The time has come for the White House to look for a new nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Labor.
That was the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s message to President Joe Biden in a letter sent on Thursday, June 22.
OOIDA has openly opposed the nomination of Julie Su as secretary of labor since March. Now with her confirmation in doubt, the Association asked Biden to look in a new direction.
“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.”
Su became deputy labor secretary in July 2021 after narrowly passing confirmation with a 50-47 vote. This past February, Biden announced the nomination of Su as the Labor Department’s next leader, replacing Marty Walsh.
Before working for the U.S. Department of Labor, Su served as California’s labor commissioner during the implementation of AB5, which makes it extremely difficult for a worker to be considered an independent contractor. In trucking alone, the law has led to truck drivers leaving the industry or moving out of state.
“Ms. Su developed and oversaw the implementation of AB5 in California, which remains the most disruptive worker classification policy to be enacted anywhere at the state or federal level,” OOIDA wrote. “We have always felt her role in the crafting and application of AB5 should have immediately disqualified Ms. Su from leading the Department of Labor, but recent performances at her confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate and oversight hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives have made it abundantly clear she is not qualified to or capable of leading the department.”
On June 7, Su testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to discuss the department’s 2024 budget. However, the Labor Department nominee also faced several questions about her connection to California’s AB5.
Su said during the hearing she would not pursue an AB5 model on the national level if confirmed as labor secretary.
However, Su also wouldn’t directly answer Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Calif., when asked if she believed AB5 was a good law.
Earlier this week, The Hill reported that 33 Senate Republicans asked Biden to withdraw Su’s nomination. It has been nearly two months since Su’s nomination cleared a Senate committee and is awaiting a vote from the full Senate.
“Rather than allowing Ms. Su’s nomination to languish in the Senate, we believe you must find a more suitable candidate to lead the department – one with a record of improving working conditions for employees and respecting industry-specific classifications that benefits and protect American workers, like owner-operators and employee drivers,” OOIDA wrote.
“To effectively lead the department, your next nominee must not only be capable of earning labor and industry backing, but also substantial bipartisan support among senators.” LL