WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Retail Federation today urged the Senate to confirm Alexander Acosta as secretary of labor and said his leadership would bring back balance to the agency.
“Retailers believe Alexander Acosta will guide our nation’s labor policy in a more balanced and pro-growth direction,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “We look forward to working with Secretary Acosta on workforce training and career development initiatives like the retail industry’s RISE Up program to create new career opportunities for employees and help American businesses grow.”
The NRF Foundation brought together dozens of retailers and nonprofits to develop RISE Up (Retail Industry Skills and Education), a groundbreaking new training and credentialing initiative launched earlier this year. The private-sector program designed by the retail industry will help people — regardless of education, background, economic means or age — acquire the skills needed to secure jobs in retail and advance into promising careers. From in-store to digital and mobile commerce, RISE Up is designed to build competencies and pathways for the workforce of the future. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the retail industry currently has over 600,000 job openings, more than twice as many as it did during the recession.
NRF sent a letter to the Senate earlier this week supporting Acosta’s nomination and saying retailers looked forward to working with Acosta to amend labor policies pursued by the Obama administration that created “immense uncertainty” for employers on issues such as overtime expansion and joint employer status between companies and subcontractors or franchisees.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.