OPCMIA General President Kevin Sexton issued the following statement on the nomination of Julie Su to be the new U.S. Secretary of Labor:
Julie Su has nearly a decade of experience leading state labor agencies where she has been an unfailing champion for workers. In California, Ms. Su helped to lead a California Future of Work Commission, co-chaired California’s Pay Equity Task Force, and expanded partnerships between labor unions and employers in targeted industries to create quality jobs. Ms. Su has worked at investing in immigrant communities facing significant barriers to employment. Her approach to workforce development has resulted in new programs preparing workers for good jobs and in systemic changes to the workforce system prioritizing workers who face the greatest barriers to employment.
From 2011 to 2018, Ms. Su served as California Labor Commissioner where she fought for state wage and hour laws enforcement. She developed a “Wage Theft is a Crime” campaign in multiple targeted low-wage industries where wage theft was prevalent. Ms. Su’s leadership was hailed in a 2013 report for having transformed the Labor Commissioner Office into “what could be the most aggressive and effective state labor law enforcement division in the country.”
Ms. Su is also a leader at the intersection of labor and workers’ rights, racial equity, immigrant rights, and women’s rights. Prior to her service in state government, Ms. Su was the litigation director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, where she served as lead counsel in the landmark El Monte case where she represented Thai and Latina workers in seeking to hold accountable garment manufacturers and retailers for slave labor and sweatshop conditions, resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement and the issuance of visas to the workers that enabled them to adjust their immigration status.
As a woman of color and daughter of Chinese immigrants, Ms. Su has a deep empathy for working people of all backgrounds. She has been honored by elected officials, community and labor organizations, major foundations, professional organizations, and educational institutions for her exceptional leadership and work on labor, women’s rights, and civil rights issues. She, notably, received the California Rural Legal Assistance Dolores Huerta Adelita Award.
At this critical moment when we need strong leadership at the U.S. Department of Labor to create good jobs and promote a fair economy for working people, we respectfully urge the U.S. Senate to confirm Julie Su for Secretary of Labor.