US Sens. Collins, King from Maine urge Secretary of Labor Perez to approve Lincoln Paper's petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance, say it's critical to help provide training, resources for workers who lost their jobs due to imports, foreign competition

WASHINGTON , December 17, 2013 (press release) – In a letter sent today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King urged Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to approve a Petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for the 200 workers at Lincoln Paper and Tissue, LLC, who have been displaced as a result of a significant drop in demand due to competition with foreign countries.

“TAA assistance is critical to helping workers who have been subjected to layoffs obtain the training and resources they need to pursue alternative job opportunities,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “These dedicated workers, many of whom have worked at the facility throughout their entire careers, lost their jobs as a result of increased imports and foreign competition. In this difficult economic time, we will continue to work together to support the Mainers impacted by this layoff and ensure that they receive the assistance and resources they need.”

The purpose of the TAA program is to aid workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages decrease as a result of increased imports. If the TAA petition is approved, displaced Lincoln Paper and Tissue workers will be eligible for employment training in another job or career, income support, job search allowances, and relocation services for individuals who obtain jobs outside of their normal commuting area.

The full text of the letter follows:

December 17, 2013

The Honorable Thomas E. Perez

Secretary

United States Department of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20210

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing on behalf of 200 workers at Lincoln Paper and Tissue (LPT), LLC, of Lincoln, Maine, who have been displaced as a result of a sudden and significant drop in demand for the mill’s products due to competition with foreign countries. Specifically, we urge your careful consideration of LPT’s petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance (Petition #83295).

LPT has been notified that its largest customer is moving its production needs to Indonesia and will no longer purchase tissue paper from them. This customer purchased 50 percent of the operating capacity of the company’s largest tissue machine.

As a major employer in this region of Maine, the loss of 200 well-paying jobs strikes a devastating blow to Lincoln and the surrounding communities. In addition, given the mill’s rural location and the significant loss of jobs throughout Maine’s pulp and paper industry in recent years, the likelihood of displaced workers finding comparable positions is remote. We believe many of these workers may require retraining for other, emerging occupations. It is crucial that these workers receive certification under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

We urge that you review this petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance in a timely manner, consistent with all applicable laws and regulations, to ensure that the workers receive the assistance they need to secure work and mitigate the negative effects this action will have on these workers’ financial stability.

Thank you for your time and consideration on behalf of the workers at Lincoln Paper and Tissue, LLC, in Lincoln, Maine.



Sincerely,



Susan M. Collins Angus S. King, Jr.

United States Senator United States Senator


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