Candidate for NC labor commissioner, Republican Travis Wilson, answers our questions

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Name: Travis Wilson

Political party: Republican

Age as of March 5, 2024: 37

Campaign website: Wilsonforlabor.com

Current occupation: Grocery stocker

Professional experience: Former media technician, janitor and stocker.

Education: Master’s degree, library science, East Carolina University; BA, history, Montreat College.

What offices have you run for or held before? Have you had any other notable government or civic involvement? Previous candidate for Union County commissioner and current member of the Union County Historical Preservation Commission.

What do you think is the biggest issue in North Carolina that you would be able to shape if elected?

I look forward to working with the commissioner of insurance and the Industrial Commission to protect those who wish to be classified as independent contractors.

What do you think is or is not working well under the current labor commissioner? If not, how would you change it?

Until recently the commissioner had been fairly conservative in the creation of new rules, but that changed when he moved to mandate* an Exposure Control Plan upon employers. Placing additional workplace education burdens on employees and giving outside entities increased influence on defining and combating airborne illnesses is a step backwards.

*Editor’s Note: There is a proposal before the Department of Labor for consideration that deals with airborne infectious diseases. It was submitted as a rulemaking petition by groups including Episcopal Farmworker Ministry; North Carolina State AFL-CIO; Union of Southern Service Workers; Western North Carolina Workers’ Center; the Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County/El Vinculo Hispano; and the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP.

What can be done to make sure the state is regularly inspecting workplaces for health and safety?

Schedules and time allotments need to be reviewed to ensure efficiency.

Should North Carolina increase penalties for health and safety violations by employers? Do you believe that would reduce workplace deaths and injuries?

No.

What should be done to address staff vacancies in your agency and in state government as a whole?

First determine if existing staff are being utilized efficiently and then engage in conversations with high school students who are choosing an education path to pursue after graduation.

North Carolina has the second lowest unionization rate in the country. Do you think that should change, and how?

Low rates of unionization do not concern me. What concerns me instead are efforts throughout the country, sometimes backed by unions, to redefine independent contractors as employees.