Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) was established in 1974 by the government to assist workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports or shifts in production to foreign countries. Workers, or other acting on their behalf, may petition the U.S. Department of Labor for a determination of eligibility. Within the Steelworkers, it is important that this process be coordinated through your local union leadership and USW staff representative. The USW point person for TAA at the International is Marsha Zakowski, who is reachable through the Civil Rights Department at 412-562-2492.
Workers who are certified for TAA may receive reemployment services, training in new occupational skills, a job search allowance when an employment search is outside a normal commuting area, a partial tax credit for health insurance costs, a relocation allowance if a new job is a certain distance away, and other benefits. It also provides for additional weeks of income in the form of a Trade Readjustment Allowance once unemployment is exhausted and certain conditions are met.
There is also a program called Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) that may come into play if a group of workers is certified for TAA. ATAA pertains to individuals from the TAA-certified group who are age 50 or older and have obtained a new job with wages less than $50,000 within 26 weeks of their separation. These individuals may receive a wage subsidy of 50 percent of the difference between the old and new wages, up to $10,000 over a period of up to two years.