Skip to Content
Home | news | Press Releases

Press Releases

Stabenow, Peters, Tlaib, Lawrence, Dingell Call on Labor Department to Support Southeast Michigan Steelworkers

Washington, January 16, 2020

Department of Labor has blown past its deadline to provide U.S. steelworkers with Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) and Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today urged U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia to grant Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits to support steelworkers in Southeast Michigan. Trade Adjustment Assistance ensures that workers who lose their jobs and financial security due to trade have an opportunity to transition to new jobs through income support, job training, tax credits for health care, and other benefits.

The Department of Labor has blown past its deadline since last year to issue a determination on a petition to provide these benefits to steelworkers in Southeast Michigan. The petition responds to U.S. Steel’s announcements last year of more than 1,700 layoffs at their Great Lakes Works production facility in Ecorse, Michigan.

We write in strong support of the Trade Adjustment Assistance petition for workers at U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes Works operation in Southeast Michigan. This petition, which could impact over 1,700 workers at Great Lakes Works, has been under review since September 20, 2019,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The significance of this petition has only increased since U.S. Steel announced on December 19, 2019, that the company intends to idle indefinitely significant portions of the Great Lakes Works operations in Ecorse, Michigan, including its Ironmaking, Steelmaking, and Hot Strip Mill rolling facilities. The December announcement from U.S. Steel will impact thousands of workers and will cause economic harm to communities in southeast Michigan,” the lawmakers said.

The full text of the letter is below. A PDF of the letter is available here.

January 15, 2020

 

The Honorable Eugene Scalia

Secretary of Labor 

U.S. Department of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20210

 

Dear Secretary Scalia, 

We write in strong support of the Trade Adjustment Assistance petition (TAW-95201) for workers at U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes Works operation in Southeast Michigan. This petition, which could impact over 1,700 workers at Great Lakes Works, has been under review since September 20, 2019. We urge you to quickly conclude your investigation and issue a determination that will ensure all Steelworkers and trade-impacted workers at the Great Lakes Works facilities are provided with a robust set of benefits through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers program.

On September 20, 2019, the Michigan State Workforce Office filed a petition on behalf of workers at a U.S. Steel operation in Ecorse, Michigan. According to federal law, your agency is required to issue a determination on a TAA petition as soon as possible but no later than 40 days after it is received. The Department of Labor has blown past its deadline to issue a determination, and trade-impacted workers in Michigan are still waiting for assistance.

The significance of this petition has only increased since U.S. Steel announced on December 19, 2019, that the company intends to idle indefinitely significant portions of the Great Lakes Works operations in Ecorse, Michigan, including its Ironmaking, Steelmaking, and Hot Strip Mill rolling facilities. The December announcement from U.S. Steel will impact thousands of workers and will cause economic harm to communities in southeast Michigan.

The TAA for Workers program was designed to provide trade-impacted workers with the tools necessary to get back on their feet after employment loss. Although the TAA program is not a substitute for a comprehensive strategy to keep good-paying jobs in Michigan, it does offer trade-impacted workers and their families income support, job training, tax credits for health care, and other benefits as they transition to new employment.

Your Department has an obligation to provide workers at the Great Lakes Works facility with critical information on TAA benefits. We respectfully request that the Department take immediate action to certify this petition and provide workers with the support they need to plan for the future.                             

Sincerely,

Back to top