Meet Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry

Cherie Killian Berry was sworn in as North Carolina’s first female labor commissioner on Jan. 6, 2001, after serving eight years in the N.C. House of Representatives. Berry won re-election in 2004, 2008 and 2012. On Nov. 8, 2016, Cherie Berry won re-election to a fifth four-year term.

Berry’s re-election sets a new record of being elected to five four-year terms as commissioner of labor. She is also the longest serving Republican on the Council of State.

Commissioner Berry is a native of Catawba County and currently resides in Newton. She is the former business owner of LGM Ltd., a company that produces spark plug wires for the automotive industry.

Employee safety is Commissioner Berry’s top priority.

“I want to make North Carolina’s work climate as safe as possible,” Commissioner Berry said. “There is a world of potential for this agency and for businesses across North Carolina. I am proud of what we have accomplished and will continue to strive to improve.”

Commissioner Berry also believes the department and its nearly 400 employees should provide a service-oriented approach that gives concrete benefits to employers and employees.

“We want to provide a real service to every business and every worker in the state of North Carolina,” Commissioner Berry said.

In 2010, the National Association of Homebuilders and Builders Mutual Insurance Co. named Commissioner Berry first place winner of the Safety Award for Excellence in the category of Federal/State Plan OSHA Safety Program Official of the Year.

Commissioner Berry received the 2006 Holmes-McBride Memorial Award from the N.C. Association of Agricultural Fairs for her contributions to improve the agricultural fairs throughout the state. In 2005, the N.C. Manufacturer’s Association awarded Commissioner Berry the Chairman’s Award for her outstanding contributions and dedicated service to the business community and citizens of North Carolina.

During Commissioner Berry’s first term, she was named the 2004 State Official of the Year by the National Home Builders Association. The award recognized her strong commitment to safety and health in the home building industry. In 2003 she received the “Build with the Best” Pinnacle Award from the Carolinas Associated General Contractors for her contributions to the betterment of the construction industry and to the economic welfare of North Carolina.

The N.C. Department of Labor is charged by statute with promoting the “health, safety, and general well-being” of more than 4 million workers across the state. The laws and programs it administers affect every worker—and virtually every person—in the state.

The Constitution of North Carolina provides for the election of a commissioner of labor every four years. The commissioner is head of the Department of Labor and also serves as a member of the Council of State. North Carolina law gives the commissioner broad regulatory authority and enforcement powers to carry out the department’s duties for the people.