Feds Deny Assistance for Laid Off Maine Workers

Sep 26, 2014

OLD TOWN, Maine - The 200 workers who lost jobs when Old Town Fuel and Fiber shut down last month have been denied federal help. The Trade Adjustment Assistance program is designed to help workers whose jobs were lost due to increased foreign competition.

Maine Department of Labor spokesperson Julie Rabinowitz says as more data was reviewed, it was determined the job losses in Old Town weren't caused by foreign competition. However, Rabinowitz says there are other alternatives for training and job search assistance.

"If they have a qualifying disability they may be eligible for some vocational rehabilitation assistance and job training," she says. "If they are a veteran they may qualify for different veterans' benefits, or training programs or health care benefits."

The Maine congressional delegation argued unsuccessfully for the federal assistance. Not long after the job losses were announced, a Maine Department of Labor rapid response team went in to assess the needs of the displaced workers.