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supported entirely by private contributions. Some of these are corporate contributions. Others are from organizations and still others from private individuals as citizens and consumers. The sole standard of the council and of its staff is to address ourselves to what we think is the public interest. We do not speak for any particular special interest, any particular private interest. We do not speak for any of our contributors. They obviously have a stake in the success of our kind of effort to achieve a more open international economic system, but we do not speak for any of our financial contributors. Mr. FRENzEL. Thank you. Mr. FISHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Steinberg. We appreciate your taking the time to testify here. With that, this session is ended, and I am told we will be hearing from the administration later on with respect to the trade adjustment assistance program. [Whereupon, at 12:41 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]
[Material submitted for the record follows:]
STATEMENT of JAMEs C. CLEvelAND, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CoNGREss FRoM THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee on Trade, under the Trade Adjustment Act of 1962, workers who lost their jobs in an industry adversely affected by United States tariff policies received allowances from federal government funds. This approach was based on the theory that the unemployment of these workers was a result of United States trade policy. The Trade Act of 1974 shifted the cost of unemployment adjustment allowances from the United States government to state unemployment trust funds. This shift marked a departure from the theory that taxes for unemployment compensation are collected because the entity causing the unemployment should pay the cost thereof. The new system of funding benefits to workers under the 1974 amendments has resulted in a severe hardship on many states. In New Hampshire alone, it is estimated that $3 million—or about 10% of estimated New Hampshire unemployment compensation benefits to be paid in 1977—will be paid this year to workers receiving trade adjustment assistance. This severe burden placed on many state unemployment funds only compounds the problems states are having in attempting to keep their trust funds solvent. Taxpayers of states that are adversely affected by United States trade policy should not be called upon to finance the benefits necessitated by trade policies. It is bad enough that such states must suffer increased unemployment and business decline as a result of our trade policies without also placing on adversely affected states the onerous burden of paying benefits which should properly be charges of the United States. I have introduced a bill, H.R. 5615, which would remove this hardship placed on the states in 1974 by returning to federal reimbursement of adjustment assistance benefits. I respectfully urge that the Subcommittee include the provisions of H.R. 5615 in legislation drawn up as a result of these hearings. I believe that the federal reimbursement approach embodied in H.R. 5615 represents an equitable and fiscally sound alternative to the current hardship endurred by the states as a result of the 1974 law.
STATEMENT OF HON, WILLIAM. H. HARSHA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I very much appreciate having this opportunity of testifying in behalf of my bill, H.R. 1593, to amend the Trade Reform Act of 1974.
As you know, Title II of the Trade Reform Act provides for trade adjustment assistance for firms and workers in those firms adversely affected because of increased imports. Under this program, workers who are unemployed as a result of imports can be certified as eligible for trade adjustment assistance in the form of cash benefits and access to training, relocation, and job search allowances. The cash benefits are in an amount equal to 70 per cent of each worker's average weekly earnings prior to the time he lost his job for a period of up to 52 weeks. The duration of this eligibiilty period can be extended for an additional 26 weeks for workers being re-trained or workers who were sixty years of age on or before the time of their job loss. H.R. 1593 would make no major change in the Trade Reform Act or in the trade adjustment assistance program. It would simply extend the period of eligibility for benefits under this program by 26 weeks for each of these three categories of unemployed workers. Effective adjustment assistance is an essential part of our international trade policy. I am sure we all agree that every effort should be made to insure that the social and economic costs of adjustment to import competition which results from a liberalized trade policy deemed advantageous to our Nation should not fall disproportionately on a few. It is only equitable, therefore, that aid should be provided to those who are unemployed through no fault of their own but simply because they were employed by a firm in an industry particularly vulnerable to competition from foreign ports. Since the establishment of the trade adjustment assistance program, a number of industries have been declared eligible to receive trade adjustment assistance. Among these, the footwear industry has most directly affected the economy and employment situation in my Congressional District. It is particularly unfortunate that the industries most vulnerable to foreign competition are those which are labor intensive and provide jobs for many semi-skilled workers who find it extremely difficult to find new employment. Many of our shoe plants are in small rural communities or towns and are often the largest or among the largest employers in the area. When they go out of business or lay off workers, this creates an immediate and serious economic and employment problem for the entire community. In these instances there are few available jobs for the unemployed to seek in the vicinity, and most workers are reluctant to leave their homes to move to other areas which might have more encouraging employment prospects. One good example of this situation is my home town. A major employer— a shoe factory—was forced to close down more than a year ago as a result of increased shoe imports, and its workers were certified to receive trade adjustment assistance. Prior to the closing of this plant, the unemployment situation in this area was already unacceptably high. The latest figures I have—for the month of January—show that the unemployment percentage for the county is still 17.5 per cent. Adjoining counties have unemployment rates of 11.7 and 20.7 per cent. I cite these figures to illustrate the fact that there are few, if any, available jobs for our unemployed shoe workers in their home town or nearby communities. For these workers, the expiration of their trade adjustment assistance benefits poses a very serious problem. I am sure the situation is similar in many other communities throughout our Nation. It is my understanding that since 1968 more than 300 shoe plants have closed with the loss of over 70,000 jobs and $500 million in annual payrolls. A great many of these plants, as I have mentioned, were in small communities and the impact of the job loss upon thousands of families and many small businesses has been devastating. In Ohio alone, eight plants have been closed, and employment has been reduced by 18.7 per cent in this time period. Inasmuch as imports are entering our Country at a rapidly increasing rate, the situation is worsening. In 1968 shoe imports accounted for approximately 20 per cent of domestic sales. Today it is estimated that imports have captured nearly 50 per cent of the U.S. market. We face a possible demise of this vital industry unless action is taken to protect the industry from unfair competition resulting from low-paid foreign labor. This would, of course, greatly increase the financial problems of many American workers and small businesses and adversely affect the economic wellbeing of many small towns. While my bill would not cerrect or lessen the problems facing the footwear industry and other industries suffering from foreign competition, it will materially assist those workers who are unfairly suffering because of our trade policies. It is only a matter of simple justice, in my judgment, to extend for a reasonable period of time the benefits provided by our trade adjustment assistance program to lessen the hardship many of our people are suffering. I wish to thank you for affording me this opportunity of sharing my views with you and to strongly urge that this legislation be approved without delay.
STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD H. ICHORD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CongBEss FROM THE STATE of Missouri
Mr. Chairman, it is a great pleasure to offer my statement in favor of H.R. 4460 and H.R. 5363, legislation I have cosponsored to amend the worker adjustment assistance provisions of the Trade Act of 1974. Certainly, the value of the adjustment assistance to workers who have lost their jobs due to imports does not need defending. The passage of the Trade Act in 1974 recognized the great need for such assistance, and the present crisis facing the American shoe industry, which has already separated 70,000 workers from their jobs, provides all the emphasis and illustration we need. What we need to emphasize at this time, however, is the necessity of extending the present one-year limit for filing for such assistance. While statistics showing that thousands of workers who are otherwise eligible have been denied benefits due to the difficulties of meeting the one-year limit, the numbers can be translated into human terms so convincing that I am amazed that there is any hesitation at all. Of the many letters I have received regarding foreign imports— and since Missouri is second in the nation in shoe manufacturing, there have been many—not one has asked for assistance. Each says, “Give me my job back. Don't force me to resort to welfare.” If our trade policies prevent our “giving” these workers their original job, it is mandatory that we take any steps necessary to see that comparable, if not better, skills are learned and jobs found. This takes time, and it takes its toll in economic terms and, unfortunately, often in terms of personal dignity. It is also unfortunate that many of these displaced workers are lesser-skilled workers living in rural areas, are less mobile, and are less aware of job opportunities elsewhere and opportunities and procedures for obtaining adjustment assistance. This is the case in Missouri. And even those of us in Washington, with every convenience imaginable for tracking down information and wrestling with bureaucracy at our fingertips, can well understand the difficulties involved. While the Trade Act of 1974 provided for sorely needed adjustment assistance, it simply did not provide enough time for these workers to gain knowledge of such an opportunity and for the trade and layoff data to accumulate. If we are to make conscious decisions in trade policy which will threaten our domestic industries, it is nothing short of our national responsibility to compensate vulnerable workers for their losses. This was the intention of the adjustment assistance provision of the Trade Act of 1974. It is now our responsibility to see that these intentions are fully carried out, that such assistance is, in fact, available. This is not new legislation we contemplate here today in H.R. 4460 and H.R. 5363—it is simply an affirmation of the old.
STATEMENT OF HoN. PHILIP E. RUPPE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CoNGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased at the opportunity to appear this morning and present my views on the Trade Adjustment Program. In recent months TRA has played an important role in the economy of Northern Michigan and I want to share our experience concerning the program with Members of the Subcommittee.
During the past two years the Copper Range Company has experienced severe economic problems brought on, for the most part, by a declining price of copper on the world market. In January, 1976, responding to this continuing situation, the company laid off more than 1,500 of its employees.
Copper Range is the largest employer in the western Upper Peninsula. At its peak, 2,900 workers were employed at the mine in White Pine, Michigan.
Today, 15 months later, almost 1,000 people remain unemployed as a result of the original layoff. The resulting economic impact upon the western Upper Peninsula has been devastating. In this kind of setting, Trade Adjustment Act benefits for workers have been invaluable in terms of meeting these individuals basic needs. In addition, the program has provided a measure of stability for family and community life in the western Upper Peninsula during an extremely difficult time. As I understand it, the program now runs for 52 consecutive weeks. A worker is eligible for an additional 26 weeks of benefits if he is enrolled in a certified program to provide new job training and skills. Mr. Chairman, I would like to indicate my support this morning for H.R. 1593 to extend the basic benefit program to 78 weeks. In my view, this extension will provide further assurance to the people of the White Pine area that their needs will be met until the economic situation at the mine can stabilize. In addition, I have identified various aspects of the TRA program which I believe need clarification, change, or careful review. These are important issues and need to be brought to the attention of the Subcommittee. For example, I believe the present method for certifying and payment of relocation benefits is inadequate and unfair. If a worker applies for relocation benefits before he moves he is eligible. If he moves and then applies for relocation assistance he is out of luck. In my view, the point at which certification is made should not be an issue. If a worker has taken the initiative to find new employment, and moves his family in order to begin his new job then he should receive relocation aid regardless of whether he requests it immediately before or after the move. During the months that I have been involved with the TRA program both my staff and I have observed a serious lack of adequate information regarding the program. Members of my staff have spent countless hours digging up information and answering constituent inquiries regarding basic questions about the program. I have found, to my amazement, that only one decent booklet exists describing the TRA program in a limited manner. Its impact is not great, however, because it is not distributed among workers certified as eligible for the program. In my view, the Department of Labor and the contracted state agency can do a better job of getting out the facts on the TRA program. I would certainly encourage the Subcommittee to exercise its oversight function with regard to this issue. It is also apparent to me that the Department of Labor has not always maintained close liaison with the contracting state agency in administering the program. For example, I found in the White Pine case that the state agency administering the TRA program was holding applications until they could process 500–600 at one time. This resulted in totally unnecessary delay in payment of benefits to workers and I insisted that applications be handled on a case by case basis. A similar situation has developed in recent weeks with regard to vocational counseling and job training. Workers have been denied the opportunity for job training now because the state agency involved has been unwilling to commit the resources to insure placement of workers in certified job training programs. Again, I have insisted that this be remedied and that workers receiving TRA be informed regarding the possibilities for new job training at the earliest date. In my view, this is an important cornerstone of the TRA program and the Department of Labor needs to be more vigilant in terms of monitoring the program and more careful in determining contractual arrangements with the state agency selected to administer the program. Mr. Chairman, I support extension to the TRA benefit program for workers. It has been absolutely essential to the effort to maintain economic stability in !. Joern Upper Peninsula during a very unstable period in the copper Industry. At the same time, I believe the suggestions I have made will improve the program and make it more responsive to the needs of the workers involved. I know the people of the western Upper Peninsula share my concern regarding these matters and I appreciate the Subcommittee's interest in the TRA program. If you have questions I would be pleased to try to answer them. I thank you again for the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee this morning.
STATEMENT of THE AMALGAMATED CLOTHING AND TEXTILE WORKERS UNION, AFL–CIO, MURRAY FINLEY, PRESIDENT, JACOB SHEINKMAN, SECRETARYTREASURER, SUBMITTED BY ART GUNDERSHEIM, DIRECTOR, OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AFFAIRS
The membership of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union totals approximately 510,000 workers who produce, among other things, men's and boys' clothing such as suits, sport coats, trousers, raincoats, overcoats, shirts, gloves and various textile products.
On behalf of our workers, we appreciate this opportunity to endorse bills pending before the subcommittee which amend the one-year eligibility limitation under Section 223(b) and extend the benefit periods under Section 233 of the Trade Act of 1974 relating to adjustment assistance for workers. These bills include H.R. 1593, H.R. 2482, H.R. 2523, H.R. 3666, H.R. 4460 and H.R. 4581.
We have never considered in the past—nor do we now feel—that adjustment assistance is a remedy for the injury inflicted on domestic industry and their workers as a result of imports. It is at best only a temporary palliative, not a cure. Nonetheless, we are in support of any improvements that can be made in the adjustment assistance programs to make them more flexible and of more help to workers who suffer the loss of their jobs as a result of the impact of burgeoning imports in their industry. We have hundreds of workers who have had adjustment assistance denied them due to the overly restrictive one-year limitation between separation of employment and date of petition for certification. Thus H.R. 2523 would be very helpful.
IMPAct of IMPORTs THREATENs survival of APPAREL INDUSTRY
Our workers are not opposed to trade, but we are concerned over the everincreasing damage done to domestic industries and their workers which arise from imports benefiting from low-wage foreign production or unfair trade practices. The textile and apparel industries have shown extreme vulnerability to such imports with the result that there were 150,000 fewer jobs in such industries last year than there were 10 years earlier. In 1976, total textile and apparel imports recorded their second highest level on record, one-third higher than imports in the preceeding year.
Some of the most serious inroads by imports have been experienced in the men's and boys' tailored clothing industry. Between 1968 and 1976 there was a loss of some 42,000 jobs in this industry, about one-third of the jobs which existed at the beginning of this period. Imports of men's and boys' tailored clothing items set new record levels in 1976. In the case of suits, imports rose from less than one-half a million in 1968 to 3.6 million in 1976. Domestic cuttings (production) of suits declined in this period from 25 million suits to 16 million suits. As a result, imports as a percent of domestic cuttings increased from about 2% in 1968 to over 22% in 1976. Similarly, in the case of men's and boys' sport coats, imports rose from 1.8 million in 1968 to 6.9 million in 1976, setting an all-time high last year. Imports as a percent of domestic cuttings rose from less than 10 percent in 1968 to 45 percent last year. For the information of the subcommittee, I am attaching a table which sets forth in detail the relentless gains made by imports of men's and boys' suits and sport coats.
Against this background of reduced production and reduced jobs as a consequence of higher import penetration in import sensitive industries such as our own, it is but natural that we should support any liberalization of worker benefits and eligibility provisions in the adjustment assistance program such as is contemplated in the legislation being considered by this subcommittee. But we must emphasize this does not mean our workers endorse adjustment assistance as an import relief vehicle. Since one purpose of these hearings is to review the operation and effectiveness of the Trade Adjustment Assistance programs for workers, firms and communities as provided under Title II of the Trade Act of 1974, we also want to make some appropriate comments in this
When adjustment assistance is offered as the alternative to import relief for workers, no one is honest enough to admit the ineffectiveness of the trade adjustment assistance program which Congress added to the Trade Act of 1974.