Candidate Charles Meeker Would Take Labor Commissioner's Picture Out of North Carolina's Elevators | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Candidate Charles Meeker Would Take Labor Commissioner's Picture Out of North Carolina's Elevators

Posted by on Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 12:55 PM



click to enlarge CHARLESMEEKER.ORG
  • charlesmeeker.org

North Carolina Department of Labor Commissioner-slash-Elevator Queen Cherie Berry is so well known, she's inspired songs dedicated to her. Who doesn't love the smiling commissioner with the delightfully fruity-sounding name whose picture is in every elevator in the state?

Well, probably most people who have actually had to deal with Cherie Berry's Department of Labor aren't the biggest fans of Cherie Berry.

A News and Observer investigation last fall revealed that Berry's department has fallen well short in ensuring that the state's employees are paid their wages, that they are correctly classified as employees rather than as contractors (so they can receive benefits) and that workers are safe in the workplace.

Charles Meeker—former mayor of Raleigh and, disclosure, the brother of INDY Week co-owner Richard Meeker—says he is running for the commissioner of labor seat in order to address these areas where the Department of Labor has fallen short, and he refuses to get on the bandwagon of shameless self-promotion.

If he's elected, Meeker says, he will replace the elevator pictures of the labor commissioner with pictures of working North Carolinians: with first responders including police officers and firefighters, with teachers, possibly with truck drivers with long, safe driving records. You know, regular, deserving working folk who are actually making a difference in North Carolina. These workers would be chosen by a committee on a periodic basis, and every elevator wouldn't necessarily feature the same faces. 

"It is sort of symbolic but it ought to be quite simple, the Department of Labor ought to be honoring working people, not promoting a politician," Meeker said at a press conference Wednesday morning. "It's an idea I think makes a lot of sense, as the Department of Labor should be honoring the right people, the people who work hard and do a great job."

If elected, Meeker also plans to update other information on elevators' certificates of operation, including the safety message. Currently, the message directs riders to report elevator injuries to the Department of Labor within 24 hours. The new message would instruct riders to call 911 right away, because we all have cellphones now, unlike 20 or 30 years ago. Meeker says he will also add a hotline number to the elevator safety message, so people can call if they have any kind of employment concern.

"Most people are surprised to hear that in 2014, 128 North Carolinians were killed in the workplace and many more were seriously injured," Meeker says. "The Department of Labor is currently broken. My focus will be on fixing it, not on self-promotion through an elevator picture. Let’s replace her picture and make our Department of Labor do its job for our citizens, workers and businesses."

Meeker says that, while Berry's elevator picture may have contributed to a rise in her profile over her last ten years, he now believes people see the picture as a liability, since the full extent of the problems at the department have been exposed. He doesn't think not having his picture in elevators will hurt his chances of re-election, if he is elected labor commissioner this year. 

"Now, most people get in the elevator and make fun of [the picture] because they realize the department is not actually doing its job," he says. 

Tags: , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Politics is the art of the possible. Sometimes the hardest thing for a political neophyte to withstand is only getting …

by Raymond Voigt on In Shock Move, Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes Resigns (News)

I'm honestly surprised. I had expected that he would only accept if the vote flipped.

by AgentDani on Breaking: Pat McCrory Concedes Governor's Race (News)

Thank you Councilwoman Jillian Johnson for your powerful courage to speak out the truth for us all who do not …

by Mariam Whitelle on Durham Councilwoman: Why Are Cops Involved in Frank Clark Shooting Still on Force? (News)

Energy Transfer Partners said this changes nothing and they're going to drill anyway -- http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2016/12/live…

That …

by Jon Howell on The Morning Roundup: Profiles in Courage (News)

Impeach Judge Michael Denning. Does anyone find it very odd that Judge Michael Denning has not been impeached as a …

by Justice in the Courts on Wake County Judge Michael Denning: 'China Wouldn't Be So Bad If It Weren't for All the Chinese' (News)

Comments

Politics is the art of the possible. Sometimes the hardest thing for a political neophyte to withstand is only getting …

by Raymond Voigt on In Shock Move, Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes Resigns (News)

I'm honestly surprised. I had expected that he would only accept if the vote flipped.

by AgentDani on Breaking: Pat McCrory Concedes Governor's Race (News)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation