Alexander, Frist, Jenkins Praise Labor Decision To Extend Adjustment Assistance To Sneedville Workers

Posted on June 9, 2004

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman Bill Jenkins (R-TN) today praised the Department of Labor's decision to extend trade adjustment assistance to workers of Morrill Motors, Inc., located in Sneedville, TN. Morrill Motors, Inc. was Hancock County's largest manufacturer and the only employer offering health insurance prior to closing operations on February 6, 2004. "This is tremendous news for Hancock County. This assistance will provide much-needed income support and job training to help ease some of the financial burden families are facing," said Frist. "This assistance is a welcome and necessary step. It will ensure that the continued workforce and economic development needs of Sneedville and Hancock County are being met." "Senator Frist and I appreciate the Department of Labor for recognizing Hancock County's need for this crucial aid," said Alexander. "We encourage those residents who qualify to make the most of this federal assistance." "I am pleased the Department or Labor has reconsidered and approved this assistance for Morrill Motors," Congressman Jenkins noted. "We have been working on this issue from both sides of the Capitol as it was clear that the conditions fit the criteria for the qualification of this assistance." Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) aids individuals who have become unemployed as a result of increased imports from, or shifts in production to, foreign countries. The goal of the program is to help trade-affected workers find employment as quickly as possible. Some of the options available under TAA include income support, relocation allowances, job search allowances, and a health coverage tax credit. TAA participants that require retraining in order to obtain suitable employment may receive occupational training through community colleges and technology centers. In addition, the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) program for older workers provides an alternative to the benefits offered under the regular TAA program. Participation in ATAA allows older workers, for whom retraining may not be suitable, to accept reemployment at a lower wage and receive a wage subsidy. In the announcement, the Department of Labor certified that all workers of Morrill Motors Inc. (also known as Morrill Electric, Inc.) who became totally or partially separated from employment on or after April 16, 2003 are eligible to apply for the TAA and ATAA programs for two years from the June 1, 2004 certification date.