Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers laid off from Freeport-McMoRan’s Tyrone copper mine. More than 200 employees lost their jobs when the mine reduced production last year, severely impacting the local economy. Trade Adjustment Assistance will help former employees transition to new jobs by providing career training, employment services and other support.
Udall and Heinrich supported the workers’ TAA application in a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez last fall. TAA is available to workers who lose their jobs because of increased imports or because their jobs have been shipped overseas, and the senators noted that Freeport-McMoRan has continued to operate successful mines in South America and Africa.
“Trade Adjustment Assistance will help workers in Grant County get back on their feet, and I’m glad we’ve secured this much-needed support,” Udall said. “Layoffs in a small community like Tyrone have an enormous impact on families’ well-being and the local economy — the ripple effects can be felt on small businesses across the region. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to fight for programs that help miners and other workers train for new careers and make ends meet along the way.”
“This announcement is welcome news for families in Grant County who are going through challenging times,” Heinrich said. “Trade Adjustment Assistance will help support hardworking New Mexicans affected by the stagnant price of copper. TAA will assist these workers with retraining and employment resources needed to reenter the workforce. I am pleased we were able to secure this support and will continue fighting to ensure workers have the tools they need to succeed in our economy.”
TAA benefits are funded by Congress and administered through the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. Now that Freeport-McMoRan’s Tyrone mine has been approved for assistance, covered workers are able to apply for benefits including employment services, weekly income support payments, wage insurance and health coverage tax credits.