• RMF Pro Bono Case “Under Reconsideration” as a Result of New Trade Legislation
  • August 5, 2015 | Authors: Thomas Telesca; Gracie C. Wright
  • Law Firm: Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C. - Uniondale Office
  • On June 29, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2015 (“TAARA 2015”) into law as part of the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, which gave President Obama "fast track" power on the Pacific Rim trade deal. TAARA 2015 amended the Trade Adjustment Assistant Act of 1974. That Act implemented the Trade Adjustment Assistance (“TAA”) program, which is a federal program administered by the Department of Labor that provides a path for employment growth and opportunity through monetary aid to American workers who have lost their jobs as a direct result of foreign trade. The TAA program provides such workers with opportunities to hone the skills and techniques they need to become re-employed.

    TAARA 2015, sometimes referred to as the 2015 amendments, reauthorizes the TAA program for six more years while also re-expanding the group eligibility requirements and individual benefits and services available under the program. The 2015 amendments make service sector and public sector workers eligible for TAA benefits. Under the prior 2011 amendments, only manufacturing sector workers, fisherman, and farmers were eligible for TAA benefits. The 2015 amendments also include job search and relocation allowances.

    Moreover, the 2015 amendments authorize automatic reconsideration of petitions denied during the period in which the eligibility requirements were more stringent - those petitions filed between January 1, 2014 and June 29, 2015 under the 2011 amendments. Not only will the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (“OTAA”) reconsider these denials, but OTAA will also conduct a full investigation into each case under the new eligibility requirements.

    Over 400 denials will be reconsidered, one of which is a case we are handling pro bono on behalf of Former Employees of GE Industrial Solutions as members of the bar of the Court of International Trade - which has jurisdiction over claims arising from the customs and international trade laws of the United States.

    This is Mr. Telesca’s second pro bono case involving the TAA program. Mr. Telesca’s first case resulted in the reversal of the Department of Labor’s denial of TAA benefits and set a new standard of review for these cases. See Former Employees of Invista, S.A.R.L. v. U.S. Secretary of Labor, 714 F.Supp.2d 1320 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2010). Notably, the Court of International Trade awarded attorney’s fees to RMF under the Equal Access to Justice Act in Mr. Telesca’s first case.

    RMF is proud of its commitment to provide pro bono legal services in diverse areas of the law.