Dislocated Workers:

Labor-Management Committees Enhance Reemployment Assistance

HRD-90-3: Published: Nov 21, 1989. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's (DOL) Canadian-American Plant Closing Demonstration Projects in Idaho, Michigan, New Jersey, and Vermont, focusing on: (1) the formation, operation, and results of each state's labor-management committee; (2) funding sources for project activities; and (3) project interaction with other state activities.

GAO found that: (1) all the labor-management committees gathered information on worker skills and interests to match jobs and training to individual needs, worked with service providers to determine when and where to offer services, and monitored workers' participation and success in finding jobs; (2) the committees sponsored orientation sessions and visited employers and job fairs to help tailor assistance to worker needs; (3) prompt state involvement was important in disseminating information to workers before layoff; (4) in three projects, the committees brought local service providers together to help them develop outreach, service delivery, and followup strategies, and provided feedback on worker progress and concerns; (5) the fourth committee worked independently from the service providers, which led to duplication of effort and reduced monitoring of worker participation in the project; (6) the basis for each committee's strategy was personalizing the adjustment process by making regular telephone calls, holding informal meetings, issuing newsletters, and establishing assistance centers on the company premises; (7) in three projects, state officials attended committee meetings and guided committee activities, which helped build effective working relationships with local service providers; (8) state involvement in the fourth project was limited, and led to confusion, misunderstanding, and ill-feelings; (9) three committees drew their membership from dislocated workers and started with six members who held varied occupations at the closed plant; however, the fourth committee had four members, but only two had worked at the closed plant, and the other two members limited their involvement to attending committee meetings; and (10) the committees' level of effort depended on its involvement after workers were laid off.

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