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Planning for and Avoiding Layoffs

Worker Transition Committee

Iowa's Rapid ResponseComposition of a Worker Transition Committee (WTC): It is recommended that a Worker Transition Committee consist of three to five representatives, each from the workers and the company. Representatives from state agencies and service organizations should be involved with the committee, but serve only as ex-officio members.

Structure of the WTC Committee: The structure for the committee is to be determined by the selected members, with the election of co-chairs (one from labor and one from management) or the selection of a neutral person to chair the meetings and direct the agenda. Duties of the chair person(s) include:

1. Presiding over committee meetings, including establishing committee structure;
2. Representing the WTC at various community functions;
3. Ensuring required reports/minutes of meetings and financial reports of the committee are completed and accurate;
4. Ensuring that committee agenda includes only items that enhance the reemployment of the impacted workforce, and initiatives are coordinated with appropriate state and local entities; and
5. Preparing a detailed final report of the committee’s activities.

Duties of the WTC Committee may include, but are not limited to:

1. Coordinating and participating in an information workshop for workers and their families;
2. Assisting with the completion of a worker survey and participating in the design of a service strategy based upon the survey’s results;
3. Maintaining and updating a comprehensive list of all laid-off workers that indicates each person’s status;
4. Enhancing job placement activities by utilizing the company’s business and worker networks;
5. Providing workers with a listing of employment and training services and community resources;
6. Conducting a job fair;
7. Opening an Outplacement Center; and
8. Providing news releases and employee letters that describe current status of workers and service options.

The activities of the committee should be coordinated closely with local and state initiatives assisting the impacted employer and employees.

Funding of the WTC Committee: Ordinarily, the company and local contributions fund the cost of the WTC Committee. At the discretion of the State Dislocated Worker Unit, if funds are available, the State may provide financial assistance to help with the establishment and operation of a WTC. The amount of the state financial assistance must be matched, at a minimum, on a dollar for dollar basis. To receive such funds, the WTC must develop an initial plan of activities, including a budget, and submit it to the State Dislocated Worker Unit. Any state funds made available to the WTC may only be used to cover the initial start-up and operating costs of the committee for a maximum of the first six months.

Allowable costs are limited to:

1. The wages, excluding overtime, of the representatives of the company and the workers for the time actually engaged in the business of the committee as certified by the chairperson(s);
2. Necessary disbursements for travel, office supplies, clerical support, preparing and printing reports and other similar expenses as approved by the committee;
3. The wages of the chairperson(s) of the committee if that individual is not serving as a volunteer;
4. Costs such as consulting or research fees, salaries and services expenses incurred for the benefit of the workers at the plant on behalf of and approved by the committee;
5. Other administrative costs determined appropriate by the committee and approved by the chair(s) for the benefit of the impacted workers and family members.

Employee Information Meeting

Officials of the affected businesses are encouraged to allow onsite services, and when they do, the companies often experience an immediate reduction in absenteeism, an increase in productivity and improvement in employee morale, reports IWD.

The purpose of the Employee Information Meeting(s) is to:

1. Provide information regarding the services and activities available through Iowa Workforce Development Center and its partners;
2. Describe resources available to assist workers in coping with the dislocation;
3. Obtain information from the impacted workers with the intent of developing an appropriate plan of action to assist workers through the transition process;
4. Promote and describe the process to form a Worker Transition Committee;
5. Identify the need for, and arrange for, any subsequent meetings.

At the Employee Information Meeting

1. State Dislocated Worker Unit staff assists with scheduling Employee Information Meeting(s).
2. All appropriate and relevant service-providing agencies are invited to participate in the meetings and briefly explain their services.
3. State Dislocated Worker Unit staff and local WIA staff formulate an appropriate worker survey.
4. The local WIA provider is the lead agency for these meetings, although in certain instances the State Dislocated Worker Unit staff will facilitate these meetings. These meetings are scheduled at the workers’ convenience. There are often several meetings held at various hours of the day and at least 1.5 hours should be allocated for each meeting. Worker surveys are distributed and a method of collection is determined.
5. Worker surveys are analyzed.

Labor –Management Committee

When a state’s Dislocated Worker Unit learns of an upcoming closing or mass layoff, and the company’s workforce includes organized labor, the state’s Rapid Response Coordinator will contact the affected union(s), as well as the employer, to offer assistance. The LMC, made up of workers and management, will then take charge of coordinating the services that are available to workers who are about to lose their jobs.

An LMC has an equal number of labor and management representatives and usually a neutral chairperson. The Committee can:

1. Develop strategies to meet the needs of laid-off workers.
2. Consider layoff aversion strategies, if still feasible.
3. Furnish early-intervention services, such as informing workers about their option for reemployment assistance.
4. Provide additional services such as peer support, job fairs, job search workshops and job clubs.
5. Identify organizations and businesses to provide outplacement services and training.
6. Help workers to network with each other on potential job openings as well as to share their success stories and boost morale.

(Source: Working America Institute –

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