Former Hostess workers eligible for federal aid

Strikers stay close to fires in barrels for warmth Friday morning Nov. 16, 2012, outside the Hostess Bakery in Biddeford.
Strikers stay close to fires in barrels for warmth Friday morning Nov. 16, 2012, outside the Hostess Bakery in Biddeford.
Posted Feb. 20, 2013, at 7:06 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday announced that approximately 18,000 Hostess workers in 48 states, including those in Maine, are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance.

Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, in January 2012 filed for bankruptcy and in November said it would shut down for good. Hostess employed nearly 400 people at its plant in Biddeford.

The federal assistance consists of employment training and income support, and is reserved for those workers who lost their job as a result of foreign trade.

“Trade Adjustment Assistance enables workers to pursue training in the skills that today’s employers need, contributing not just to a stronger middle class, but to a stronger American economy,” said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris.

Based on a labor department investigation, it was determined that increased imports of baked products contributed importantly to Hostess’ sales declines and layoffs, according to a media release from the labor department.

Workers eligible for this assistance will be contacted by their respective state workforce agencies with instructions on how to apply for individual benefits and services. Those who qualify may receive case management and re-employment services, training in new occupational skills and trade readjustment allowances that provide income support for workers enrolled in training. Workers may also receive job search and relocation allowances, and the Health Coverage Tax Credit.

For more information on TAA and the range of the Department of Labor’s employment and training services, visit http://www.doleta.gov.

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