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Birmingham Mayor Woodfin agrees to federal “Good Jobs Principles”

Alongside acting Secretary of Labor Su, Birmingham Mayor Woodfin announced his support for the Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Principles.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin (left) and acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su (right)
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On Wednesday, employers and union leaders gathered as Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin announced his support for the Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Principles alongside acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su.

The Good Jobs Principles are a set of eight commitments the Department of Labor created in 2022. Commitment to the Good Jobs Principles, Su explained, means “being intentional about connecting all of Alabama’s residents and all of Birmingham’s workers to good jobs.”

“The Good Jobs Principles include recruiting from those undervalued communities. It means breaking down systemic barriers,” Su rattled off. “It means focusing on justice impacted individuals, on single moms, on those who struggle to find housing.”

“When you are an employer, you have to wake up every single day and think about what’s in the best interest of the people you serve,” Woodfin said. The mayor acknowledged that he is not only responsible for Birmingham residents, but also the “three thousand plus employees” he oversees.

Woodfin also pointed out that “four out of ten able adults in this community unfortunately are on the sidelines, are not working, which tells me we still have much more work to do.”

Wednesday’s event was part of Su’s Good Jobs Summer Tour. The acting Secretary of Labor will be visiting cities in seven states to discuss the Department of Labor’s work and promote its Good Jobs Initiative.

“I am here because Alabama matters,” Su said. “I am here because Birmingham matters. It matters to me.”

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Talking about her earlier trip to the recently unionized New Flyer plant in Anniston, Su used the workers’ new contract as an example of what’s possible: “We know that these kinds of jobs can be the jobs and must be the jobs of the future if we do our work together, and if we do it right.”

Su also thanked “union leaders for showing up here and every single day” and said “Jobs to Move America and Alabama Arise both helped make this trip so rich and meaningful for me.”

Jobs to Move America is an economic justice focused policy center which promotes community benefits agreements and pro-labor public policy.

Hailey Allen, a Southern communications fellow with Jobs to Move America, explained that “public sector involvement and community advocacy are pivotal in influencing corporate practices, ensuring fair labor standards, and fostering partnerships that benefit both workers and communities.”

Allen also stated that “investments in things like transportation, childcare, and training programs” will be necessary to ensure equitable growth.

The workers at the New Flyer plant in Anniston were able to unionize and win a better contract in large part because of a community benefits agreement Jobs to Move America brokered.

Jobs to Move America’s assistant director of Southern operations, Angela Dawson, told APR that “after years of organizing for equity in the South, it is truly a wonderful feeling to know that people are paying attention and willing to help us turn things around.”

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Chance Phillips is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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