Biden Nominates Julie Su as Labor Secretary, Changing Walsh

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden intends to appoint Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su to guide the division, transferring to fill a emptiness at an company crucial to his home agenda. 

Su would change into the primary Asian American Cupboard secretary in Biden’s administration. She would change Marty Walsh, who is the primary Biden cupboard division chief to go away. Walsh is predicted to change into the top of the Nationwide Hockey League gamers’ union. 

“Julie is a champion for staff, and she or he has been a crucial companion to Secretary Walsh because the early days of my administration,” Biden mentioned Tuesday in a press release. “I stay up for persevering with to work with Julie to construct an financial system that works for working folks.”

Su, 54, led California’s labor division earlier than becoming a member of the Biden administration. The Senate should vote to verify her, and Biden urged the chamber to “take up this nomination rapidly.”

Su is seen as supportive of labor rights, spending almost 20 years as a civil-rights lawyer advocating for employee protections earlier than coming into state authorities. As California’s Labor Commissioner earlier in her profession, she went after corporations for wage theft, and later — as probably the most populous state’s labor secretary — labored intently with unions and firms on jobs coaching.

Progressives within the Senate are anticipated to again Su, in addition to Asian American and Pacific Islander lawmakers and advocacy teams who urged Biden to appoint her. 

“I’m assured Julie Su will likely be a wonderful Secretary of Labor. I stay up for working together with her to guard staff’ rights and construct the commerce union motion on this nation,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a progressive stalwart who leads the panel that may take into account her nomination, mentioned in a press release. 

If confirmed, Su would additionally enhance the variety of girls serving in Biden’s cupboard. She is predicted to guide the division on an performing foundation till the Senate takes up her nomination. 

Some congressional Republicans warned Biden towards appointing Su to the function, saying she oversaw “damaging” labor insurance policies whereas main California’s labor division. The Senate voted 50-47 alongside get together strains in 2021 to verify her as deputy labor secretary. 

“Deputy Secretary Su has a troubling document and is at present overseeing the Division of Labor’s growth of anti-worker rules that may dismantle the gig financial system. This doesn’t encourage confidence in her capability to carry her present place, not to mention be promoted,” mentioned Senator Invoice Cassidy, the highest Republican on the Well being, Training, Labor and Pensions Committee. 

The White Home additionally defended Su’s document in California, when requested about studies that the state mishandled a flood of unemployment claims throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“When the pandemic hit, pink and blue states have been coping with fragile, outdated expertise, and below Julie’s management, California took necessary steps to course of a historic variety of claims — one in 5 in the whole nation,” mentioned White Home spokeswoman Olivia Dalton.

Learn Extra: Union, Corporations Hope to Attain US West Coast Dockworkers Deal Quickly

Su is poised to inherit some robust coverage issues, together with a months-long negotiation over a brand new contract for staff at West Coast ports. She performed a task on the staff that intervened in negotiations between freight railroads and unions final 12 months to avert a painful work stoppage. 

Different key points she’s labored on embrace cracking down on trafficked staff, pushing for an elevated minimal wage, and a Labor Division initiative to offer data to staff and employers about enhancing pay and curbing harassment. 

Earlier: US Union Membership Falls Once more Regardless of Improve in Strikes

Su’s nomination additionally comes because the US labor motion continues to face headwinds, posing a problem for Biden, who vowed to be probably the most pro-union president in historical past. 

Union membership fell to a document low in 2022, in response to Labor Division information, whilst staff organized probably the most work stoppages since 2005, together with at well-known corporations like Inc. and Starbucks Corp. Simply 10.1% of wage and wage staff final 12 months have been union members. 

Biden final 12 months additionally labored with Congress to impose a contract on freight-rail staff that didn’t embrace expanded paid go away after a tentative settlement fell aside, angering some progressives and union figures.

–With help from Katia Dmitrieva, Erik Wasson and Justin Sink.

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