The U.S. Department of Labor has ruled that all 236 employees who lost jobs when the Birds Eye canning operation in Tacoma closed last month are eligible for the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Program.
 
Through Washington’s WorkSource centers, TAA helps retrain and re-employ workers whose positions were eliminated because of international trade.  The federally funded program also assists with job searches and relocation.
In its ruling, the Department of Labor found that a rise in imports led to a decline in production and sales of Birds Eye’s specialty canned chili, soups and stews.  The resulting layoffs affected many workers over age 50, another important factor in triggering the Trade Act.
 
Under the certification, the state Employment Security Department and the WorkSource career-development system will meet with workers on July 28 at the Tacoma Teamsters’ Hall to provide information about the benefits and services available to them.
 
The ruling covers both regular employees and those employed through temporary agencies such as New Era Staffing and Kelly Services.