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News from EPI Nearly 100 organizations urge Senate HELP Committee to advance Julie Su’s nomination as Secretary of Labor

This week, 94 organizations led by the Economic Policy Institute and National Employment Law Project delivered a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) urging them to advance Julie Su’s confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Deputy Secretary Su is currently serving as Acting Secretary at the Department of Labor (DOL), and her hearing before the HELP Committee on Thursday is the next step toward the Senate confirming her to continue serving formally in the role.

The letter—from organizations committed to centering workers’ rights and economic justice in policy at the federal, state, and local level—reads: 

Few people are as uniquely well-suited to lead the Department of Labor in executing this mission as Julie Su. She has devoted her life to fighting for workers’ rights, holding exploitative employers accountable, leveling the playing field for high-road employers, and doing pioneering work to protect the most vulnerable of workers.

Over the past two years, Deputy Secretary Su has proven herself to be an indispensable partner to Secretary Marty Walsh. Her recent experience and proven track record as a leader at the Department of Labor will enable a smooth leadership transition for the agency and a continuation of the agenda they both charted, one that will better protect workers from exploitation, but one that also has due regard for the regulated community and employers who are playing by the rules.

DOL has a critical role in supporting workers through continued economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and stability and good leadership at the agency will be massively beneficial. DOL’s key priorities in the coming years include:

  • Efforts to modernize the unemployment insurance program, with a particular eye toward making it more impervious to fraud and more equitable in how benefits are paid.
  • Improving access to good-paying jobs through workforce development programs, expanding preapprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities, and addressing workforce needs in sectors impacted by recent federal investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, CHIPS Act, and Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Carrying out recently announced interagency initiatives between DOL and the Department of Health and Human Services in order to combat exploitative child labor violations.

“Workers in this country need an experienced leader and brilliant public servant at the helm of the Department of Labor, and Julie Su is exactly that. I encourage the U.S. Senate to act quickly on her nomination to ensure that the Department of Labor can continue its ongoing work to support the economic recovery and address issues important to working people,” said Heidi Shierholz, EPI president.

“Even before coming to Washingtonfrom her experience as a civil rights lawyer to her work as Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development AgencyJulie Su’s career has been defined by solving complex problems and building a more just economy for all. Now having served as Deputy Secretary at the Department of Labor for over two years and using her decades of experience to have a profound impact at the national level, we urge a swift confirmation process so that she and the Department of Labor can continue to make progress on the key labor, workforce, and employment issues facing our country today,” said Rebecca Dixon, executive director at the National Employment Law Project.


The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.

The National Employment Law Project is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting underpaid and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit Follow NELP on Twitter at @NelpNews.