MONTPELIER -- The U.S. Department of Labor authorized former employees of the Williston IBM plant and some other businesses involved in memory design services in that town to participate in a program designed to help workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition, state officials said Thursday.

Meanwhile, officials from the Vermont Department of Labor and the state's independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are asking the federal labor department to amend the approval issued earlier this month to include workers from the IBM campus in Essex Junction.

Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said in a Thursday release she didn't know why the Essex Junction workers weren't included in the Trade Adjustment Assistance ruling. So she said her department is looking for information from displaced workers to support the amended petition.

Sanders said he was dismayed the Essex Junction workers weren't included. "I strongly believe all of these workers deserve to receive Trade Adjustment Assistance and I will pursue this matter vigorously," Sanders said.

The ruling makes workers from IBM and other companies who have lost their jobs eligible for a series of programs, including re-employment service and training reimbursement.