Oregon labor is all-in for Julie Su


On Feb. 27, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee voted to approve the nomination of acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su. This is now the second time the same committee has voted to advance her nomination as U.S. secretary of labor following last year’s resignation of Marty Walsh. In fact, the same committee voted in early 2021 to advance her nomination as deputy secretary of labor, which the full U.S. Senate then acted on and confirmed. 

Some might wonder then why this is happening again. It boils down to this: Despite her confirmation as deputy secretary of labor by the Senate on July 13, 2021, a few senators have been attempting to block a vote on her nomination as secretary after Corporate America launched a full-court press to stop her from ascending to the top post at the Department of Labor. 

At a time when working Americans need to know they have a federal government that is looking out for and protecting them, this has been an incredibly disappointing development. Oregon workers should, however, be proud of our two U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, for their unwavering support of Su’s confirmation. 

But let’s dig into why the American labor movement is all in for her and why her leadership is sorely needed in this moment. 

First of all, she is exceedingly qualified for the position and has the knowledge and management experience to continue her work as head of the Department of Labor. Acting Secretary Su has compiled an impressive record of success leading the department since Secretary Walsh’s departure last March. She brings extensive experience to the job through her distinguished career advocating for low-wage and immigrant workers as secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and deputy and acting secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor. Over the course of her career, she has collaborated with unions, officials at every level of government, and employers from the largest corporations to the smallest businesses.

As acting secretary, she has prioritized both enforcement of worker protections and assistance to employers navigating the hundreds of laws and regulations administered by the department. She has been a leader in the Biden administration’s effort to revitalize our workforce development system, fostering partnerships that provide pathways to quality jobs for women, communities of color, and others who have been denied the opportunity to succeed.

Acting Secretary Su has consistently demonstrated a commitment to protecting workers’ rights and the fair enforcement of workplace laws, while at the same time addressing emerging workplace issues like artificial intelligence. Her experience and passion for the job of labor secretary make her the ideal candidate to lead the U.S. Department of Labor to meet the needs of today’s evolving workforce. 

She recently visited Oregon to learn about some of the incredible work happening in our state and within our labor movement. To everyone she interacted with during that trip, a common takeaway emerged: She is brilliant, she is a fighter, she is an incredible friend and ally to the labor movement, and she is the right person to serve as U.S. secretary of labor. Oregon labor echoes the calls from every corner of our movement for the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Julie Su. Working people are counting on it. 


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