TRA, Training benefits, 210-Day Rule, UA Rule 210
CITE AS: U.A.W. v Dole, No. 89-1922 (6th Cir August 21, 1990).
Appeal pending: No
Plaintiffs: International Union U.A.W. et al
Defendants: Elizabeth H. Dole, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
Docket No: NA
SIXTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Application of Michigan's "waiver for good cause" rule is not inconsistent with the 210 day filing deadline contained in the Trade Act of 1974 related to training benefits.
FACTS: In addition to providing basic "TRA" benefits, the Trade Act of 1974 permits an additional 26 weeks of benefits to assist affected workers complete approved training. Workers must file a bona fide application for training within 210 days after the date of the worker's separation. Due to internal MESC practices these claimants were not instructed to file until just prior to exhaustion of their state unemployment benefits, which was often beyond the 210 day limit. The MESC sought approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to apply Michigan's "waiver for good cause" rule (MESC Rule 210). That request was denied.
DECISION: Remanded for further proceedings by the District Court, Secretary of Labor and MESC. Michigan's waiver for good cause rule may be applied to claimants denied additional weeks of TRA benefits after January 1, 1988 due to operation of the 210 day rule if the MESC's determination of good cause includes findings of genuine interest in training and the absence of dilatory conduct on the part of the certified worker.
RATIONALE: "Despite the Secretary's admission that the rule was designed to facilitate workers' access to additional TRA benefits, she nevertheless argues that because neither the statute nor the parallel regulation provide for any waiver, workers who fail to comply with the 210-day rule are absolutely barred from obtaining additional benefits. Since the Act is silent on the issue of waiver, however, and may, therefore, leave room for more than one interpretation, it should be construed in such a way as to give effect to the general intent of the legislature....
When a cooperating state agency determines that no dilatory conduct has occurred, however, and, instead, concludes that application of the 210-day rule does nothing to further the Act's remedial purpose and everything to frustrate it, we are hard-pressed to conclude that the Secretary's interpretation is consistent with Congress' intent."