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BRAXTON’S PLAN TO MAKE NORTH CAROLINA THE #1 STATE FOR BUSINESS AND WORKERS

North Carolina should be the #1 state for business and workers. As the next Commissioner of Labor, I will support North Carolina’s working families and businesses by:

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ensuring that all workers go to work in a safe environment.

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defending workers rights wherever they find work.

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advocating for all people to be paid fairly under NC labor laws.

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taking a "whole worker" approach.

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prioritizing that our workforce is fully staffed.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

All work, from factories to classrooms, should be done in a safe working environment.

We should strive to eliminate fatalities and injuries in North Carolina workplaces. As Commissioner of Labor I will:

  • work with employers and employees to promote and grow cultures of safety.

  • collaborate with the North Carolina General Assembly to appropriately fund and strengthen the Occupational Safety & Health Division (OSH) and other compliance departments.

  • team up with employers and employees to amplify preventative practices across industries.

FAIR WAGES

The Labor Commissioner has an important role in helping to ensure that North Carolina workers are earning their fair share of wages as determined by the law.

Why It Matters: Whether they are construction workers building our cities or meatpackers from out east, North Carolina’s laborers deserve to feel confident that they are bringing home a fair day’s pay.

As Commissioner of Labor, I will prioritize:

  • informing all workers of their rights under the law.

  • ensuring businesses are following North Carolina’s fair wage laws and rules.

We must promote a fair market amongst business owners who are competing for the same workers within industries.

FULLY STAFF OUR WORKFORCE TO UPHOLD PUBLIC SAFETY

The Problem: Employers are finding it increasingly more difficult to find enough workers to staff their businesses since the pandemic.

  • There are not enough employees to dependably fill shifts across the board - whether in our service and hospitality industries or logistics professionals.

  • This constrains the ability for companies to grow and is detrimental to existing workers who bear additional dangerous burdens at work.

For Example: Currently, even the North Carolina Department of Labor is struggling to fully staff its team – 25 of the 108 compliance officer roles that are budgeted for are vacant.

  • It is vital that we have a fully staffed compliance officer team at the Department of Labor so that every roller coaster, every ski lift, every ride at every county fair across the state that involves moving pieces of equipment, is inspected correctly and as often as it should be.

The Solution: As the next Commissioner of Labor, I would make it a top priority to close this gap and ensure that these life-saving inspections continue across the state. I would work with leaders in business, labor unions, personnel services, and in communities across the state to make sure we are doing everything possible to match our workforce with available jobs – many of which provide local residents access to the middle-class right out of high school.

We must approach the challenges in the labor market as opportunities to take a “whole worker" approach and connect our local workforce with a better quality of life through a good-paying job.​

DEFENDING WORKERS RIGHTS WHEREVER THEY FIND WORK

There are a lot of different jobs, and just as many different workplaces in our state.

Why It Matters: Different jobs call for different skills and different demands of workers. Regardless of the differences in job descriptions and demands, all workers have rights and protections as workers in our state.

Whether workers are at home or on assembly lines, I will work with advocates to inform and educate our workforces on their rights and how to take action if those rights are violated.​

TAKING A "WHOLE WORKER" APPROACH

The Department of Labor has an important role in our state to ensure community safety. In addition to the core responsibilities of inspecting and ensuring the safety of several elements of everyday life like elevators, amusement park rides, and lifting devices for people with disabilities, the Commissioner of Labor can build bridges across our state’s diverse communities and make them safer by taking a "whole worker" approach. We can work with our partners within state and local governments, the private sector, and service organizations to sustain resilient workforces by:​​

  • providing dependable access to transportation. As Commissioner of Labor, I will work with public and private partners in our local communities to take advantage of the historic Federal infrastructure resources on behalf of NC workers. Communities that are accessible empower their workers – and these same communities become desirable for businesses to come to and workers to live in. Dependable access to work advances economic development.

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  • working with partners to increase access to affordable housing. By having a safe and secure place to sleep at night or even a path to home ownership, working residents are able to accumulate wealth, in turn helping stabilize communities. ​In addition, we must work towards eliminating homelessness in North Carolina with a focus on our veteran population. We must ensure that our veterans and their families have on-ramps to jobs when their sacrifices to our state and nation are complete.

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  • reducing the number of workers living in a food desert. According to a 2022 WRAL report, more than 1.6M NC residents live in a food desert. These are low-income rural areas that are more than 10 miles from a grocery store or low-income urban areas that are more than one mile from a grocery store.

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  • closing the digital divide and training our next workforce. Being digitally connected means more than just having internet. 1.1M North Carolina households lack access to high-speed internet, cannot afford it, and/or do not have the skills needed to utilize the digital economy.​ As Commissioner of Labor, I will make equitable investments so workers can find their way into the workforce and ensure both urban and rural communities achieve digital equity through public-private partnerships. I will also:

    • work to ​uplift populations destabilized due to interactions with the criminal justice system. The best way to keep people out of cycles of recidivism is to ensure they are able to secure a job. By making training more readily available for the future workforce, more people will have the ability to become employed.

    • create apprenticeship opportunities and foster mentor-mentee relationships with our young people. By creating continuums of wisdom we can ensure that the future workforce of North Carolina continues to fuel the growth of our state.​​

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  • advocating for accessible and well-funded child care. Affordable, reliable, and quality child care is the key to providing upward economic mobility. Inaccessible child care reduces the productivity of our workforces. I have always been an advocate for accessible and well-funded child care. We know the effects. It is clear that quality child care helps strengthen families and build community.

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  • working with partners to increase access to health care for all workers. ​When workers are mentally and physically healthy, companies succeed. The bottom line is when workers are sick, work suffers. Businesses are efficient and productive when workers are able to access care to get and stay healthy.​

  • working to eliminate poverty in our NC workforces. Poverty is a policy choice. We need labor policies that protect workers and ensure dignity. No working North Carolinian with a full time job should be in living in poverty. We will work to eliminate poverty in our workforces by fighting for the marginalized, the workers living in poverty, and the left behind workers.

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Vote for Braxton statewide on November 5, 2024.

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