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U.S. Secretary of Labor Brings ‘Good Jobs’ Tour to Birmingham

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Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor, Julie Su at the North Birmingham Library on Wednesday. (Sym Posey, The Birmingham Times)

By Sym Posey

The Birmingham Times

Good jobs change lives, bring dignity and respect, and sustain families, said acting U.S. Secretary of Labor, Julie Su at the North Birmingham Library on Wednesday.

Su made the visit as part of the “Good Jobs” summer tour said employment isn’t just transformational for the individuals who have them and for their children and their families, “but they uplift entire communities and instill hope.  That’s why today’s good jobs principles are so important and why the good jobs alliance that we are building across the country matters so much.”

The tour, which aims to highlight the importance of good jobs across the country, attracted a host of city officials, area labor and business leaders and workers as Su addressed job quality through equitable hiring, better pay, benefits, and job security.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin outlined what he said was key qualities of a good employer.

“[They] focus on hiring and retention … [they] are very intentional about the morale of their employees… very intentional about creating an atmosphere where employees feel safe,” Woodfin said. “I really feel they have safe spaces opened up to share ideas, issues, and concerns. I also believe that a great employer creates a space where the policies and decisions they make with their employees.”

Su and Woodfin agreed to principles outlined in the Good Jobs campaign that included: recruitment and hiring, benefits, diversity, the right to union representation, job security and fair working conditions.

She described the principles as “opportunity infrastructure,” where the path to advancement is clear.

“These roads and bridges are just as important as our physical roads and bridges,” she said.

Su and Woodfin also participated in a workforce roundtable discussion before her formal presentation.