House Committee Approves James’ Bill Sparked by Joy Plant in Franklin Closing

| March 14, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The state House Labor and Industry Committee on Wednesday approved an unemployment compensation reform bill introduced by Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) that aims to help unemployed workers like those who lost their jobs at the Joy Global Inc. plant in Franklin in 2016.

“The need for this reform was brought to my attention when local workers were applying for benefits after the plant shut down,” James said. “I’ve been fighting for this change and workers like them ever since that happened.”

James’ bill would increase the time workers and employers have to appeal unemployment compensation decisions. Current law allows 15 days for an appeal. James’ bill would allow 21 days.

“When the plant closed, I asked some of the union representatives how the state could best help the workers,” James said. “The concept of extending the appeal timeline came up, so I introduced legislation and have re-introduced it in each legislative session since then.”

James said the change is fair because it would extend the deadline for both workers and employers.

“This change would provide more time for workers and employers,” James said. “The change would give each side the same additional time to review and appeal a decision.”

Joy Global Inc. in 2016 closed its Manufacturing Plant No. 1 in Franklin, letting go hundreds of employees.

James’ House Bill 280 now heads to the full state House for consideration.

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