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Pascrell Introduces Bill to Aid to Fired Factory Workers

Inspired by Nabisco closures, legislation will offer easier access to benefits after jobs are impacted by trade

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, today announced the introduction of the Improved Access to Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, legislation that will make it easier for fired workers to obtain federal assistance after their jobs are relocated. The legislation comes weeks after Mondelez closed its cookie factory in North Jersey, terminating approximately 600 jobs. Language from the legislation is included in the Trade Adjustment Assistance proposal for the Biden Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill being considered by the Ways and Means Committee later this week.

“The continued relocation of good jobs to Mexico and overseas by many in big business has rendered incalculable damage to the American worker,” said Rep. Pascrell, the former ranking member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. “Fired workers face terrible burdens to being made whole. We cannot allow workers to suffer due to a technical failure that prevents them from easily accessing TAA benefits. My bill will close this cruel loophole to make it easier for workers to access this important retraining program. I will continue to demand answers from corporations eliminating good paying union jobs here in the United States while creating low-wage jobs abroad to benefit their bottom line. I will push hard to see this bill enacted into law this year.”

Under existing federal law, workers affected by the closure of the Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Nabisco bakery were denied access to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Despite the announced bakery closure, the U.S. Department of Labor claimed there was not enough data to determine if there was a decline in sales or production during their investigation. Rep. Pascrell’s new bill will address this loophole to make it easier for fired workers to access TAA by adding to “a scheduled or imminently anticipated, long-term decrease in or reallocation of the production capacity of the firm” to the program’s eligibility requirements.

Pascrell has been a critic of Mondelez’s closure this year of the Fair Lawn, Nabisco plant, and further closures by Mondelez and other corporations. On April 27, 2021, Pascrell led several colleagues demanding answers from Mondelez on its continued relocation of jobs to Mexico.

Rep. Pascrell is one of Congress’s staunchest defenders of labor unions and workers’ rights to organize. Throughout the recent NAFTA renegotiations, Pascrell used his leadership position on the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee to fight for workers’ rights and for the preservation of domestic jobs. Pascrell has also been a fierce opponent of Mexico’s notorious anti-union laws and has fought to ensure American labor is not undermined by international crackdowns on labor.

Text of Rep. Pascrell’s new legislation is available here.

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