facility. In addition, many workers IBM laid off last month also will be eligible for benefits.

“My heart goes out to all of the IBM workers who have lost their jobs.  I am pleased, however, that these employees will finally be able to take advantage of job training, education and extended unemployment benefits that the Trade Adjustment Assistance program offers,” Sanders said. “Clearly, these federal benefits are not a substitute for a job, but they will provide some economic security as these workers look for new jobs and move on with their lives.”

Benefits under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program include:

  • Up to 130 weeks of full-time or part-time job training.
  • Up to 130 weeks of extended unemployment benefits for workers enrolled in full-time job training programs.
  • A wage subsidy for as long as two years for workers who are 50-years-old or older and re-employed in jobs that pay less than $50,000.
  • Reimbursement for the cost of relocating to a job in a different location.
  • Reimbursement for job search costs.