Workers to get funds for retraining

Staff report


RG Steel workers will receive additional funds from the U.S. Department of Labor to receive retraining for new careers.

A National Emergency Grant for $41,347 has been awarded to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to continue to provide reemployment services to workers affected by layoffs at six RG Steel/Severstal facilities including four in Ohio and two in West Virginia, as well as at Kinder Morgan, a Severstal supplier, located in Pennsylvania.

“RG Steel’s bankruptcy filing and subsequent layoffs have left hundreds of Ohioans without a paycheck or a clear future,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. “We should do all we can to get these workers back on their feet. These funds from the Department of Labor will help ensure that additional displaced workers from RG Steel can get the retraining and job-search assistance needed to get back on their feet.”

By early June RG Steel had laid off 263 of its 1,135 workers.

The layoffs allow the company to complete current orders before it goes idle, which could occur as early as Monday, the company said.

The company is calling the shutdown long-term but not permanent.

Last week, Brown joined senators from West Virginia and Maryland to send letters to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman asking them to ensure that eligible RG Steel employees and retirees receive benefits to help them transition to new jobs, if needed, and also purchase affordable health coverage.

RG Steel filed for bankruptcy May 31 and the bankruptcy could have serious consequences for the company’s 4,000 employees’ and families, as well as retirees’ health care and pension benefits, according to Brown.

The senators have been working to make sure that eligible employees and retirees receive vital support, including Trade Adjustment Assistance and Health Care Tax Credit benefits, to help keep them and their families on their feet.

The TAA program ensures that workers who lose their jobs and financial security as a result of outsourcing to foreign countries have an opportunity to transition to new jobs and emerging sectors of the economy.

The HCTC promotes private health insurance access for recipients, and makes health insurance coverage more affordable to workers who lose their jobs due to trade and offshoring.

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