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TAA, Outsourcing, and Labor Markets

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent expansion of the European Union, coupled with the rapid rise of East Asia and India, has brought more than a billion new workers into the globalized economy over the past twenty years.  The extent to which U.S. trade flows and trade policies impact on employment at home—through job creation, retention, wages, benefits, and skills needed—is one of the central policy debates of this decade.  NAFTA is cited both as a creator and destroyer of net jobs in the United States, and worries about economic insecurity are a major factor in the current election season.

It is clear that some domestic industries have been severely impacted by trade flows—and there is a federal program to assist workers displaced from these firms and industry sectors.  Called the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, this legislation was included as part of the 2002 Trade Act that secured ‘fast-track’ negotiating authority for the President.

On May 18, 2009, an expanded suite of Trade Adjustment Assistance programs took effect. Provisions in the stimulus bill expanded eligibility and increased funding to help workers and firms. Click here for the Forum on Democracy and Trade's statement.

This section reviews the current legislative model, tracks the debate in Congress, and notes state/local government engagement on TAA issues.  We will be updating regularly so check back often.

Displaced workers in the global economy
In the last few years, several states have passed legislation seeking to limit the amount of state-supported work that is ‘offshored’ to other countries. Municipalities are struggling to balance new-industry attraction and business retention with the guarantee of good-wage jobs.
The existing TAA program
The 2002 Trade Act brought about a number of changes to the 'Trade Adjustment Assistance' program designed to help workers dislocated by trade.
Public Leadership
The Trade Adjustment Assistance coalition works to implement the reforms passed in the 2002 Trade Act, and to assist workers and communities to take advantage of the health-care benefits and retraining assistance offered through this Department of Labor program.

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