Thursday two starkly contrasting messages were sent about the stalled confirmation of Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, California’s failed former Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary.
It’s the independent truckers versus Lorena Gonzalez.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent a letter to President Biden imploring him to withdraw her nomination:
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association represents 150,000 owner-operators leased to motor carriers, small-business motor carriers with their own operating authority, and employee truck drivers. In the interest of preserving classification statuses that have long-benefitted our members, we call on you to withdraw the nomination of Ms. Julie Su to lead the U.S. Department of Labor.
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. 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.
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. 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.
OOIDA was the first major organization
to publicly oppose Julie Su’s nomination and has been working for months to inform Senators of the threat she poses to independent contractors within the trucking industry.
Conversely, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Director of the California Labor Federation sent out an email praising Julie Su:
Julie Su Does It Again! (Now confirm her already!)
No one in the California worker movement needs to be reminded why Julie Su is the most qualified candidate we may have ever had for US Labor Secretary. Her decades of work in the Golden State are beyond comparison. But, as Acting Secretary of Labor, she showed us once more. She helped mediate a contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association. Her incredible work helped avoid a shutdown of our California Ports and will keep Port workers on the job. Now, we are patiently awaiting her confirmation.
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
The truckers continued:
Since her nomination, Ms. Su has failed to acknowledge any problems exist with AB5, despite the dramatic impact the policy has had on our members operating in California and beyond. She has also failed to adequately answer questions about her interest in pursuing similar policies on the federal level as Secretary. While we felt Ms. Su’s record in California should have prevented Senators from ever supporting her nomination, we believe her inability to answer direct questions involving the consequences of her work in California or intentions as Secretary are the reason she does not have the necessary support to be confirmed.
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 benefit and protect American workers, like owner-operators and employee drivers. 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.
President & CEO
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Inc.
As the Globe has repeatedly observed, Julie Su has a lengthy career of failing up.