VIRGINIA — One hundred former employees of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota have successfully petitioned the U.S. Department of Labor to receive Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits after a round of layoffs earlier this year.
The insurer announced the workforce reduction in March, scaling back more than 100 jobs between its Virginia and Eagan offices as it centralized “resources and staffing levels around key strategic priorities,” a company spokesperson said at the time. Last month, officials at the Labor Department approved the petition covering 40 displaced employees from Virginia and 60 from Eagan.
In approving the petition, TAA Certifying Officer Amy Chen said that the jobs were outsourced to a foreign country providing services “like or directly competitive with the health insurance claims processing services supplied by the subject worker which contributed importantly to worker group separations.”
TAA is a fully-funded program of the federal government and administered by the state, Sarah Saito, TAA supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said in an email.
TAA benefits are now active for the 100 employees through November 2021, two years after the petition was certified by the Labor Department.
Among other benefits, the program provides expanded unemployment benefits, job search and relocation assistance, career workshops and counseling, as well as training toward new careers, education and apprenticeships.
Saito encouraged employees who received a certified mailing from DEED to attend informational sessions on Dec. 17 in Rosemount or Dec. 20 in Virginia.
The March layoffs in Virginia and Eagan weren’t the only movement by the insurer this year. In July, Blue Cross and Blue Shield said it would close its Aurora office and shift 21 employees to either work remotely or from the Virginia office. Blue Cross and Blue Shield planned to close the Aurora office in September, and said it would work with the landlord to sell or lease the 5-acre facility valued at $647,300.