ANDOVER — The 60 employees at Ethan
Allen Furniture sawmill learned this week that they are eligible for
a variety of benefits under the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance
Act.

U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins
announced the eligibility through a statement Monday. The two
had requested the status from the U.S. Department of Labor in June.

The closure of the local mill was
announced June 24. At that time, management said the mill
would shut down in fewer than 60 days. The high-end furniture
manufacturer is based in Danbury, Conn., and operates other mills in
Vermont.

Kevin Kelley, a spokesman for Collins’
office, said employees certified for Trade Adjustment Assistance can
take part in re-employment services, job search allowances,
relocation allowances and training of up to 104 weeks. Those workers
who require remedial education so they can complete occupational
training may be eligible for an additional 26 weeks of training.

According to Ethan Allen Global Inc.
Vice President David R. Callen, sales declined almost 42 percent
between March 31, 2008, and March 31, 2009, calling for serious action
that included consolidating operations.

Along with the elimination of the
Andover mill, which saws lumber that can be made into furniture at
the Orelans, Vt., mill, another Ethan Allen mill in Beecher Falls,
Vt., will also close, leaving 260 people without jobs there.

The MaineCareer Center in Rumford
generally helps local workers who are certified Trade Adjustment
Assistance eligible. A spokesperson from the Lowell Street agency
could not be reached for comment.

[email protected]


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