WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a statement following his vote against the nomination of Department of Labor (DOL) Acting Secretary Julie Su for Secretary of DOL during a HELP Committee executive session. The final vote was 11 to 10. All Republican members of the Committee voted against her nomination. Su’s nomination will move to the Senate floor for a final vote at a later date.
“Julie Su has an extensive record of partisan activism and promoting policies that undermine workers to the benefit of politically-connected labor unions,” said Dr. Cassidy. “A qualified Secretary of Labor needs to successfully handle negotiations, manage a department properly, and refrain from partisan activism. I haven’t seen evidence of Julie Su’s ability to do any of those three things.”
Last week, Cassidy delivered remarks during Su’s nomination hearing where he discussed serious concerns about her ability to act as an unbiased secretary as opposed to an activist. Specifically, he raised concerns over her time in California, where she oversaw the implementation of AB 5, a controversial law that removed the flexibility of individuals to work as independent contractors. He also discussed Su’s checkered past with leading an agency and lack of negotiation experience. With 150 labor contracts expiring this year, Cassidy expressed the serious concern of replacing former Secretary Marty Walsh with someone who has no direct experience handling labor disputes.
Julie Su’s History of Pro-Union, Anti-Business Activism:
- As Secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Su oversaw the implementation of AB 5 —a controversial law that reclassified every independent contractor in the state of California and attempted to dismantle the gig economy.
- AB-5 is so unpopular that 59 percent of California voters supported a measure to exempt rideshare drivers from AB 5.
- AB-5 is so flawed the governor and state legislature had to pass multiple laws to exempt over 100 occupations. In fact, the statutory exemptions are longer than the text of AB 5 itself.
- Su is overseeing the development of an AB 5-like rule at DOL, which would eliminate independent contracting and strip 21 million individuals of their ability to classify themselves as independent contractors and enjoy the flexibility it provides.
- Su has made public comments in support of a new joint employer rule that would impact the almost 800,000 franchises operating in our communities.
- During Su’s tenure at DOL, she has had quarterly check-ins with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and a variety of other labor groups, but not one single individual meeting with a private-sector employer.
- In 2005, Su wrote an article in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice saying that businesses “perpetuate economic injustice” and “use, abuse, and exploit poor people.”
Julie Su’s History of Mismanagement, Lack of Experience:
- In California, Su oversaw the Employment Development Department (EDD), the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) program, which paid out at least $31 billion in fraudulent payments, more than double the annual budget of the agency she will be responsible for managing.
- Su counts the notoriously failed negotiation between rail employers and rail unions as experience she will bring to the table, despite the fact that Congress had to step in to pick up the pieces, underscoring that she has never led in contract negotiations and has no experience in finalizing a successful contract.
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