Dingell, colleagues discuss work, wages and labor future

Photo from video U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell

Photo from video
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) was joined with congressional colleagues, directors of labor and economics, professors and others to understand the changing American workforce.

The roundtable discussion held at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Fairlane Center Michigan Room June 19 was the third stop on a series of discussions scheduled in congressional districts across the country.

The plan following a final meeting in New Jersey next month is to take all the information collected and create a report with policy recommendations by Labor Day.

“Issues we face in America are creating and protecting jobs, shrinking of manufacturing, policy regulations, finance and global trade,” Dingell said. “We also face generational difference issues, fair wages, minimum wage and infrastructure investment.”

Michael Barr, University of Michigan professor of Public Policy, and Scott Derue, U-M Dean at the Stephen Ross School of Business, agreed education and employment sources should be provided to all generations.

“People in their 40s through 60s are working longer so they should have the ability and means to reinvest in themselves because of the uncertainty surrounding retirement and pension plans,” Derue said. “We must also train students for not only one job or career but have them be well-rounded through their learning.”

Barr said to reach out to the group of people who haven’t graduated yet and get them reengaged in education.

U.S. Rep. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) learned first-hand about the manufacturing and automotive industry during their Dearborn trip.

“During the discussion we were able to come at the issues with different angles because of all the different types of experts in attendance,” Pocan said. “The Michigan business school dean brought a different perspective so I was taking lots of notes.”

Dingell and Pocan cited the advancement of technology as something that will displace jobs, but also create new jobs in the workforce.

Following the UM-D discussion, the group met with UAW President Dennis Williams and Teamsters President James P. Hoffa for a roundtable discussion with local workers and labor leaders at UAW Region 1A.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)