Rep. Levin Probes DOL Efforts to Avert and Respond to Layoffs

August 14, 2019
Press Release
In a letter sent to the Acting Labor Secretary, Congressman Levin and three colleagues requested information on the Trump Administration’s effort to prevent and abate the effects of layoffs.

Congressman Andy Levin today led a letter to Acting Secretary of the Department of Labor Patrick Pizzella requesting information on the department’s efforts to proactively anticipate and respond to layoffs, as laid out in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The letter was also sent by Congresswomen Susan Davis (CA-53), chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, Madeleine Dean (PA-04) and Susan Wild (PA-07).

See the signed letter here, and read the full text below:

Dear Acting Secretary Pizzella,

We write concerning the layoff aversion requirement included in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (P.L. 113-128).  We are unable to determine whether states are following this requirement based on the information we have available to us. Considering the importance of averting and lessening periods of unemployment following layoffs, we urge the Department to respond to this inquiry with all relevant information without delay.

As you know, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) encourages states to proactively anticipate and respond to layoffs.  As described in the Department’s final rule implementing this provision, layoff aversion might entail “providing assistance to employers in managing reductions in force, which may include early identification of firms at risk of layoffs, assessment of the needs of and options for at-risk firms, and the delivery of services to address these needs,” as well as other related activities.  Actions like these can help mitigate the challenges that workers, employers and communities face. For example, Pennsylvania has long managed a layoff aversion system that has helped save 23,000 manufacturing jobs.   

Layoff aversion programs are critical to mitigate possible job and wage loss due to company layoffs.  As such, we ask that the Employment Training Administration (ETA) provide a detailed description of:

1.         The layoff aversion activities states are carrying out to meet the requirements of WIOA;

2.         ETA’s activities to monitor states for compliance with the WIOA requirements; and

3.         Funds used for technical assistance to states that need further help complying with these requirements.

As members of Congress, we are committed to ensuring American workers are minimally impacted by unemployment due to layoffs. As such, we urge the Department to continue enforcing WIOA’s layoff aversion requirement and take these steps to ensure states are doing everything required of them under WIOA. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.