The US Department of Labor has approved a petition filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union (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 Texas Workforce Commission has sent out notices to all the laid-off workers this week informing them of the various programs available, and how to apply for them.
“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.
Workers who were laid off from the Cargill Plainview plant last year, but have not yet received a notice should contact a hotline set up by the union to help workers in determining whether they are eligible for the benefits. That number is: 1-800-282-0714.
South Plains Workforce Solutions will hold a Trade Adjustment Assistance Orientation for former Plainview Cargill Meat Solutions workers to explain how to apply for the various TAA programs they may be eligible for. The meeting will be held on Thursday, May 15th, at the Ollie Liner Center, 2000 South Columbia, in Plainview. The meeting will offer six one-hour workshops, with the first one starting at 9:00 AM, and the last one starting at 3:00pm. Spanish interpreters will be available at three of the six sessions.
UFCW Local 540 will hold another informational meeting about how workers can apply for the TAA benefits at 2:00pm on Thursday, May 22nd, at the Plainview Country Club, 2902 West 4th Street, Plainview, Texas.
The UFCW’s TAA petition sought assistance in the form 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.”