Byrne: Celebrating Alabama’s workers
Labor Day is a wonderful time to celebrate Alabama’s exceptional working men and women. From Tennessee River Valley engineers to Black Belt farmers and Gulf Coast shipbuilders, our workers are powering an economic boom that has reduced unemployment and raised wages.
President Trump and his commitment to prioritizing and empowering American workers continue to pay dividends in our state.
Commonsense pro-growth strategies like slashing unnecessary regulations and reducing taxes are keeping more money in the wallets of employee and employer alike. That’s more money to fill up your car with gas or buy school supplies for your children.
But we cannot be satisfied. As we deal with an evolving global economy, it is important we do what is necessary now to have the workforce we need tomorrow. Education and job training are more critical than ever.
I’m working to keep us prepared. This summer, I introduced the Modern Worker Empowerment Act with my colleagues Representatives Elise Stefanik and Phil Roe. This bill recognizes that the modern workplace has changed dramatically, and it updates or removes outdated laws and regulations that could hold back economic progress or limit job opportunities.
We must continue looking for opportunities to empower American workers instead of holding them back.
If you’re like me, your first experience earning a paycheck was as a teenager in a low wage job. The lessons provided by such opportunities are invaluable in teaching the dignity of work as well as the soft skills necessary to excel in the workplace, whether it’s a factory, a classroom, or an office.
Unfortunately, some in Washington are pushing to increase the current minimum wage by over 100%. While we all want our workers to earn more for a hard day’s work, such a drastic shock to the system would eliminate countless entry-level jobs. Employers would increase automation, outsource labor, or simply not hire additional workers. That is not the solution we need to help workers.
Instead, we must continue supporting pro-worker policies that reduce barriers to opportunity, help small businesses grow, and raise wages organically.
In 2017, I introduced the Save Local Businesses Act to eliminate the confusing and burdensome joint employer rule that hits our franchise businesses particularly hard. My bill, which passed in the House of Representatives, would provide important clarity regarding labor laws for both employer and employee.
I am preparing to introduce this bill again and hope it can pass the House again and go to the Senate.
President Trump’s efforts to help American workers extend globally. When he took office, he promised a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada that would repair some of the flaws of NAFTA. His goal to help our workers and create new markets for American goods is one I wholeheartedly support.
Many critics scoffed at him for trying to achieve the impossible, but nonetheless President Trump was successful in negotiating a new deal, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
This was a huge victory for American workers. USMCA would help many industrial sectors in Alabama, particularly our automobile manufacturing.
I am hopeful Speaker Pelosi will take steps this month to move this important deal through the House so it can be enacted. This agreement is too important for America’s workers for us to let politics get in the way.
With the parades and barbecues of Labor Day behind us, a transition to cooler weather, a new school year, and football season begins. But first, I hope you were able to enjoy time this Labor Day with your family and loved ones – the reason most of us labor so hard the rest of the year!
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.