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Former employees of Fulton’s Birds Eye plant can apply for federal aid

FULTON — Almost 300 workers who lost their jobs when the Birds Eye plant in Fulton shuttered Dec. 16 will be able to apply for federal-government money for training, job search and income support, relocation allowances, and other assistance.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.) today announced that the U.S. Labor Department has approved the Workers United union’s application for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to help the affected workers.

A week before the vegetable-processing plant’s closure, Gillibrand wrote to U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis urging her to support the workers’ application.

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“When New York jobs get shipped away, our workers deserve every opportunity to keep making ends meet for their families, and get the retraining they need so they  have the right skills for the jobs of the new economy,” Gillibrand said in a news release.

TAA is a federal program that provides aid to employees who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are cut because of increased imports or outsourcing. The program funds training for employment in another job or career, income support, assistance for health-care costs, job-search allowance, and relocation costs.

Pinnacle Foods, which owns Birds Eye, cited competition from low-cost imported vegetables as among the reasons it needed to consolidate its operations.

With the approval of Workers United’s petition by the U.S. Department of Labor, affected Birds Eye workers can now file applications for the TAA benefits from the New York State Department of Labor, Gillibrand said.

Contact Rombel at arombel@cnybj.com

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