Sen. Manchin opposes Julie Su’s bid for labor secretary

July 14, 2023

Mark Schremmer


Julie Su’s chances of being confirmed as the next U.S. Labor Secretary took another hit this week.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., formally announced on Thursday, July 13, that he plans to vote against Su’s confirmation bid, calling her too progressive to work successfully with both parties.

“I believe the person leading the U.S. Department of Labor should have the experience to collaboratively lead both labor and industry to forge compromises acceptable to both parties,” Manchin wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “While her credentials and qualifications are impressive, I have genuine concerns that Julie Su’s more progressive background prevents her from doing this, and for that reason I cannot support her nomination to serve as Secretary of Labor.”

President Joe Biden picked Su in February to replace Marty Walsh as labor secretary. The current U.S. Labor acting secretary and former California labor commissioner’s confirmation hearing was in April, but her nomination still hasn’t been brought up for a vote.

Much of the opposition toward Su stems from her role in the implementation of California’s Assembly Bill 5 – a controversial law that makes it extremely difficult for a worker to be considered an independent contractor.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association publicly opposed Su shortly after she was nominated.

In late June, OOIDA doubled down by writing a letter to President Biden encouraging him to pull the nomination.

“It has become apparent the U.S. Senate is unlikely to confirm Ms. Su, due in large part to the disastrous policies affecting the trucking industry she championed as California labor commissioner and secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency,” OOIDA wrote. “We believe the time has come to select a new nominee whose record demonstrates not only a commitment to improving working conditions for employee drivers but also an appreciation for the benefits independent-contractor status has provided owner-operators over many decades.”

However, Biden appears intent to get Su confirmed. According to a July 13 article from Politico, the White House said it would continue to fight for Su’s confirmation and called out Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., for not supporting Su.

Sinema has not publicly announced how she would vote, but the statement indicates that her opposition has been made known to the White House.

It is unclear when Su’s confirmation will be brought to the Senate for a vote. Until then, Su will remain working as the Department of Labor’s acting secretary. LL