Aguilar Announces Federal Aid for Colton Ashley Furniture Workers
Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar announced that the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has granted Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to workers who were laid off as a result of the Colton Ashley Furniture facility closure. Trade Adjustment Assistance is a federal program that offers employment services through training, counseling, income support and more for American workers who have been adversely affected by foreign competition. Rep. Pete Aguilar advocated for support for these workers, and earlier this month sent a letter of support to U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez for a TAA petition filed by the State of California Economic Development Department (EDD) on behalf of the displaced workers.
“Our region is still fighting its way back from the Great Recession, which has made these job losses particularly painful for Inland Empire residents. Over 800 workers – and their families – were affected when the Colton Ashley Furniture facility closed, so to be able to tell these folks that help is on the way is crucial,” said Rep. Aguilar. He added, “This is an important first step and I look forward to working with our leaders at every level to make sure San Bernardino County workers have the resources they need to get back on their feet.”
The Department of Labor concluded that a significant number of employees were partially or completely terminated from Ashley Furniture, and that jobs were indeed shipped overseas, as indicated in the EDD’s petition that was filed on September 8th. Ashley Furniture workers in Colton who were laid off on or after September 7, 2015 will be eligible to apply for TAA benefits. Workers will be eligible for training that can include apprenticeship programs, on-the-job training, GED preparation, post-secondary education, English as a Second Language, literacy and math, among other things. They will also be eligible for unemployment benefits and Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) while participating in training, employment and case management services, and more. Additional benefits information can be found here.
Eligible Ashley Furniture workers can apply for TAA benefits at an American Job Center (AJC). You can find nearby AJCs by visiting https://www.careeronestop.org/ReEmployment/ or by calling 1-877-USA-JOBS (1-877-872-5627).
Rep. Aguilar has been a relentless advocate for employees affected by the Ashley Furniture closure, following up as recently as last week with the Department of Labor with regard to the EDD’s TAA petition. His office has been working with the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board and the City of Colton to support displaced workers with jobs fairs and additional employment information. Additionally, Rep. Aguilar voted in favor of the Trade Adjustment Assistance and Reauthorization Act of 2015 that extended these benefits, which passed the House in a larger trade package and was signed into law on June 29, 2015.
Rep. Aguilar’s letter of support can be read here, and the Department of Labor’s official announcement can be found here.