Some laid-off Freightliner workers eligible for federal aid
By Paris Goodnight
Some workers laid off from Freightliner have been ruled eligible for assistance through the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Worker Adjustment Assistance and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance program was set up to help in cases of mass layoffs.
Freightliner laid off 1,180 workers April 1, 2007, effectively eliminating its third shift. The latest layoff, scheduled to start June 6, was last reported to affect employees with at least 10 years of experience at the plant and cost more than 1,500 jobs.
One Freightliner employee said Wednesday the planned layoff date for second-shift workers had been delayed by a week to June 13. That same worker noted that third-shift workers who lost their jobs missed the assistance deadline by less than three weeks.
Workers eligible for assistance are those laid off on or after April 22, 2007.
A Department of Labor spokesman noted the federal assistance will be available for anyone laid off within two years after the certification date, which was May 12. That’s the date when Linda G. Poole, certifying officer in the Department of Labor’s division of trade adjustment assistance, signed the agreement.
Rick Klinedinst, human resources manager for the Cleveland facility, recognized the efforts of three employees ó Brandon Sechler, Todd Smith and Adam Simmons ó in a letter sent out to employees noting the additional assistance approval.
The letter noted the reasons for the Department of Labor offering the assistance were:
– Sales and employment decreased from January through March of this year.
– Information showed an increased reliance on imports of heavy-duty trucks during that period.
– Many workers at Freightliner are 50 or older.
Assistance will depend on the individual applying and may include employment counseling, help with writing a resumé, relocation allowances, classroom training, income support, health coverage and other options.
Details from the decision are available at the Department of Labor’s Web site at www.doleta.gov/tradeact. The decision number is 63269.
Messages left for United Auto Workers officials weren’t immediately returned.