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tv   Labor Secretary Discusses Digital Technology Advancement  CSPAN  October 19, 2021 9:29am-10:01am EDT

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capitol considers whether to hold former trump administrative strategist steve bannon in contempt for refusing to testify before the panel. watch the meeting live at 7:30 p.m. eastern on c-span2, live on c-span.org or our new video app c-span now. washington unfiltered. c-span in your pocket. download c-span now today. >> now labor secretary marty walsh. he talks about artificial intelligence and digital technology's impact on u.s. manufacturing. "the washington post" hosts this half an hour event. >> good afternoon, i'm jonathan capehart, opinion writing for
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"the washington post." and talking about jobs and who better to talk about that than the labor secretary, marty walsh. welcome back to washington post live. >> jonathan, thank you for having me today. >> we did see interesting numbers as a most recent jobs report issued last week 26,000 manufacturing jobs were added in september, but the industry is still town by 353,000 jobs since february 2020. what's the overallstate of the manufacturing sector today? >> well, certainly, we want to see more involvement in employment in the manufacturing sector. we have some work to do to get back to a level set. and then, you know, as one of the opening remarks here, the president has, you know, two plans, buy american in creating more opportunities for the supply chain. not only to get back to where
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we were pre-pandemic, but the goal and agenda is honestly to go far beyond that. we're seeing a lot of short-- we're seeing some issues in supply chains moving forward and we want to bring those back to america. >> so you mentioned buy american, which i want you to go into more on that, because my next question to you, you know, was going to be, what is the biden administration's plan to create jobs and incentivize upgrading manufacturing plants and equipment? >> well, certainly the president has a task force that's put together now that's looking at how do we create opportunities and buy more, more products here in america, we've seen during the pandemic a real problem in the supply chain. our dependence on foreign supplies and trade has been obviously highlighted big time here in this-- during this pandemic. the pandemic has put a big spotlight on a lot of
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equalities in our country and manufacturing is one of those. i'll give you one example. i was out in toledo, ohio, i was out at first solar, it's a solar manufacturing plant and they have one facility now and they're building a second facility. they'll create 200 permanent jobs, 500 construction jobs and first solar a looking at the low wage of $15 an hour, it's an opportunity to create solar panels in the united states and america, so that dependence on other countries are last. we need to do more of that and amplify that work. i was in new jersey, they're building a wind turbine farm in new jersey. and the products in the united states of america a lot will be shipped overseas and a lot in the united states of america. if you shift our economy to a green economy and alternative power sources, again, building these types of equipment and materials here in the united states of america, is what's important. buy america, build america and the supply chain kind of go hand in hand and the president
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wants to-- is setting goals to make sure that it's not going to happen overnight, over the course of the next several years we want to be more dependent on products made in the united states of america, buy american. and we have to look at the industries and how to strengthen the industries. part of those investments will come back to the build back better, there's money there for job training and there's a whole series and we can't unfortunately snap our fingers and say here we are doing more and more manufacturing. the president has a plan as we move forward here. >> secretary walsh, let's demystify some things. in the last answer, you used solar, wind turbines, you used the word shift, shifting in the work force, in the labor force. demystify for people who might be focused on the manufacturing sector who have been
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manufacturing and producing one sort of thing and now see that everything is changing and folks are talking about wind turbines and solar panels and how-- and i might have a hard time seeing how their skills can transfer from one to the other. what is the administration doing to make sure that folks who are in manufacturing have the skill sets to transition from, say, 20th century manufacturing to 21st century manufacturing? >> i was laughing as you were talking to me i thought you were going to talk about the environmental shifts from fossil fuel to alternative energy sources, so i'll go back to-- >> that's kind of part of it. you've got folks in the coal industry worried about, what does this mean? >> really, and let me just-- a couple of examples, i was out in -- in wisconsin i was
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talking to a round table of labor leaders and i was talking about retraining workers into the green economy and how do you retrain workers and some of the trades, wait a second, we don't need to be retrained and what they meant, they have the facilities and the curriculum to change the workers on what the workers do. a lot of workers will change and adapt to the circumstances and jobs in front of them. now, it might be different materials and might be different tools that they're using, but you can train workers. here at the department of labor, really what we're looking at, looking at job training program and work force out in the program, that do it differently than in the past. what do i mean by that? we have to be more intentional to make sure that the program we put in place, there's actually a job at the end of the programs. american workers, i don't want to say reskilled because that might be inappropriate, you know, educated in the sense of how do you change industries. people do it all the time. when my father started working construction in 1956 he came to
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boston and started working construction, there was a lot more people on the job, a lot less machinery on the job, a lot less technology. he worked in the industry for 35 years. toward the end of his career there was a lot more machinery and technology and workers were adapted and trained in new technology to be able to deliver buildings. buildings are done faster and the same sized buildings done faster and more efficient in some cases. what it is, it's the industry. so i think that we really have to think about, when you think about what's going on, i'm sure we'll talk about it, the unemployment in the country, the 10 million jobs that are open and how are we going to fill those jobs. that's a serious question. a lot of it is people looking at their careers, what are they going to do? there are people might have been working in the hospitality industry that all of a sudden went to bed and woke up, after the pandemic, this is not what i want to do. i'm not fulfilling my career what i want to be. i'm not making good wages, i'm working hard. i want to change my attention
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and go to another area. people will get retrained and skills or learn that industry. that's no different than manufacturing. there's no different than when you're working on a car that, you know, typical get gas-- vehicle that's used gas today and switch that vehicle eventually and be building more electric vehicles, again, it's training workers how to do it. when i was in first solar. >> sorry, one quick story. >> go ahead, secretary. >> as i was walking through, building a factory and one they're in. we walked through and there was a worker there and i was asking the manager, the ceo of the company, you know, what's the educational skill of the people working here. he said entry level to ph.d. working in the facility and there was a woman working and she was setting frames to where the solar panels will be laid onto and i said to the ceo will this be her job for the rest of her life? his response, no, it's not. she's learning how to set the solar panels and she has every
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opportunity through the efforts of the company to move her up, whether on a production line and other parts of the organization, so people will learn, people will want to move into different areas and we can help them, give them the skills they need, the education they need to move into the different area. >> so, in your answer there, and again, you anticipated something i was going to ask more broadly, and that is, you know, we have a story in the paper just the other day about the great resignation. whose as you pointed out. people as a result of pandemic taking stock of their lives and deciding i don't want to be in the restaurant industry anymore and manufacturing anymore, so you have the great resignation which is piling on top of a shortage, which is piling on top of a whole lot of other things. so as secretary of labor, how
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are you dealing with these multiple crises that-- i mean, even just one of them would take up your full tenure there at the department of labor. so, how are you dealing with the great resignation and the other things that are attendant with that? >> i look at two ways, one i look at the immediate concerns in front of us, with many of the essential jobs that need to be filled as we move forward in industries, such as hospitality, adult care, nursing, programs like that. we think about how do we make sure that we have the amount of workers we need to keep our economy moving forward. part of that is short-term with investments in job training and working with cities and towns across america and industry all across america. but in the long run, i view it as a potential opportunity. you know, president biden when he ran for president and elected president, he used the phrase build back better. and really, the intention
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behind build back better was creating pathways into the middle class. many of the people in the great resignation, if you will, many of the people, some of the people in that category work in high paying jobs and they're realizing that they want to change their work-life balance. they've been working 15 and 16 hours a day and the pandemic came and they want to change. the majority of those workers are working in low income jobs. they're a not making a lot of money and thinking to themselves, i think a lot of people, including myself during the pandemic, we had a lot of time to think, like the old days, a lot of time to have dinner at the kitchen table at 5:00 at night like i did as a kid and a lot of families did in america, we weren't going out, staying home, we were protecting ourselves and our families and a lot of people started to evaluate where they are in their lives and i think there's an opportunity here if we get these investments correctly. the federal government, state government, local governments along with cities and towns to help people better themselves
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so the next career they go into, they have an opportunity to get into the middle class. that's the president's plan behind build back better, moving people into the middle class. i spent seven years mayor of the city of boston and spent a lot of time talking about my communities of color, my black community, my latino community and poor white community, how do we make life better for people who pay rent, don't have prospects owning a home and raising a family and how do we make it better? it came down to work force development. make are more investments in work force development and housing and don't have deal with as secretary of labor, but when living in, working with secretary fudge creating better opportunities for housing because people need -- it's not just a job, it's about their life, it's about where they live, it's about where they put their head on the pillow, what they can support their family with. we have to readjust what we're thinking of.
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we're going through, i hope we are coming out of a once in a generation pandemic. and i think the impacts will be felt far and wide for quite some time and the interesting conversation you and i are having about the united states ever america. this are politicians and media and appointed people in europe that can have the same conversation, in asia have the same conversation, this is a worldwide situation that's going on. >> and speaking of worldwide, china, china leads the world in manufacturing with more than a quarter of the world's production, so what can the united states -- well, actually, what does the united states need to do to be more competitive globally? is it all of those things you're talking about or are there pieces you haven't mentioned yet? >> not to sound critical of my predecessors in the past here, we should have never gotten out of the industry when you think about manufacturing. we should have stayed in the
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industry. you see in the solar panel space alone, the need for, we have, you know, a couple of companies in the united states of america that build solar panels and we're so dependent on china for solar panels even though we want to lead the world when it comes to clean energy and changing our industry and moving forward, changing our sources of power. we got out of that industry so that's why it's going to take us a bit of time and that's why when the president laid down his plan for increased manufacturing, buying american, building american. this is going to take time forward. but america, we have the technology,s ingenuity and brain power to be competitive with any company in the world. this is a good segway to a question, and an audience question. this coming from texas from a person named richard, how do we use technology to bring manufacturing jobs back to the united states and reduce our dependencies on other countries? >> i think that technology is going to be key to it i think,
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again, a lot of people concerned about technology putting people out of work, but we're selling american people short if we think that people can't figure out technology and use it as a strength for us. i think that technology is key for the future here. you know, again, my experience in boston when i became the mayor in 2014, we really didn't use data on a daily basis. we changed the way we deliver services by simply using data and technology was a big part of that moving forward so there's opportunities for us for the technology to be-- we're a leader in the world still in technology which is great. we continue to stay in the-- stay there in the future moving forward. >> let's go back to the jobs number because according to the september jobs report, 188,000 jobs were added in august, which was far-- a far cry from the half million expected and predicted by economists. why are these jobs, jobs
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numbers still lagging behind expectations? >> well, i think one of the biggest reasons is exactly the topic, two topics ago. they're tired of working for a job that's not fulfilling for them and not able to get into the middle class and that's one reason. i think that it's people's concern of the coronavirus and the delta variant more recently. you know, people worried about their health and their family's health. over 800,000 americans have lost their life during this pandemic and that's real. and i think that people are concerned. the political conversations around vaccines which i don't understand how it turned political, but people saying that, you know, i'm not going to let the government tell me to get vaccinated and meanwhile people are dying in our country every day because of the delta variant or covid-19. i think that's an issue. i think we also have an issue during the pandemic. many of our child care facilities in this country and i can speak for my city where i
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was mayor and my state, many of those child care facilities had to shut down because there was no revenue coming and kids weren't going to daycare because parents were working from home and some of those places didn't open up and having challenges now hiring people because those are some of the people working in low paying jobs and taking care of our precious, our kids and i think that's part of the issue of the there's lots going object here, but i think what we have to do is continue to take one step at a time going forward and that's why i honestly feel that as secretary of labor, and i don't know if i would have said this a year ago because i wasn't as familiar with secretary, with this office, but as secretary of labor, we have such an opportunity and the resources able to make targeted investments in key industries in our country and to scale people up in a very short period of time to new careers. we have to do more work and i've done this with second
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raimondo from commerce. i don't think the days of putting a line in the sand between commerce and labor are over. we have to work together because we're in this together. >> you know, you just mentioned talking about people, you know, building new careers. the mantra of the administration is build back better, but as we've gone through this, through the pandemic, through work from home for those of us who can work from home, and we're a year and a half into this, into this in you sort of work life and i'm wondering from your perspective now especially as secretary of labor, are we going through a realignment, not just in terms of the economy, but in terms of how we go about work. how the american people go to work, whether we are fully shifting from the 9:00 to 5:00 or eight-hour workday one at a
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location to one that is a hybrid of those, working in an office and working from home or just simply working from home, if you can. >> i think we're definitely going through a realignment in the united states and the world in the way what our workplace looks likes. i know a month or two into pandemic many people were talking the alignment would be working from home more. there's been a shift in this country and a shift in the world of employment and it's going to take time as we move forward what does that new workplace look like and the new worker look like. i think back to when the pandemic began, we had the administration in washington that didn't have a plan to deal with the pandemic. president biden inherited that. he also inherited that the last administration didn't have any consideration to what's going to happen to our economy as we move forward here post
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pandemic, president biden inherented that. the first two things that the president did was come up with a very aggressive vaccination plan to get 100 million shots in the first 100 days and surpassed by that 200 million shots and also he put forth a plan to reopen society in the american rescue plan, an investment that we began to reopen our society and started to see the numbers go down and followed up with two other plans, the bipartisan infrastructure, and roads and bridges and broadband access, drinking water and build back better agenda, reconciliation package, thinking about long-term impact of our cares economy. long-term impact of our schools, our early education and also job training. i think about as we do this, the one problem that we have to face with right now is the sense of urgency. we don't have the time to wait two, three, four years to figure out what's happening here. we have the sense of urgency right now. at the department of labor i
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have great smart people around me now. having the conversations what's going on in our economy and at the end of the day, kind of what i saw during the beginning of the conversation, we need to make sure when i call them essential jobs, but-- we need to make sure that our hospitality is open, people are fed and fill the manufacturing jobs, we need to continue to fill these medical jobs, whether it's nurses or medical professionals, or people that work in nursing homes, those are the jobs that we need to init to move forward on. and it will adjust, but i think it's going to take some investment and quite honestly, the federal government open up the purse to make these investments in job training moving forward. >> secretary, i want to pick up on something, a phrase that you used to, sense of urgency in terms of getting things done to move the country ahead, and to my mind, it was an echo of something that white house press secretary jen psaki said
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in an interview, i believe it was with the state of america guys in terms of talking about the reconciliation bill how there's a sense of urgency that they can't keep negotiating democrats, negotiating with each other over what's in the reconciliation bill. from where you sit, does that sense of urgency that you're talking about also apply to what jen psaki is talking about in terms of a sense of urgency to get the reconciliation bill done so that those things you were talking about earlier, you know, housing and child care and things in the reconciliation bill get passed on the president's desk for signature and then out to the american people? >> i agree with that 100%. no doubt about it. we're talking infrastructure and when i say infrastructure, the two packages that we're talking about the physical structure that people can see and the infrastructure of laying down infrastructure for
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the future livelihood. there's a sense of urgency. once the bills are passed we need to get those out the doors, into states and cities and towns and work force developments as soon as possible because we can't lose anymore time. we need to continue to move forward. the first friday of every month we'll have a jobs day and you know, in the month of july i was able to, i was able to-- i was happy, it was the month of august, we had almost a million jobs and ended up being over a million jobs, that was great, but that doesn't mean you can sit back and rest on your laurels, you have to continue to move forward. the next two months, 243,000 jobs and next front i don't have the number in my head right now. we have work to do and it's not just the federal government, it's all of us together. business, industry, government, we need to work together. >> if i heard you correctly, i don't want to put words in your mouth, sounds like your message to congress and to
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congressional democrats, negotiating over the reconciliation bill, get it done sooner rather than later, the sense of urgency is now? >> you're going to get me in trouble, but i -- you know, that's what we need in america right now. those bills, we will have-- whatever the number is in the reconciliation package, whatever that number is, i don't remember any other time in the history of our country, franklin delano roosevelt that we've made an investment in the cares, child care, adult care, job training that's going to many could-- come out of that bill now. >> lets me get you into trouble more. >> i appreciate it, thank you. [laughter] >> a couple of times you mentioned your previous job and that was mayor of boston. now you're the secretary of labor. which-- well, first, with your you're the first former union leader
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to run the department in 40 years, so how has that department shaped your views on the employee-employer relationship? >> well, as mayor, it's interesting, i had a different perspective. i was so-called management as mayor of the city of boston. but when you're the mayor of boston or the secretary of labor, it's about respecting workers' rights and always appreciating workers and i always have been a person that's been very appreciative of workers in this country and supportive of workers in this country whether i was negotiating for them or against them. not against them, opposite them as mayor of the city of boston so i mean, my lived experiences all of my experiences have really helped me in this job that i'm in today. >> and so then how different is it from being a mayor of a great city like boston, compared to being the secretary of labor? >> very different. >> very different in some ways. you know, i love being a mayor and i love the mayors in this
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country because they're on the front lines, they're the closest people-- most of the closest elected officials to people and they have to respond instantly. when a crisis happens in your city, you have to respond in that moment and you can't work through a process. here at secretary of labor it's different, but this job, as i think about the moment in time that we're living in, you know, even though it's challenging and i get skwd asked a lot of questions what's happening in the employment world, it's a very exciting, interesting time to be secretary of labor because i'm going through and we are, my team here, we're going through a time in the country that it's been probably 100 years since we've gun through something like this and trying to work to make sure to support american workers and move forward. it's an incredible opportunity. >> secretary walsh, maybe folks know this, but they're about to find out, you are a huge boston red sox fan. and in about five hours the sox
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are going to start their american league championship series against the houston astros. put on your sportscaster's hat. will the sox go all the way to the world series and if they do will they win the world series? >> taking a line from one of my favorite nfl coaches, my favorite nfl coach of all time, we'll take it one pitch at a time. and bill belichick would say that, one pitch at a time and i'll let you know in the next four out of seven games. >> that's a nonanswer. laugh. [laughter] . >> when i was voted mayor in boston i had a friendly bet with the mayor of denver, mike hancock, that the patriots would win against the denver
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broncos and i lost and i had to wear a peyton manning jerseys. and the bruins against montreal canadiens and the bruins lost and i wore a canadiens junior and the bc and we lost, i stop betting. next were patriots against seattle seahawks and we won the super bowl and refused to bet in the atlanta game. won the super bowl. we won a couple of world series so i'm not going there. >>. [laughter] >> we're over time, but i've got to ask you this, all of those teams that you mentioned where you bet and you lost, were you in attendance? >> no, the montreal was in-- they were all away games. >> away games. >> no, they were all away games and the afc championship game that year was in denver and montreal game six we lost in
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montreal and the penn state, it was a bowl game, and new year's eve, i forget where the game was, but we lost that game as well. >> so, and i asked that question because if the red sox do indeed make it to the world series, are you going to -- are you going to sneak off to go to one of the games? >> listen, let's -- we're going to-- we're going to focus on tonight and then we'll fill in later. i'm not breaking any news here. i'm taking it one inning, one pitch, one inning, one game at a time. >> what i hear secretary walsh-- >> this team does seem to be something special going on, this red sox team. it does remind me, reminds me of the '07 team, reminds me of the '13 people and '07 had superstars. there are stars on the team, but they're playing as a team and alex cora is an amazing manager. i'm grateful that he's back with the red sox, he's just a
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good human being and he has them believing in sports like anything, if you believe, that's part of the battle. >> well, secretary walsh, i'm not going to ask you any more questions that will tempt to you violate your role of making predictions. secretary walsh, we're out of time. thank you so much for coming back to washington post live. >> thanks for having me. >> ♪♪ >> download c-span's new mobile app and stay up-to-date with live coverage of the day's events from live streams at the house and senate floor and key congressional hearings, to white house events and supreme court oral arguments, even our live interactive morning program washington journal where we hear your voices every day. c-span now has you covered. download the app for free today. >> and we take you live now to the u.s. senate which today will be taking up a u.s. district court judge nomination
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