May 14, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Plainview, Texas — The US Department of Labor has approved a petition filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) on behalf of the approximately 2000 workers formerly employed at the shuttered Plainview Texas, Cargill meatpacking plant. The approval of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition makes those former plant workers eligible to apply for extended unemployment, job retraining and other federal programs under the Trade Act of 1974 that are designed to mitigate the adverse economic impacts of trade agreements.
“The application deadlines for the various programs are approaching quickly – the first deadline is May 30th. It is imperative that laid-off workers check their mail for a notice from the Texas Workforce Commission, and then immediately contact their local Workforce Solutions offices and apply for the benefits they may be eligible for,” said Johnny Rodriguez, President of UFCW Local 540.
The UFCW’s TAA petition sought assistance of extended unemployment insurance, job retraining, and other benefits for workers who were laid off when the plant closed. TAA provides such assistance to mitigate the negative impacts on workers, farmers, businesses and communities due to increased imports under trade agreements.
“Given that Congress has failed to extend unemployment benefits, the Department of Labor’s approval of this Trade Adjustment Assistance petition provides some much needed good news for those employees laid off by Cargill’s shutdown of the Plainview plant,” Rodriguez said. “It will provide crucial resources to those workers to help them re-enter the workforce as quickly as possible, which in turn will help the overall economy.”