Pence Points to Vocational Training as Bipartisan Opportunity

Melissa Gilliam

Melissa Gilliam Intern, AAM

Vice President Pence highlighted the importance of vocational education in addressing manufacturing’s skilled labor shortage during a Politico Playbook interview on Tuesday.

“The challenge we have in a growing economy -- an economy that’s expanding, last quarter 3.5 percent -- is workforce,” Pence said.  “Everywhere I go I have businesses saying to me, ‘We’re hiring. We’re expanding.’ … It’s difficult to find people.”

Pence stated that out of seven million job openings, six million people are looking for employment and that vocational education represents an opportunity for bipartisanship, as seen with the recently signed bipartisan water infrastructure bill.

Indeed, manufacturers need more skilled workers and vocational training programs, and the Trump administration is wise to address these issues as manufacturing boasts resounding bipartisan support, according to recent polling data.

We couldn't agree more that it is time for manufacturing to be a leading focus in Congress, regardless of what party takes the House. It’s not about red or blue; it’s about supporting America’s workers and the manufacturing industry, which presents a critical pathway to the middle class for so many Americans. 

Check out our new video below for more on why a thriving manufacturing industry in America is so important to our nation.


Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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