07.15.21

Murray Urges Confirmation for Labor and NLRB Nominees David Weil, Gwynne Wilcox, and David Prouty

Senator Murray: “Confirming these highly qualified nominees is an important step to reversing the damage of the last four years, rebuilding our country stronger and fairer,  and making our economy truly work for workers and their families.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, during a hearing, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, urged her colleagues to support the nominations of David Weil to be Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division for the Department of Labor (DOL), Gwynne Wilcox to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and David Prouty to be a Member of the NLRB. During the hearing, Senator Murray highlighted that confirming these highly qualified nominees would help to build a stronger, fairer economy that works for everyone, and reverse the previous Administration’s efforts to undermine workers’ rights.

 

“I’m pleased to have before us three nominees with long records of fighting for workers. After four years of anti-worker attacks from the last Administration, you all represent a much welcome—and much needed—change of direction,” said Senator Murray in her opening remarks. “Confirming these highly qualified nominees is an important step to reversing the damage of the last four years,  rebuilding our country stronger and fairer, and making our economy truly work for workers and their families.”

 

In her remarks, Senator Murray highlighted Dr. Weil’s previous leadership as Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, where he ramped up efforts to enforce wage and hour laws, worked to expand access to overtime pay to 12 million workers, and closed loopholes to prevent employers from misclassifying workers in order to pay them less.

 

“During his past tenure as Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Dr. Weil proved himself a capable leader committed to ensuring workers across the country were paid the wages they had earned,” continued Senator Murray. “While it has been frustrating to see the previous Administration undermine these efforts and reverse this progress over the last four years, confirming a proven champion for workers to return to the Wage and Hour Division is an important step to putting us back on the right track.”

During the hearing, Senator Murray also highlighted Ms. Wilcox’s record fighting on behalf of workers and Mr. Prouty’s experience as a lawyer for unions representing textile workers, hotel workers, restaurant workers, major league baseball players, and property service workers.

“As Democratic nominees were blocked, and anti-worker nominees were jammed through, we saw the NLRB—which was founded to protect workers and their rights—take an alarming turn. Over the past few years under Republican appointees, the NLRB has reversed decades of worker protections,” said Senator Murray.  “Fortunately, Ms. Wilcox and Mr. Prouty are exactly the kind of people we need to begin healing this damage, and bringing the NLRB back to its roots. They would both bring to the Board a career of experience fighting to uphold the promise of the National Labor Relations Act.”

 

Additionally, Senator Murray noted that while confirming these nominees will be a critical step in rebuilding a stronger and fairer workforce, it is also critical to expand workers’ rights, benefits, and protections—including by providing paid leave, increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, addressing pay inequality, and more.

 

Senator Murray’s opening remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

 

“I’m pleased to have before us three nominees with long records of fighting for workers.

 

“After four years of anti-worker attacks from the last Administration, you all represent a much welcome—and much needed—change of direction.

 

“During his past tenure as Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Dr. Weil proved himself a capable leader committed to ensuring workers across the country were paid the wages they had earned.

 

“Under his leadership, the Division significantly increased its efforts to enforce wage and hour laws.

 

“The Division’s work uncovered labor violations, including one investigation of garment factories that supplied major clothes retailers which secured $1.3 million in back pay for cheated workers.

 

“While leading the agency, he also worked to expand access to overtime pay by issuing a rule to dramatically increase overtime eligibility to 12 million workers, close loopholes by issuing guidance aimed at stopping employers from misclassifying workers in order to pay them less, and crack down on bad actors, including federal contractors who weren’t paying prevailing wages under our labor laws.

“While it has been frustrating to see the previous Administration undermine these efforts and reverse this progress over the last four years, confirming a proven champion for workers to return to the Wage and Hour Division is an important step to putting us back on the right track.

 

“Unfortunately, the National Labor Relations Board saw a similar, alarming trend under President Trump.

 

“As Democratic nominees were blocked, and anti-worker nominees were jammed through, we saw the NLRB—which was founded to protect workers and their rights—take an alarming turn.

 

“Over the past few years under Republican appointees, the NLRB has reversed decades of worker protections.

 

“Fortunately, Ms. Wilcox and Mr. Prouty are exactly the kind of people we need to begin healing this damage, and bringing the NLRB back to its roots.

 

“They would both bring to the Board a career of experience fighting to uphold the promise of the National Labor Relations Act.

“Ms. Wilcox has represented  workers fighting against an employer who tried to require them to waive their rights to act collectively, workers who organized a walkout calling for a public report on sexual harassment in the workplace and an end to forced arbitration, and workers who were retaliated against by their employer for advocating for higher wages.

 

“Mr. Prouty’s record fighting for workers is equally compelling.

 

“He has worked for several unions—including as General Counsel to UNITE HERE—which represents textile workers, hotel workers, restaurant workers, and more, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and, currently, the Service Employee International Union Local 32 BJ—a union which represents approximately 175,000 property service workers.

 

“Confirming these highly qualified nominees is an important step to reversing the damage of the last four years,  rebuilding our country stronger and fairer, and making our economy truly work for workers and their families….

“But it is ultimately only a start. There is more we must do in Congress to address the inequities in our economy that make things so much harder for women, workers of color, workers with disabilities, and others.

 

“To ensure every worker has paid family, sick, and medical leave, quality, affordable child care, a livable minimum wage of $15 an hour—without exceptions, and a secure retirement.

 

“To ensure no worker is cheated out of overtime, tips, or equal pay.

 

“And to defend and strengthen the right to form and join a union—a right which allows workers to secure better pay and benefits, and safer working conditions.

 

“So I look forward to not only confirming these nominees, but working with them, the rest of the Biden Administration, and my colleagues here in Congress to tackle these challenges.”

 

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