September 02, 2016

Federal Support for HC&S Employees Now Assured

Federal Job Training, Placement & Income Assistance Extended to Those Who Lose Their Jobs After November 16

Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company employees displaced by the cessation of sugar production will continue to receive federal assistance through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Trade Adjustment Assistance was originally granted in March. That assistance is available to workers who are separated before November 16. Today’s expanded ruling, which came as a result of petition filed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, will cover the 350 workers who lose their jobs after November 16.

“Today’s announcement once again demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to HC&S employees and the Maui community,” said Senator Hirono. “As HC&S completes its final harvest before the end of the year, I will continue to fight for the displaced workers, including the remaining 350 HC&S employees who will lose their jobs on December 30, and their families so they have access to all available federal assistance.”

"The ILWU is pleased that the USDOL has certified our second petition for TAA to benefit the last group of workers, more than half the workforce, being laid off at HC&S," said Donna Domingo, President of the ILWU Local 142.  "TAA eligibility offers opportunity and hope for training and other resources to help laid-off workers in this next phase of their lives."

"We appreciate the tireless efforts of the ILWU and Senator Hirono to secure valuable financial support from the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which can now be accessed by all affected HC&S employees," said Chris Benjamin, president and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin. "Programs like this are critical to our employees as they transition into new opportunities."

Senator Hirono wrote to Secretary Perez to emphasize the impact that the cessation of sugar production will have on Maui County. The closing of sugar production will mean the eventual laying off of all 675 workers on Maui by the end of the year.

TAA includes training, job search assistance, and other resources for workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade. Each application for TAA must be approved by the Secretary of Labor before workers can access this program. Click here to learn more about the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program.