HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4020
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Representatives Jones, Bowman, Brumsickle, Basich, Hargrove, Heavey, Fuhrman, Braddock, Morton, H. Sommers, Lisk, Nealey, Schmidt, Wang, Jacobsen, Peery, Franklin, May, Ogden, Leonard, Prentice, Kremen, Anderson, Scott, Van Luven, Valle, Wineberry, D. Sommers, Haugen, Dorn, Rasmussen, R. Fisher, Cooper, Spanel, G. Fisher, Pruitt, Ferguson, R. Johnson, Brough, Phillips, Chandler, Wynne, Sheldon, P. Johnson and Tate.
Read first time March 7, 1991.
TO THE HONORABLE GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED:
We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, Changes in federal Forest Service management policies are leading to the loss of twenty thousand jobs in Washington state due to a decline in the federal timber supply; and
WHEREAS, Most of these timber-related jobs are located in rural areas of the state which have few economic alternatives. While the economy of our state's urban areas may be vibrant, our rural communities are suffering from impacts of the decline in timber supply. These rural, timber-dependent communities often do not have the economic diversity of the urban areas. Workers who lose their jobs are frequently far away from jobs in other sectors of the economy and far away from training centers; and
WHEREAS, If the people of the United States feel that they need to make the decision to cut back on the federal timber supply they should be willing to pay the economic costs of that decision rather than attempt to shift the entire cost to the hardworking timber families in our state's rural communities; and
WHEREAS, Congress has provided other workers who have been impacted by federal decisions with adequate benefits to make the transition to other jobs. Coal miners impacted by the Clean Air Act and defense workers impacted by defense cuts received special benefits during the last Congressional session. No such benefits were provided for timber workers hurt by federal decisions; and
WHEREAS, Currently available job retraining programs fall short of the mark. They do not provide adequate funds for the long-term training which is needed for a transition to family wage jobs. They do not provide resources to allow workers to maintain their families while they are in training. They are severely lacking in the ability to meet emergency needs. As family emergencies happen, we often see workers drop out of their retraining programs and thus they are considered failures;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that Congress pass a Timber Workers Fairness Act which will provide adequate benefits to timber workers impacted by federal decisions. The benefits should be similar to those provided to workers impacted by federal trade policies under the Trade Adjustment Act, and federal environmental policies under the Clean Air Act. The legislation should have the following components:
(1) A training program of adequate duration to provide a transition to family wage jobs;
(2) Training allowances to help families survive through the retraining program. The allowances should be available to self-employed individuals as well as people who have not worked enough hours to be eligible for Unemployment. Families eligible for unemployment insurance should be eligible for an extension of up to fifty-two weeks if they are participating in training;
(3) Provision of support services to provide for needs such as child care, transportation, and emergency medical services.
BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable George Bush, President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.