Laid-off Garbo Lobster employees eligible to apply for federal trade assistance

Former employees of an East Coast Seafood lobster facility in Groton, Connecticut that was closed last month are now eligible to seek federal benefits.

According to a statement from the Connecticut Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Labor has approved Garbo Lobster workers to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance. TAA allows those impacted to learn new skills and get the resources needed to find new work. 

“We are extremely pleased that USDOL has determined that the employees who worked at East Coast Seafood/Garbo Lobster are now eligible for federally-funded training assistance,” state labor commissioner Kurt Westby said in a statement. “CTDOL is sending out notification letters and looks forward to helping the certified employees access training opportunities that will lead to new jobs and careers. We appreciate the work of the US Department of Labor’s Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance, the support from Congressman Joe Courtney’s office and the dedication everyone has shown in helping our residents.”

If approved, former Garbo employees could also receive help with relocation if they find a new job. Those age 50 or older who were laid off could receive a wage subsidy if they land a new lower-paying position. 

Those eligible to apply for the assistance are Garbo employees who lost their jobs on or after 22 January, 2018. Nancy Steffens, communications director for the Connecticut Department of Labor, told SeafoodSource that federal officials estimate the number of affected employees at around 26. 

The company announced last month it will offer employees a severance package, recommendation letters, and other support as requested.

Courtney, in a statement, said it was the affected workers who pushed for the certification, a step he said was unusual.

“The teamwork displayed by Commissioner Westby and the Connecticut Department of Labor, the employees, and my office’s staff really paid off exactly as this federal law intended,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

When East Coast announced the closure on 14 January, officials opted not to disclose a reason. However, the company has been feeling an impact of the trade war between the U.S. and China. Last summer, Rep. Courtney tweeted that Garbo experienced “an immediate and significant loss of business” due to the tariff hikes both countries placed on imports.


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