Federal benefits available for some Agrium workers

Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2005

The U.S. Department of Labor has certified approximately 60 workers of Peak Oilfield Service Co. at Agrium U.S. Inc., Kenai Nitrogen Operations in Kenai to apply for assistance and benefits under the Trade Reform Act of 2002 and the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance.

The certification covers the period from Oct. 27, 2004, to Dec. 6, 2007.

Workers laid off or reduced to part-time work during this time may be eligible for extra benefits and services.

The affected employees work in activities supporting the production of ammonia and urea.

The Labor Department found the company increased their reliance on imported ammonia and urea, causing layoffs of the workers contracted to Agrium U.S., Inc., which had been certified earlier for TAA benefits.

In addition, a significant number of the workers are age 50 or older and do not have skills that are easily transferable, qualifying them for the ATAA program.

ATAA provides wage subsidy payments that equal one-half the difference between new wages and old wages if a new full-time job is secured within six months of layoff.

After they are certified as eligible, workers may apply for benefits at a state employment service office.

They may receive a broad range of reemployment and retraining services, including career counseling, job placement assistance, job search and relocation allowances and income support during long-term training.

Under the program, a group of three or more employees who believe they are affected by imports can apply for a petition for assistance.

A union or company official, or an authorized community-based organization also can petition on behalf of a firm's workers.



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