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Peters, Stabenow, Gillibrand, Cortez Masto Announce Bill to Help Workers Who Lose Their Jobs to Automation

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) today announced they introduced The TAA for Automation Act. Their legislation would support workers who lose their jobs due to automation through expanded access to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits, such as job training and reemployment services. Although the current TAA program provides important support to workers who lose their jobs due to trade, workers displaced due to technological changes and automation do not currently have any access to this necessary assistance. According to a Brookings Institute report released earlier this year, approximately 25% percent of all American jobs will experience high levels of risk to automation in the coming decades.

“As companies continue to integrate new technologies into their daily operations, we must ensure that these advancements help support and expand our workforce,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “This legislation would help strengthen our economy by supporting workers displaced through no fault of their own and assisting them with developing the skillsets our businesses need to fill good-paying jobs across Michigan.”

“Michigan’s workforce is the best in the world. Because our state is so highly effected by trade, our workers need to know that training and resources are available for them when their jobs are displaced,” said Senator Stabenow. “I’m focused on making sure workers have good paying jobs, which includes providing them the opportunities and training they need for the jobs of the future.”

“In the 21st century economy, automation threatens the jobs of New Yorkers and people across the country. Congress must do more to make sure that workers who lose their jobs due to automation land on their feet,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m proud to introduce the TAA for Automation Act, which would update the TAA program to protect workers who lost their jobs because of automation. Automation is increasing, and we have to be ready to respond when it threatens our workers and their livelihoods. I will do everything I can in the Senate to pass this bill into law, and I urge my colleagues to join me.”

“Automation has the power to transform our economy, and it’s already having an impact on industries like manufacturing, food service and transportation. Innovation like this is exciting, but we need to make sure that our nation’s workers aren’t left behind as technology advances,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’m proud to cosponsor the TAA for Automation Act to ensure workers in Nevada and across the country have the resources they need to stay competitive as automation plays a larger role in our economy.”

"Automation is already disrupting work in America, and even bigger changes are on the horizon. Creating a robust federal program to help retrain and redeploy workers displaced by technology is an important step to take the future into our own hands. The TAA for Automation Act builds off what already works, expanding and improving it for the modern challenges workers face,” said Andrew Stettner, Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation and author of the recent report, How to Respond to Job Losses from Technology, Trade, and Policy Choices.

The legislation would also establish a workforce advisory board to provide recommendations to Department of Labor, Congress, and the public on addressing the impact of automation on the workforce, including matters related to jobs and occupations at-risk of elimination. The bill has also been endorsed by the UAW and the AFL-CIO.