Government

Lawmakers Plan Legislation to Aid Workers Facing Layoffs

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A trio of Democratic state representatives, including state Rep. Glenn Holmes, plan to introduce a bill to support workers affected by mass layoffs and wide-scale plant closures.

The bill comes in the wake of General Motors’ announcement to stop production at its Lordstown Complex in late November, resulting in the direct loss of roughly 1,500 jobs.

Holmes, D-63 Girard, announced the legislation with Dan Ramos, D-56 Lorain, and Adam Miller, D-17 Columbus. Once introduced, it will be referred to a committee for initial hearings.

“I’m happy to support efforts to assist and care for the workers, families and local communities impacted by the GM Lordstown’s closure,” Holmes said in a release. “This bill is critical to empower the state to better assist communities facing sudden unemployment of this magnitude.”

If passed, the bill would expedite unemployment benefits and provide additional resources to process claims, as well as offer qualifying benefits to communities dealing with mass layoffs. Some workers would also have access to extended benefits if they face structural unemployment challenges.

“Like the GM plant closure in Lordstown, the industrial city of Lorain faced similar layoffs when Ford decided to close its doors to more than 1,700 employees in 2005,” Ramos said. “The closure devastated my district, which is still recovering today. We cannot allow companies to keep prioritizing corporate profits and stock prices over the wellbeing of their employees and their families.”

The bill would define a “mass layoff” as any job loss greater than 200 employees over a seven-day period. Employers would be required to inform the state of a mass layoff at least 30 days in advance to allow the Department of Jobs and Family Services’ Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations and other state agencies to prepare resources that would help those affected by such layoffs.

“I’ve seen firsthand the devastation a plant closure can have on a community when the West Columbus Delphi plant closed,” Miller said. “It devastated the community and we are still recovering. Too often, workers and their families are left to fend for themselves in rebuilding their lives. We need to give them additional, efficient support from Day One. They are faced with immediate financial crisis and our state response should meet that urgency.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.