Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama
 

Rep. Sewell Welcomes Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to Birmingham

Nov 22, 2021
Press Release

Birmingham, AL – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) joined Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin in welcoming the U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh to Birmingham, Alabama. The visit was intended to promote the signing of President Biden’s Executive Order 14026 which increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour for federal contractors and the Biden-Harris Administration’s Build Back Better Agenda which includes historic investments in housing construction and rehabilitation, economic development, and community revitalization.

The day began with a visit of Innovation Depot, a startup ecosystem in Birmingham, where Mayor Woodfin, Sec. Walsh, and Rep. Sewell joined University of Alabama-Birmingham President Dr. Ray Watts, leadership from UAB, Innovate Birmingham, and Birmingham Promise for a tour of the facility. Here, they learned about the Birmingham Promise project which provides scholarships and apprenticeships to Birmingham City School students and heard testimonials from former and current students of Innovation Depot. 

Next, Rep. Sewell joined Sec. Walsh, Mayor Woodfin, and two local union workers for a rally in the historic Kelly Ingram Park to celebrate the signing of Executive Order 14026. This was followed by a tour of the park where Sec. Walsh saw the “Four Spirits” memorial to the four little girls who died in the 16th Street Church bombing in 1963. Secretary Walsh later toured the 16th Street Baptist Church. 

The visit concluded with a tour of The Dannon Project followed by a roundtable with the Mayor Woodfin, Sec. Walsh, Rep. Sewell, the Executive Director of The Dannon Project Kerri Pruitt, and the Alabama Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington. 

Rep. Sewell’s remarks from today’s lunch at the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s Hall are included below:

I want to thank everyone for being here today, especially the Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh! Doesn’t he have great passion? I love it! You’re like a breath of fresh air, so thank you for being here Mr. Secretary! 

I want you to know that we’re going to continue fighting in Washington for everyday people. This president promised to deliver, and I am proud of the fact that he’s delivered on three major things. First, he said that he was going to pass the American Rescue Plan and give money directly to counties, cities, and essential workers. Which is exactly what he did in the American Rescue Plan. 

Secondly, he said that he would do infrastructure! The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill 1.2 trillion dollars will create 2 million, good paying jobs every year in the United States of America. I want to thank all of you for your continued work. 

The third thing he promised to deliver on is the Build back Better Act that just passed the House of Representatives. This bill was not just about physical infrastructure, it was about social infrastructure and creating that social safety net to ensure that working families can really do what? Work!

That includes childcare, elder care, universal pre-k for our children and also healthcare. Your Congresswoman has been blessed that her bill is in that bill which would help the 12 states that did not expand Medicaid ensure that 300,000 Alabamians have quality health insurance. I will continue that fight. 

I’m also a proud supporter of the PRO Act, which ensures that unions can organize and collective bargain. This intimidation from management must STOP and I want to thank the Amazon workers of Alabama for leading the way on that.

In closing, Secretary Walsh, you are welcome to come back! We don’t only have the University of Alabama we have Auburn too. We have a lot of great football players but we also have southern hospitality that we are very, very proud of and that you will continue to experience today. 

Thank you! 

Background

Today’s events follow several significant milestones in the rollout of President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and the fight to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.

Today, the Department of Labor announced the final rule to implement President Biden’s Executive Order 14026 to increase the hourly minimum wage on federal contracts beginning January 30, 2022. President Biden signed this executive order on April 27, 2021. 

The rule applies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and specified U.S. territories, and does the following:

  • Increases the hourly minimum wage for workers performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts to $15 beginning Jan. 30, 2022.
  • Continues to index the federal contract minimum wage in future years to inflation.
  • Eliminates the tipped minimum wage for federal contract employees by 2024. 
  • Ensures a $15 minimum wage for workers with disabilities performing work on or in connection with covered contracts.
  • Restores minimum wage protections to outfitters and guides operating on federal lands. 

On Monday, November 15, President Biden signed the historic  Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest long-term investment in our country’s infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. This investment will grow the economy, create good jobs, enhance our competitiveness, and make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and equitable. 

Thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: : 

  • Alabama will receive $5.2 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years.
  • Alabama will receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state.
  • The bill makes the largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in American history, replacing all of the nation’s lead pipes and delivering clean water to millions of families.

On Friday November 19, the House of Representatives passed President Biden’s historic Build Back Better Act, once-in-a-generation legislation to lower costs for hard-working Alabamians, cut taxes for families and workers, and build an economy that puts working families first. The bill would:

  • Create millions of good-paying jobs together with the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
  • Cut taxes for families and workers by extending the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Close the Medicaid coverage gap by extending through 2025 the enhanced premium subsidies in the ACA Marketplace that were included in the American Rescue Plan.
  • Expand Medicare with hearing coverage for seniors beginning on January 1, 2023.
  • Lower prescription drug costs by allowing the Secretary of HHS to negotiate certain drug prices and halting price hikes above inflation for all Americans. It also ensures that Americans with diabetes don’t pay more than $35 per month for their insulin.
  • Lower child care costs ensuring the vast majority of families do not pay more than seven percent of their income on child care.
  • Establish paid family and medical leave, providing four weeks of universal paid parental, family caregiving, and medical leave.
  • Provide universal, high-quality, free pre-K for every 3 and 4 year old in America.
  • Make the largest effort to combat climate change in American history, investing $555 billion over 10 years in clean energy and climate investments.