Golden Hosts Loggers Roundtable with U.S. Labor Secretary
FAYETTE — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) hosted U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh in Fayette and Augusta Tuesday to learn firsthand from Maine loggers and discuss opportunities and challenges facing the logging workforce. The congressman convened a roundtable between Secretary Walsh and members of the Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine, to discuss issues including logger recruitment efforts, worker classification issues, and the importance of job training and workforce development for the industry. In addition to the roundtable, the group toured two harvest sites and were given a demonstration of logging equipment.
The roundtable participants also discussed PLC’s Mechanized Logging Operation Program, a partnership with Northern Maine Community College that trains the next generation of timber harvesters. Rep. Golden secured House passage of Community Project Funding for the program in the Fiscal Year 2022 Labor appropriations bill, which is now pending consideration by the Senate.
Today’s visit from the Labor Secretary is only the latest step in Congressman Golden’s work to support Maine loggers and log haulers. Last week, the Congressman chaired a House Small Business subcommittee hearing on the sustainable forest economy, featuring three witnesses from Maine. Congressman Golden and Senator Collins proposed a COVID-19 logger relief fund in July 2020 and secured its passage in December 2020. Loggers and log haulers are encouraged to apply for that logger relief funding before the application closes on October 15.
In both public office and organized labor, Secretary Walsh has been a longtime champion of workers. Secretary Walsh began his career in Laborers Local 223 in Boston, and rose to head the Building and Construction Trades Council from 2011 to 2013. From 2013 to 2021, he served as Mayor of Boston. On March 23, 2021, he was sworn in as the 29th U.S. Secretary of Labor.