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As automation continues to threaten jobs in New York, Senator Gillibrand announces legislation to support workers

PRESS RELEASE




WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As increasingly sophisticated automation threatens jobs throughout New York and the country, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the TAA for Automation Act, new legislation that would provide Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits, including job training and reemployment services, to workers who are displaced due to automation.

According to a study released this week by the Center for an Urban Future, more than one million current jobs throughout New York could be lost to automation. Under the current TAA program, TAA benefits are limited to workers who face job loss due to increased imports and shifts in production outside of the United States. Gillibrand's legislation would expand this program to help protect workers who lose their jobs due to automation, so that they can get the skills and training they need to be prepared for high-tech jobs of the future.

"More than a million New Yorkers have jobs that are at risk of being taken over in some way by automation, and we have to be ready for that change," said Senator Gillibrand. "Congress has a responsibility to make sure that if a worker loses their job because of automation, they land on their feet. We can't leave anyone stranded. I'm proud to announce the TAA for Automation Act, which would update the TAA program so it protects workers whose jobs are lost because of automation. We have to recognize that automation is only going to increase in our state, and we have to be ready to respond when it happens. I encourage all New Yorkers to keep speaking out and demanding that our government is taking these changes to our economy seriously, and I will do everything I can in the Senate to pass this bill into law."

"A new wave of automation is on its way, and it has the potential to transform tens of thousands of jobs across the state," said Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank that is publishing a new report today about the expected impacts of automation on New York State's workforce. "Senator Gillibrand's legislation smartly gets out ahead of these trends and creates an important mechanism for helping the many New Yorkers who be negatively impacted by automation."

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal program that currently provides workers whose jobs have been lost due to increased imports and shifts in production outside the U.S. TAA provides a range of benefits and reemployment services, including the following:

  • Training for employment in another job or career: Workers are eligible for training in occupational skills, basic or remedial education, or English as a second language. Workers may also receive employment services such as case management, skills assessment, and job search assistance.
  • Income Support: Workers can receive weekly cash payments after their unemployment compensation benefit is exhausted and during the period in which a worker is participating in an approved full-time training program.
  • Job Search Allowance: Workers can get reimbursed for expenses incurred in seeking employment outside their normal commuting area.
  • Relocation Allowances: Workers can receive reimbursement for approved expenses if they are successful in obtaining employment outside their normal commuting area and they need to relocate.

Gillibrand's legislation would extend these benefits to workers who have been displaced by automation. In addition, the TAA for Automation Act would establish an Advisory Commission to advise the U.S. Department of Labor on occupations that are at risk of elimination due to automation. The Commission would also produce an annual report and collaborate with state workforce agencies. The TAA for Automation Act is supported by AFL-CIO, UAW, United Steelworkers, and the Information Technology and Information Foundation.

A breakdown of highly automatable jobs (where at least 80 percent of the work can be done by machines) and estimated wages lost due to automation for regions throughout New York State can be found below:

Central New York:
  • There are 57,800 highly automatable jobs (16.3 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $5.9 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation in the Central New York region.

Western New York
  • There are 105,220 highly automatable jobs (15.8 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $10.9 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation in the Western New York region.

Mohawk Valley
  • There are 28,810 highly automatable jobs (15.3 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $2.8 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation in the Mohawk Valley region.

North Country
  • There are 22,480 highly automatable jobs (15 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $2.3 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation in the North Country region.

Southern Tier
  • There are 40,990 highly automatable jobs (14.7 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $4.5 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation in the Southern Tier region.

Long Island
  • There are 182,650 highly automatable jobs (13.8 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $26.1 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation on Long Island.

Finger Lakes
  • There are 80,470 highly automatable jobs (13.6 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $9.7 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation in the Finger Lakes region.

Capital Region
  • There are 72,770 highly automatable jobs (13.2 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $9.6 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation in the Capital Region.

Hudson Valley
  • There are 116,330 highly automatable jobs (12.5 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $17.1 billion in annual wages could be lost due to automation in the Hudson Valley region.

New York City
  • There are 454,010 highly automatable jobs (10.2 percent of all positions).
  • An estimated $92 billion in wages could be lost due to automation in the five boroughs.