By: Virginia Trade Navigator Team

This is the second blog in our Summer Session on Petition Filing.

In 2018, Virginia implemented a Trade Navigator model with six Navigators assigned to handle Workforce areas around the state.  Navigators work as a team of data diggers, layoff bloodhounds and researchers to identify Trade impacted firms, file petitions on behalf of the workers and facilitate receipt of TAA program benefits and delivery of reemployment services to Trade impacted workers. 

In order to file a complete Trade Petition either in production of an Article or as a provided Service, identify the business and worker group(s) impacted.  We utilize the following avenues for investigation:

-- WARN Notices                       -- Unemployment Insurance Filings

-- Partner Referrals                   -- News Articles/Broadcast

-- Rapid Response                    -- Word of Mouth

Throughout the Petition, information is required to identify the specific worker group and physical location of the affected workers.  For larger companies’ identification of exact department, location and duties is key.  Interview the workers to obtain specific information.  Some workers are hesitant to write anything but they will speak with you. We ask…

  • Is the Company doing business in other countries? 
  • Has the company recently been sold or merged with another company?
  • Does the company compete with products/services from other countries?
  • Have they or co-workers worked with workers outside the country?
  • What departments were reduced/eliminated?
  • Who contacted you regarding the layoff (who signed the layoff letter or sent the layoff email)?  Phone number? Email Address?

Interviews with workers are extremely beneficial in obtaining a feel for company culture.  Document everything you hear in the interview even if it seems inconsequential.  Learn these questions, but make them your own: the more comfortable you are with them, and how they weave into conversation, the more information you will gather from workers.  Their comfort level with you will determine the level of information they are willing to share.  Emphasize that speaking with you has no effect on Unemployment.

Employer interviews are more formal.  Be empathetic with the HR contact remembering that the worst part of the job in HR is permanent layoff.  They need to see you as a professional offering assistance to the workers but also as an advocate for their business’s future by obtaining facts leading up to layoff. 

We have found it best to interview the HR professional following specific questions to avoid the need to have a return call.  After the call, follow-up with an email to verify what you have understood is correct.  Ask for the:

  • contact’s job title/ email address (Section 3 3 a,b,f)
  • affected department(s) /job titles of affected workers (Section 1 I & Section 2 e)
  • physical locations where work is performed (Section 2 a,b,c,d,g)
  • first date of layoff/ when hours were reduced (Section 1 g and/or Section 2 g for closures)
  • ·number of affected workers/ what they do. (Section 2 e)

The second series of questions may not be answerable by HR but gives an opportunity to obtain  secondary contacts.  These questions are designed to assist in developing Section 3 narrative and as attachments.  Ask if the firm:

  • acquired articles from outside the US
  • shifted work to another country/ lost a contract and with work completed outside the U.S.
  • contracted a company where work is completed outside the US or
  • experienced decline due to imports.

This leads to the question, “What if I don’t have contacts at this firm?”  Reach out to partners within the One Stop Center.  Have they ever recruited through the Workforce Services Division?  Has Rapid Response reached out to them? Has WIOA placed a client?  Ask them to make an email introduction.   Otherwise, use public sources.

-- State Corporation Commission              -- LinkedIn

-- Chamber of Commerce Directory          -- Facebook page

-- Company Website                                  -- Securities and Exchange Commission

 

After petition filing, OTAA will send email confirmation containing name and contact information of the TAA Investigator.  Email… start a dialog.  If additional information is needed, you will be contacted. Consequently, if you learn additional information, share with the investigator.  Remember we are working on the same team toward a common goal: assisting Trade impacted workers.