Sen. McConnell and local business leaders discuss worker shortages

Sen. McConnell meets with business leaders
Sen. McConnell meets with business leaders(WBKO)
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was in Bowling Green Thursday as he conducted a roundtable with business leaders in the area.

With over 7,200 jobs in the ten-county area, based on the Chamber’s latest job report, business leaders say their biggest concern continues to reflect the worker shortage.

McConnell says people are not getting back to work and he wishes that Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY) would make different decisions about unemployment benefits.

“What we need to do is quit paying people more not to work than to work,” said the Kentucky Senator. “Which is the whole issue behind the $300 per month federal bonus on top of the state unemployment.”

Those extra benefits end in September, but states can opt out at any time.

“I’ve been in the back and forth with Governor Beshear about his decision not to discontinue the $300 per week, federal plus up we are surrounded by states that did do that,” said McConnell.

While McConnell says people are getting paid more to stay home, the plant manager of Bendix, Wade Watson, claims this to be true based on some of his conservations.

“We’ve had direct communication for employees that have said, I can make enough to stay at home that I’m not going to continue to engage in the workforce. Beyond that, it’s been very difficult just to find applicants,” said Watson.

Meanwhile, businesses are giving feedback on whether or not the $1,500 back-to-work bonus worked.

“We have not seen any impact or any surge of applicants as a result of that,” said Watson. “But then also, it was a seven-day window.”

Some on unemployment are telling WBKO News that they wouldn’t make enough to go back after paying for childcare.

WBKO News Reporter Kelly Dean asked McConnell the following question: “If individuals are making more staying home by collecting unemployment, should businesses be paying people more hourly wages to come back to work?”

“I think that’s happening,” answered McConnell. “But what I heard is that it’s not succeeding overwhelmingly.”

“We’ve continually monitored the market and increase wages and benefits of employees,” added Watson.

Bendix says they currently have 45 openings at the moment.

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