HOULTON, Maine — Employees at a local trucking company that closed in February as a result of the downturn in the pulp and paper industry are now eligible for federal assistance to tap into re-employment services.
U.S. 2nd District Rep. Mike Michaud announced Tuesday that former workers at Little Rock Express Inc. are now eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance. The trucking company supplied freight trucking services to Fraser Paper (now known as Twin Rivers Paper Co.), which is “a TAA-certified firm due to increased imports of paper,” according to a press release from Michaud.
“These benefits will provide workers with important skill assessments, training and job search assistance,” Michaud said in the release. “The granting of assistance is positive news for these workers, but it illustrates the ripple effects of our nation’s trade policies. It’s long past time that we promote trade deals that benefit domestic workers and businesses.”
Trade Adjustment Assistance is a U.S. Department of Labor program that helps workers who have lost their jobs as a result of increased imports or a shift of production outside of the U.S. The assistance provides trade-affected workers with a variety of re-employment services and benefits to help them find new jobs and get back to work.
A number of Aroostook County workers have become eligible for TAA in the past few months. In March, 12 employees at Little River Transport in St. David also became eligible after it was determined that the loss of business at the company was directly linked to the downturn in the domestic paper industry due to increased foreign imports that had flooded the U.S. market.
Last month, former workers at J.J. Bouchard Inc. also became eligible after the Labor Department concluded that about 20 workers lost their jobs at the Van Buren company as a result of other trade-related losses in the pulp and paper industry. The company hauled loads for the pulp and paper industry.