(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden intends to appoint Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su to guide the division, shifting to fill a emptiness at an company vital to his home agenda.
Su would develop into the primary Asian American Cupboard secretary in Biden’s administration. She would substitute Marty Walsh, who is the primary Biden cupboard division chief to depart. Walsh is predicted to develop into the top of the Nationwide Hockey League gamers’ union.
“Julie is a champion for staff, and he or she has been a vital associate to Secretary Walsh because the early days of my administration,” Biden stated Tuesday in a press release. “I look ahead to persevering with to work with Julie to construct an economic system that works for working individuals.”
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 shortly.”
Su is seen as supportive of labor rights, spending practically 20 years as a civil-rights legal professional advocating for employee protections earlier than coming into state authorities. As California’s Labor Commissioner earlier in her profession, she went after firms for wage theft, and later — as essentially the most populous state’s labor secretary — labored carefully with unions and corporations 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 probably be a wonderful Secretary of Labor. I look ahead to working along 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, stated in a press release.
If confirmed, Su would additionally improve the variety of ladies 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 position, saying she oversaw “harmful” labor insurance policies whereas main California’s labor division. The Senate voted 50-47 alongside get together traces in 2021 to verify her as deputy labor secretary.
“Deputy Secretary Su has a troubling report and is at the moment overseeing the Division of Labor’s growth of anti-worker laws that may dismantle the gig economic system. This doesn’t encourage confidence in her capacity to carry her present place, not to mention be promoted,” stated Senator Invoice Cassidy, the highest Republican on the Well being, Schooling, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The White Home additionally defended Su’s report in California, when requested about experiences that the state mishandled a flood of unemployment claims throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit, crimson and blue states had been coping with fragile, outdated know-how, and below Julie’s management, California took essential steps to course of a historic variety of claims — one in 5 in your complete nation,” stated White Home spokeswoman Olivia Dalton.
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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 workforce 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 info to staff and employers about enhancing pay and curbing harassment.
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Su’s nomination additionally comes because the US labor motion continues to face headwinds, posing a problem for Biden, who vowed to be essentially the most pro-union president in historical past.
Union membership fell to a report low in 2022, in line with Labor Division knowledge, whilst staff organized essentially the most work stoppages since 2005, together with at well-known firms like Amazon.com Inc. and Starbucks Corp. Simply 10.1% of wage and wage staff final 12 months had 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.