Connecting in Catawba

Manufacturing, Small Business, & Health Care Workforce

Connecting in Catawba

Red safety lights flashed as Alan Chung explained his job as a forklift driver to a visitor at the United Beverage bottling and distribution center in Hickory where he works. Josh Dobson, current N.C. Representative and candidate for N.C. Labor Commissioner, visited with Chung and other workers across Catawba County during one-on-one listening sessions this weekend.

“I want to get to know our workforce across the state of North Carolina,” Dobson said about the visits. “As a candidate for Labor Commissioner, I think its vitally important to get to know as many of North Carolina’s workers as I possibly can. I’m talking to them about what we as a state can do for them to make their jobs safer, and really hear first-person how working through this pandemic has changed their jobs, safety protocols, and procedures.”

Dobson learned about how NC-based United Beverage operates through its supply chain, as well as the safety measures in place to help workers avoid on-the-job accidents.
“I know, personally, my family loves to know I’m coming home from work safe every day,” Dobson said. “Worker safety is so important – everyone’s family deserves to have that comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is safe at work. That’s a priority for me as a candidate for Labor Commissioner.”

In downtown Hickory, small business owners and workers have been affected by Covid-19. Dobson also took time this weekend to visit shops and talk with area small businesses about workforce challenges.
“It’s a hard time for a lot of people,” said Noelle Walker, owner of Natural Olive in downtown Hickory. “But I think a lot of people really appreciate seeing someone get out and come in to talk and get to know them, especially during this time.”

Health care workers across the state have faced additional challenges throughout the pandemic. At Springs of Catawba Assisted Living in Hickory, Dobson was able to hear firsthand accounts from nurses, care managers, and other health care workers at the senior living community.

“Covid-19 has been a challenge for all health care workers, especially those in senior living with a population especially vulnerable to the virus,” said Imari Littman, executive director for Springs of Catawba. “Our team here is truly made up of health care heroes, and it’s good for them to have this opportunity to sit down with someone from the state legislature and just be heard.”

Dobson plans to continue finding ways to connect to workers across the state, while continuing to follow safety measures in place for Covid-19.

“I welcome anyone who wants to talk about the N.C. Department of Labor or any N.C. workforce issues or challenges, to reach out to me,” Dobson said. “I am committed to getting to know the workers of NC, through one-on-one visits, virtual events – whatever it takes to connect with the people I’m looking to serve.”