03.16.21

Senator Murray Urges Swift Confirmation for Deputy Labor Secretary Nominee Julie Su, Citing Her Record of Protecting Workers During the Pandemic

Senator Murray urged colleagues to support Julie Su’s nomination and build on the progress of the American Rescue Plan to support workers and ensure our economy works for everyone

 

Senator Murray: “Secretary Su’s record as a champion for workers is long and clear, and the need to confirm her is obvious, and urgent.”

 

Senator Murray: “We need a fully-staffed Department of Labor to protect workers and help us end this pandemic, to foster healthy communities, and to build a stronger, fairer economy.”

 

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S OPENING REMARKS HERE***

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, during a hearing, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, urged her colleagues to support the nomination of California Secretary of Labor Julie Su to serve as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor, stressing the importance of a fully-staffed Department of Labor (DOL) to protect workers and end the pandemic. In her opening remarks, Senator Murray commended Secretary Su’s long record as a champion for workers and noted that we need a Deputy Secretary of Labor like Secretary Su to build on the progress of the American Rescue Plan and ensure our economy works for everyone.

 

Secretary Su’s record as a champion for workers is long and clear, and the need to confirm her is obvious, and urgent,” said Senator Murray in her opening remarks. “We need a fully-staffed Department of Labor to protect workers and help us end this pandemic, to foster healthy communities, and to build a stronger, fairer economy. We need a Deputy Secretary of Labor like Julie Su who is committed to ensuring workers have a fair and just workplace, a livable wage, a secure retirement, safe working conditions, access to accommodations, the right to join together and collectively bargain, and are treated with dignity and respect.”

 

During the hearing, Senator Murray highlighted Secretary Su’s long history of fighting for workers as a labor lawyer, California Labor Commissioner, and now as California Secretary of Labor. Senator Murray noted that during her tenure, Secretary Su implemented increases to the state minimum wage, fought to create good-paying, high-quality jobs, and expanded access to benefits for gig workers and workers who are paid low-wages. During the pandemic, Secretary Su also protected essential workers who have kept our economy going—including by establishing and enforcing mandatory emergency COVID workplace safety standards.

 

“If we are going to build an economy that works for all working families—we need someone serving as Deputy Secretary of Labor who will fight for them. That someone is Julie Su,” said Senator Murray in her opening remarks. “Julie Su’s experience leading one of the largest state labor departments in the nation, her decades-long commitment to fighting for workers’ rights—and her personal story as the multilingual daughter of Chinese immigrants—have given her the experience, background, and values to be a successful Deputy Secretary of Labor.”

 

Senator Murray highlighted how the American Rescue Plan will support working families—including by cutting child poverty in half, extending unemployment benefits for millions, and providing much needed tax relief for those benefits—but also stressed the importance of building on this progress to ensure the economy works for everyone, including women and workers of color.

 

Senator Murray promised to keep fighting to increase the minimum wage, ensure all workers have paid leave, and expand access to quality, affordable child care. Additionally, she urged her colleagues to ensure that all workers can exercise their right to join a union by passing her PRO Act and help end workplace harassment by passing her Be HEARD Act. In order to support these efforts, Senator Murray stressed that it is key to have a Deputy Secretary of Labor like Julie Su who is committed to workers—not wealthy corporations.

 

“President Biden has taken important, historic steps—as has Congress—but there is more work to be done to not only fully rescue America from this pandemic, but to recover from this crisis and rebuild a stronger and fairer economy,” continued Senator Murray.

 

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

 

“Secretary Su, thank you for joining us today. I’m also pleased to welcome your daughter LiMei who is here with you, and I know your family including your parents and your daughter AnLing are watching as well—they must be very proud.

 

“Our country is not yet through the COVID-19 crisis, but with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, and President Biden announcing he will direct all states, Tribes, and territories to make all people 18 and over eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1st, we’re finally on the right track.

 

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel.


“But we have to make sure we don’t run out of steam before we reach it.

 

“And we are going to need a full team working together to make that happen—which is why it’s so important we work to get qualified nominees like Julie Su quickly confirmed.  

 

“President Biden has taken important, historic steps—as has Congress—but there is more work to be done to not only fully rescue America from this pandemic, but to recover from this crisis and rebuild a stronger and fairer economy.


“I’m incredibly glad we were able to extend the unemployment benefits millions of families need to help them get by in the American Rescue Plan, but we also need to increase wages. One in nine workers is making poverty level wages, and some workers are still being paid discriminatory subminimum wages.

 

“I’m glad we were able to take steps that will cut child poverty in half, but we need to do more to help families get quality, affordable child care, and provide national paid sick days and family and medical leave.

 

“Especially since, in the midst of a pandemic, one in four workers don’t have paid sick leave.

 

“I’m thrilled we were able to protect millions of workers and retirees from having the pensions they earned dramatically cut, but we need to help more people plan for retirement. One in four people have no retirement savings, and women are 80 percent more likely to face poverty in retirement.

 

“And in addition to the American Rescue Plan—there is more progress we are making—and that we must build on.

 

“President Biden has taken important steps toward protecting workers, but we know that work is not done yet—and even when it is, we will need to do more to ensure people are safe from workplace hazards, pandemics, harassment, and discrimination—something my Be HEARD in the Workplace Act works to address.

 

“President Biden has also moved to withdraw the previous Administration’s joint employer and independent contractor rules, which shielded the largest corporations from being held accountable for violations of workers’ rights and significantly restricted workers’ right to minimum wage and overtime.

 

“In addition to these much needed steps, the Senate needs to join the House in passing the PRO Act, which I introduced last month to strengthen the right to join a union and collectively bargain.

 

“And while we all know our economy can’t work without women—it’s also painfully clear it is not working for them. One in four women have considered down shifting their careers because of this pandemic. More than 2 million women left the workforce over the last year.

 

“And women of color face an even larger pay gap, even higher rates of unemployment, and an even steeper climb to recovery.

 

“We need to do so much more to ensure equity in our economy, and address the sexism, racism, ableism, and bigotry that has hurt so many for so long.

 

“But, if we are going to build an economy that works for all working families—we need someone serving as Deputy Secretary of Labor who will fight for them.


“That someone is Julie Su.

 

“Julie Su’s experience leading one of the largest state labor departments in the nation, her decades-long commitment to fighting for workers’ rights—and her personal story as the multilingual daughter of Chinese immigrants—have given her the experience, background, and values to be a successful Deputy Secretary of Labor.

 

“As a labor lawyer, Julie Su fought to defend Thai garment workers who were trafficked into the United States and forced to work behind barbed wire and under armed guard—and she then pushed to change the law to ensure corporations are held responsible for working conditions in their supply chains.

 

“As California Labor Commissioner, Julie Su cracked down on wage theft and launched a multilingual campaign to help workers understand their rights, and feel safe speaking up about employers stealing their wages.

 

“And as California’s Secretary of Labor, Julie Su has implemented increases to the state minimum wage, created good-paying, high-quality jobs, expanded access to benefits for gig workers and workers who are paid low-wages, and protected essential workers who are bearing the brunt of this pandemic—including by establishing and enforcing mandatory emergency COVID workplace safety standards.

 

“In short, Secretary Su’s record as a champion for workers is long and clear, and the need to confirm her is obvious, and urgent.

 

“We need a fully staffed Department of Labor to protect workers and help us end this pandemic, to foster healthy communities, and to build a stronger, fairer economy.

 

“We need a Deputy Secretary of Labor like Julie Su who is committed to ensuring workers have a fair and just workplace, a livable wage, a secure retirement, safe working conditions, access to accommodations, the right to join together and collectively bargain, and are treated with dignity and respect.

 

“I urge my colleagues to work with me on a bipartisan basis to confirm her without delay.

 

“Finally, I seek unanimous consent to put in the record 44 letters in support of Secretary Su’s nomination, from more than 650 labor unions, former colleagues, labor leaders, and more.”

 

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