Labor secretary nominee Julie Su faces tough road to confirmation

April 5, 2023

Mark Schremmer


Julie Su’s confirmation hearing to become the U.S. Labor Secretary is scheduled for later this month. However, Su is expected to face significant opposition.

The Hill and other national news outlets report that Su’s nomination is on “shaky ground” in the Senate.

“Julie Su is facing an uphill climb toward confirmation as lawmakers prepare for a bruising battle in the coming weeks once the Senate returns from recess,” The Hill wrote in a story published earlier this week.

Su will need 50 votes for confirmation, with all Republicans expected to be opposed and “a few moderate Democrats concerned over if she’s the right person for the job,” according to The Hill.

Julie Su’s nomination

President Joe Biden announced in February that he was nominating Su to take charge of the U.S. Department of Labor, replacing Marty Walsh.

Su became deputy labor secretary in July 2021 after narrowly passing confirmation with a 50-47 vote. Before that, Su served as California’s labor commissioner. Her tenure in California and role in the implementation of the controversial worker classification law Assembly Bill 5 is where much of the criticism toward Su stems.

She has received support from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and others.

OOIDA opposition

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wrote a letter to Senate offices on March 3 opposing Su’s nomination.

OOIDA wrote in the letter that it is concerned Su would try to roll out AB5, which makes it nearly impossible for leased-on workers to be considered independent contractors, on a national scale. The Association is fighting AB5 in court and said that the law and “haphazard” rollout forced independent contractor truckers to either leave the state, become an employee, attempt to reconfigure their business or abandon the profession.

“We are concerned that Ms. Su would continue to pursue an ideologically motivated agenda toward worker classification that ignores the thousands of small-business truckers who depend on the ability to work as an independent contractor,” OOIDA wrote. “Make no mistake, if Ms. Su were to advance the same policies that she championed in California, it would force hundreds of thousands of truckers to change their business model and put their livelihood in jeopardy.”

Kiley opposition

Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Calif., also has been quite vocal in his opposition toward Su’s nomination.

Kiley, who served in the California legislature for six years before joining the House of Representatives this year, is critical of Su’s tenure as California labor commissioner and the role she played in the handling of the state’s unemployment system as well as the creation of AB5.

“Her tenure was one of the worst tenures I’m sure there has ever been for any such position in our country’s history,” Kiley told Land Line Now. “She completely failed to run the unemployment office in California in a way that gave people the benefits that they were entitled to when millions of people lost their jobs because of the COVID shutdowns. You had millions of people who got their checks late or had to wait weeks or months, or in some cases, indefinitely.”

Although Kiley does not have a vote, the congressmen said he will be doing everything he can to make sure Su is not confirmed.

“I think if we can just get the word out about what her tenure was in California and the damage that she did here, then we will have a good chance of stopping this nomination and getting a much better person in this position,” Kiley said.

Confirmation hearing

Su’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate HELP Committee is scheduled for April 20. LL