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Mayor Lai Shares Tainan Experience with U.S. NLRB Delegation

On November 30th, a delegation of senior labor administrators from the United States visited Tainan Mayor William Lai. Led by Mr. Philip A. Miscimarra, a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the delegates included top officials of both federal and state administrative agencies for labor affairs. During the visit, aimed at promoting exchange of ideas on matters relating to labor administration, the two sides discussed issues of labor policy, employment, and replenishment of the labor force, and shared their experience of administering related matters.
During the talks, Mayor Lai particularly spoke about the achievements of Tainan’s labor policy. He informed the visitors that, in order to ensure sufficiency of jobs for Tainan’s 900,000-strong workforce, the city government had been working hard to lure new job-creating businesses to Tainan. These efforts had succeeded in attracting 1,645 enterprises to Tainan in the past six years. The newcomers had invested roughly US$30 billion in the city, producing around US$52 billion of economic output, and creating some 78,000 jobs. This had helped reduce the unemployment rate from 5.1% to 3.9%. The boost in employment had also raised Tainan’s labor force participation rate to 61%, the highest in Taiwan.
The mayor also told the visitors about the plans to build a Green Energy Science City in Shalun, to function as a hub for R&D in green energy technologies, and to establish an international film studio, to nurture cultural and creative industry talent.  These two major projects could be expected to create many high-quality job openings in important rising industries. 
He then explained that Taiwan was a city of diversified development. As well as developing high-tech industries, it was also a major grain producer. To underpin the vitality of its agricultural sector, his administration was implementing a “new farmer” policy, aimed at luring young people back to rural communities to take up farming. Measures for this included setting up classes to equip them with farming knowledge and skills, and matchmaking the provision of fallow farmland for cultivation by new farmers. This policy had already achieved significant success, helping to set up 678 new farmers, among whom 87 had gained annual incomes above one million NT dollars.
Mayor Lai also talked about how Tainan’s government was specially helping women, the disabled, and other less-advantaged members of the workforce, by establishing various platforms to help them gain employment and build up their self-supporting abilities. He remarked that the gifts presented to the visitors that day were all produced by such workers. 
In regard to protecting the rights of workers, the city authorities ensured that the International Labour Organization’s objectives for safeguarding the dignity of workers were fully put into effect in Tainan. It had also established a Labor Safety Fund to support workers’ litigation rights, and played an active role in promoting the signing of collective agreements between employers and labor unions. In addition, it had formed a group of experts on occupational safety and health, from which teams made visits to workplaces to check on safety conditions and give guidance on maintaining workplace safety.
Tainan was the first city in Taiwan, and is commonly referred to as the country’s cultural capital. It has 22 national heritage sites, and is the only city in Taiwan with as many as three national scenic areas within its boundaries. Moreover, it has been described by CNN and The Washington Post as a culinary paradise and the food capital of Taiwan. The city warmly welcomes visitors to savor the delicious flavors of its world-famous cuisine and experience the richness of its cultural life.
Tainan City Government values the learning opportunity of exchanging ideas and experience with such a high-level delegation of labor administrators from the United States. It hopes to be able to maintain and build upon the connections formed through this visit, to establish channels for regular communication on labor affairs, and to effectively promote the deepening of cooperative links between Taiwan’s labor authorities and their American counterparts at the federal and state levels.