AP

Biden to nominate Julie Su as next US labor secretary

Feb 28, 2023, 11:18 AM | Updated: Mar 1, 2023, 9:51 am

FILE - Julie Su, of Calif., speaks during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pens...

FILE - Julie Su, of Calif., speaks during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for her to be Deputy Secretary of Labor, on Capitol Hill, March 16, 2021, in Washington. President Joe Biden is nominating Julie Su, the current deputy and former California official, as his next Labor Secretary, replacing the departing incumbent, former Boston mayor Marty Walsh. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is nominating Julie Su, the current deputy and former California official, as his next labor secretary, replacing the departing incumbent, former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Su, a civil rights attorney and former head of California’s labor department, was central to negotiations between labor and freight rail companies late last year, working to avert an economically debilitating strike. She also has worked to broaden employee training programs and crack down on wage theft. If confirmed by the Senate, Su would also be the first Asian American in the Biden administration to serve in the Cabinet at the secretary level.

Biden, in a statement on Tuesday, called her a “champion for workers.”

“Julie is a tested and experienced leader, who will continue to build a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive economy that provides Americans a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead,” he said. “She helped avert a national rail shutdown, improved access to good jobs free from discrimination through my Good Jobs Initiative, and is ensuring that the jobs we create in critical sectors like semiconductor manufacturing, broadband and healthcare are good-paying, stable and accessible jobs for all.”

Su was considered to lead the department when Biden won the White House but instead became the department’s deputy. Walsh announced his intention to leave the administration earlier this month to lead the National Hockey League Players’ Association. Su will serve as the acting secretary until the Senate acts on her nomination.

Biden had been under pressure from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and other Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates to select Su to head the department. This administration was the first in more than two decades to not have a Cabinet secretary of AAPI descent, despite its regular declarations that it was the most diverse in history. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai are of AAPI descent but don’t lead a Cabinet department.

Su, if confirmed, would also expand the majority of women serving in the president’s Cabinet. She was confirmed by the Senate to her current role in 2021 by a 50-47 vote.

Su’s nomination drew swift support from Democrats on Capitol Hill, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying she would be “phenomenal” in the job.

“The president couldn’t have picked a better nominee,” he told reporters. “I’m really excited about her, and we’re going to move to consider her nomination very, very quickly.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who will preside over Su’s confirmation hearing as chair of the Senate health, education, labor and pensions committee, praised the selection. Sanders had urged consideration of Sara Nelson, the president of the flight attendants union, but made clear Su had his strong support.

“I’m confident Julie Su will be an excellent Secretary of Labor,” he tweeted. “I look forward to working with her to protect workers’ rights and build the trade union movement in this country.”

But Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, the top Republican on the Senate health, education and labor committee who opposed Su when she was selected for deputy secretary, called her work overseeing the department “troubling” and “anti-worker.”

The committee should “have a full and thorough hearing process,” Cassidy said.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said she was “overjoyed” by the selection, thanking Biden in a tweet for “nominating your first AAPI Cabinet Secretary!”

“It certainly is better late than never,” Chu said in a brief interview, citing CAPAC support for Su two years ago for the top Labor post and praising Su’s credentials as a leader and enforcer of labor laws including minimum wage and occupational safety standards. She said GOP criticism about Su had been fully vetted two years ago and that the coming confirmation process will show their charges “have no basis.”

Chu noted that Biden had said he would name a Cabinet that looked like America, and “he fulfilled that promise.”

Su’s nomination also comes at a key moment for labor unions, which have been facing a decline in membership for decades. Unions gained some momentum as workers at major employers such as Amazon and Starbucks pushed to unionize. But Biden — an avowed pro-union president — had to work with Congress to impose a contract on rail workers last year to avoid a possible strike.

The Labor Department said just 10.1% of workers last year were union members. That figure has been cut nearly in half since 1983 and could fall further, as younger workers are less likely to belong to unions.

“There’s no one more dedicated and qualified to defend the fundamental rights of working people than Julie Su,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “It’s her life’s work.”

___

Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Mary Clare Jalonick and Hope Yen in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

1 day ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

2 days ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

2 days ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

2 days ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

4 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Biden to nominate Julie Su as next US labor secretary