Employees of some 30 subcontractors laid off from HP’s Imaging, Printing and Solutions Business Group in Boise have been deemed eligible for federal employment services because the jobs moved overseas.
The federal employment services, all part of the Trade Act Assistance program, could include career exploration, job search assistance, resume writing, interviewing preparation, training, job and relocation allowances, or a wage subsidy.
Employees separated between June 27, 2018, and April 20, 2022, are eligible to apply for the services through the Idaho Department of Labor.
What is the TAA program?
The TAA program is federally funded and administered in Idaho through the Idaho Department of Labor, said Kathy Nesmith, Trade Act coordinator.
“It helps employees where the company has had layoffs due to foreign imports or exports, including products or services,” she said.
The company itself, a state agency, a union or affected employees file a petition for consideration under the program. In this particular case, three employees filed the petition, but because HP laid off employees from a number of sites nationwide, petitions were combined, Nesmith said.
Once the petition is received, the company is contacted to determine the impact. If the petition is accepted, it is assigned a date of impact, typically a three-year period dating one year back from certification and two years forward, where people could qualify for services.
Even people laid off in the past who received new employment could be eligible for the services, if the layoff fell within the impact period, Nesmith said.
How many layoffs did HP have?
Exactly how many people were laid off in Boise isn’t clear yet because people are still applying for the program, Nesmith said.
“When we reached out to HP Inc. locally, they gave us a list of 126 names,” she said.
But employees from the 30 subcontracting companies, as well as leased employees from companies such as Experis, could also have been laid off and be eligible for the program, she said. Experis, for example, provided a list of 21 employees, she said.
“With each name, we have to investigate the cause of the layoff,” Nesmith said, to ensure that the person was laid off through no fault of their own due to the job moving overseas. Each subcontractor might have had only a couple of employees at HP, she said.
HP had announced in October that it intended to lay off from 7,000 to 9,000 employees worldwide by the end of 2022 but didn’t say how many would come from Boise. The company, based in Palo Alto, California, didn’t respond to inquiries by press time.
No, HP wasn’t bad
Nesmith emphasized that HP hadn’t done anything wrong, and in fact, other employers in a similar situation could file for petitions themselves to help their laid-off workers.
“Employers are afraid to file petitions because they don’t understand,” Nesmith said. “It’s not any kind of black mark on the company at all. It’s very much to their benefit in that it shows goodwill to their employees.”
Nesmith also noted that the companies aren’t responsible for funding the program.
“It doesn’t cost the employer anything,” she said. “That’s another misconception, that they think they’ll get dinged. We’re just taking advantage of the federal agreement that we help our country’s workers when they lose their jobs due to foreign competition.”
The program is funded by a Congressional appropriation to the U.S. Department of Labor, which administers the program and distributes funding to the states, said Georgia Smith, an agency spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Labor.
This also isn’t the first time that petitions have been filed on behalf of Boise-based HP employees, Nesmith said.
“It comes up every so many years,” she said.
Other Boise-based companies have also filed petitions under the program, such as Micron, which was certified for 500 employees on December 28, 2018, and MotivePower, which was denied for 220 employees on April 28, 2020.