State Agency Unemployment Compensation Board of Review.
Before: Honorable James Gardner Colins, President Judge, Honorable James R. Kelley, Judge, Honorable Jess S. Jiuliante, Senior Judge. Opinion BY President Judge Colins.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colins
OPINION BY PRESIDENT JUDGE COLINS
In this consolidated appeal, one hundred and thirty-seven petitioners (collectively, Claimants) petition for review of four orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming a referee's denial of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits under Part 2 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Act), 19 U.S.C. §§ 2271-2322. We affirm.
The Trade Act of 1974, like its predecessor, the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, established a program of worker adjustment assistance to assist workers displaced by increases in imports. *fn1 Federally funded Trade Act benefits were intended to supplement state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. *fn2 To compensate workers for "injury" caused by import competition, the Act provides for a host of TAA benefits, including Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), employment services, training, supplemental assistance while in training, job search allowances, and relocation allowances. 19 U.S.C. §§ 2291, 2295-2298. At issue in this case are basic TRA benefits, training, and additional TRA.
Claimants are all former employees of United States Steel's (USX) Maple Creek Mine (Mine) in Washington County, Pennsylvania. All of the Claimants became unemployed in January 1994 when the Mine shut down, and all of the Claimants applied for TAA benefits in July and August of 1994 as a result of the shutdown. Following closure of the Mine, the United Mine Workers' Association (Union) filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for certification of eligibility to apply for TAA benefits with respect to the Claimants' 1994 separation from employment when the Mine shutdown. DOL denied certification, concluding that increases in imports did not contribute importantly to the mine closing. 19 U.S.C. § 2272. At that time, the Union encouraged the Claimants to apply for benefits under 1985 and 1987 eligibility certifications applicable to Mine employees.
In 1985 and again in 1987, DOL certified that all Mine employees separated from employment during the periods in question were eligible to apply for TAA benefits. The certification periods were as follows:
Cert. # Cert. Date Impact Date Termination Date
15841 May 24, 1985 Aug. 1, 1984 April 19, 1985
17770 May 5, 1987 Jan. 1, 1986 Oct. 15, 1988
For each certification period, the Claimants fall into two groups. Group 1 Claimants are Mine employees who were separated from employment during the certification period, but who returned to work before having received all of the state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to which they were entitled. Group 2 Claimants are Mine employees who were separated from employment during the certification period and who qualified for, and received, TAA benefits at that time. In 1994, Group 1 and Group 2 Claimants applied for three types of TAA benefits: basic TRA, training benefits, and additional TRA. The Claimants request benefits for the 1994 separations from employment, based on their qualifying separations under the 1985 and 1987 certifications.
Entitlement to Basic TRA Benefits
To qualify for basic TRA benefits, an individual must meet statutory requirements as to certification, separation, wages and employment, entitlement to UI, exhaustion of UI, availability and active search for work, and participation in training. 19 U.S.C. § 2291(a); 20 C.F.R. § 617.11. Regulation 617.11 states separate qualifying requirements for unemployment that begins before November 21, 1988 (pre-1988 requirements) and for unemployment that begins on or after that date (post-1988 requirements). Only the certification, separation, and exhaustion of state UI requirements are at issue in the instant case.
Certification Requirements. In order to qualify for basic TRA benefits, a worker "must be an adversely affected worker covered by a certification." 19 U.S.C. § 2291(a); 20 C.F.R. § 617.11(a)(i). An "adversely affected worker" is one who has been separated from employment because of lack of work for an ...