Langevin Lends Legislative Support to Displaced Airline Workers

Sep 26, 2001
(Washington, D.C.)–Congressman Jim Langevin today announced that he has joined with many of his Democratic colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation that will provide much needed relief to airline employees laid off by the nation’s commercial airline industry.  The Displaced Workers Relief Act of 2001 is a legislative package designed to help working families through these emotionally and financially difficult times.

 “The Displaced Workers Relief Act will provide much needed unemployment benefits, job training assistance and health care coverage for those who unexpectedly lost their jobs due to the cowardly terrorist attacks of September 11,” said Congressman Langevin, a member of the House Armed Services Committee's Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism.  “Not only will this legislation lend a helping hand to America’s working families, but it will also provide a boost to the U.S. economy.”

 “Legislation like this is critical to assisting working families to get through these difficult times,“ said Rhode Island AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer George Nee.  “We deeply appreciate the concern and support that Congressman Langevin has for the working people of our country in this time of great need.”

 The Displaced Workers Relief Act of 2001 tackles several significant unemployment issues.  First, the bill extends unemployment benefits from 26 to 78 weeks and provides 26 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who would not normally qualify under current guidelines.  The package also extends job-training benefits from the regular 52 to 78 weeks so that all displaced workers may have access to relevant job training instruction.

Loss of health insurance was another major concern of Langevin and his colleagues.  So that families may continue to be covered by health insurance, the measure would provide up to 78 weeks of federally-financed COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) health care premiums and temporary Medicare coverage for those workers without COBRA coverage.

 The relief package would cover all airline and airport workers, as well as employees who work for airline suppliers, such as service employees and plane manufacturers.

 “These laid off airline workers will receive both immediate assistance to see them through this trying time, and the training they require to launch new careers,” Langevin added.  “Our priorities are to see these dedicated Americans return to work and to ensure that they have the necessary health care coverage to keep their families safe and healthy.”