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Unions' Petition Secures TAA Benefits at Philip Morris

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Former employees at Concord, NC plant to get assistance

Shortly after last year's stimulus package included a little-publicized provision that liberalized the eligibility requirements for Trade Adjustment Act (TAA) benefits, IAMAW Local Lodge 108 and BCTGM Local 229T, the two unions representing employees at the Philip Morris facility in Concord, filed a joint petition seeking TAA benefits for employees at the plant.

On April 15, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor granted the petition. An earlier petition on behalf of employees at the plant had been denied by the DOL. As a result of this decision, laid off employees may now be entitled, depending on the individual circumstances of each, to a number of different benefits, including training of several types, job search assistance, relocation allowances, extended unemployment benefits, and health care tax credits.

The petition was filed by Local President Eric Wiggins and Greg Dayton on behalf of IAMAW Local Lodge 108, and by Local President Amos “Mac” McClorey and William Morris on behalf of BCTWU Local 229T. Attorney Mike Okun and his colleague Narendra Ghosh assisted both locals with the filing of the joint petition.

U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell (D-8th) told the Charlotte Business Journal:

“The TAA petition certification will help lessen the negative impacts of the Philip Morris closure on its employees,” Kissell (D-N.C.) says in a statement. “While it will never completely replace what has been lost, it will help these employees with education, retraining or assistance in finding new jobs.”

The Philip Morris plant in Concord, NC employed over 2,500 people - most of them union members - before closing last year, and it was the single largest source of tax revenue for the town of Concord.