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AFSCME applauds labor secretary pick, Julie Su

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images News
AFSCME applauds labor secretary pick, Julie Su
By Pete Levine ·

After President Joe Biden nominated Julie Su to become the next secretary of labor, AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement, “Julie Su will make an excellent secretary of labor, and on behalf of AFSCME’s 1.4 million members, we are proud to support her nomination.”

Saunders went on to say, “As Californians will tell you, Su is a fearless champion for workers. During her time as state labor commissioner, she successfully took on employers who were cheating workers out of their hard-earned wages and fought to make workplaces safer. It’s no surprise California became one of the best states for workers under her watch.”

As the current deputy secretary of labor, Su has played a key role in moving Biden’s pro-worker agenda over the last two years.

“[Her] extensive record and passion for workers’ rights demonstrate that she is an outstanding choice for secretary of labor,” added Saunders. “With her at the helm, we can hit the ground running and expand the progress we’ve already made under the Biden administration.”

In a press conference Wednesday announcing Su’s nomination, Biden said, “Julie knows in her bones that people get up every morning and bust their necks deserve someone to fight on their side, to give them an even shot. Fighting to make sure they have a fair shot and no one is left behind – Julie has spent her life fighting for that vision.”

In thanking the departing labor secretary, Marty Walsh, who will head up the NHL Players’ union, Biden said, “He made sure employers understand that National Labor Relations Act didn’t say we should allow unions – it said we should encourage unions. And we’re going to continue to do that.”

Biden credited Walsh’s leadership for driving up approval of unions, which is the highest it has been in nearly 60 years.

Joining Biden at the press conference was Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment which, in Biden’s words, “ensure[s] every worker has a voice and the ability to exercise their sacred right to organize. That’s a big deal – the right to organize.”

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement on Su’s nomination: “Simply put: There’s no one more dedicated and qualified to defend the fundamental rights of working people than Julie Su. It’s her life’s work.”

Su, a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, spent 17 years as a civil rights attorney, fighting for immigrant and low-wage workers. She is a past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.

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