Greta Kemp Martin, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, kicked off Labor Day weekend by addressing fair labor issues in Mississippi.
“As one of the few states left in our country without a Department of Labor, it is past time Mississippi workers have an advocate for their interests among their elected officials,” said Kemp Martin.
Across the country, states are continuing to see the same labor and wage issues, including child labor violations, age discrimination, and wage theft. Mississippi has also been unsuccessful in passing a meaningful equal pay law. The median income for women is $10,000 less than men, earning 78 cents for every $1 earned by men.
“A Department of Fair Labor at the state level will play a crucial role in safeguarding workers’ rights, promoting fair employment practices, ensuring workplace safety, and contributing to the state’s overall economic health. It will serve as a bridge between workers, employers, and government, fostering a balanced and productive labor environment,” explained Kemp Martin.
The Fair Labor Division is one piece to Kemp Martin’s Roadmap to Restoring Public Integrity through the Attorney General’s Office. The Fair Labor Division would work to ensure employers are following state and federal laws and rules.
“Violating workers’ rights has an adverse effect on our dynamic communities, particularly those most vulnerable and underpaid,” explained Kemp Martin. The Division would include a multi-disciplinary team of investigators and attorneys to handle complaints. Proactively, the Division would build a legislative advisory council to include other state agencies, unions, stakeholders, and employers to monitor and propose legislation to our lawmakers concerning labor and employment issues. The Division would also establish a complaint process to aid in the enforcement and prosecution of state and federal violations.
“We are the only state in the United States that doesn’t have any form of a voice for workers in government at all,” Robert Shaffer, president of the Mississippi AFL-CIO explained. “The only measure we have is OSHA, a federal law, and they’ve cut that off to about one person here.”
“Some things are no-brainers. And for folks like me who come from a working-people family, a Fair Labor Division in the state’s Attorney General’s Office is one of those things,” said Kemp Martin.