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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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Labor Union president urges support for House Bill 422

Labor Union president urges support for House Bill 422

As the President of Communication Workers of America Local 3412, representing about 140 members and their families in Houma and the surrounding areas, I come from a long line of family-owned businesses right here in Terrebonne Parish.

Being the President of a labor union in a right-to-work state and in a generally conservative area is a difficult challenge that has instilled in my own leadership a “No Political Party” policy. Though I identify as a conservative Republican, my decisions are made based on what is best for my membership, my business, my family, my unique community, and what is RIGHT.

Having lived and worked in Terrebonne Parish for 20 years and Lafourche Parish for 10 years, I’ve seen how our community has fallen behind. I’ve also seen how local businesses seem to have a harder time attracting and retaining workers. I’ve seen how some businesses have had to close because they can’t compete with giant national and multinational chains that pay poverty wages and then take their profits out of our community and out of our state.

One of the roots of this problem is that the Louisiana State Legislature banned cities and parishes from setting a lot of their own local economic rules, including things like wage and family leave policies.

That’s why I joined other concerned citizens to form Unleash Houma to fight for our right to build the economy that’s right for our community. We’re part of a statewide network demanding that the state return local control.

Right now, House Bill 422 is up for consideration in the Louisiana State Legislature to do just that. This bill would return authority over wages and family leave policies to local leaders, giving them the freedom to do what’s best for the people of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes. It would mean that our local leaders could ensure that small business owners in our community who pay decent wages don’t get undercut by out-of-state corporations.

It would mean that the jobs we bring into our community pay enough to support a family, and that parents don’t get fired for taking a few days off to spend with their newborn. It would mean allowing each parish to be sovereign in its economical decisions, allowing for increased wages, where appropriate, to insure local economies stay relevant and competitive in the unique markets they support.

This unnecessary government overreach has gone on for too long, and it’s hurting our community. It’s time for our state legislators to unleash Houma so we can build a sustainable, thriving and equitable local economy. Please support our community by pressuring local leadership and State Legislature to support HB 422.

Put political differences aside and fight for what’s RIGHT. Our community has proven its perseverance time and time again and we deserve the right to make such important decisions ourselves.

Julian Bourg, President

Communication Workers of America

Local 3412