by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Dominic Pino of National Review Online challenges reporting about President Biden’s new nominee to lead the Labor Department.
The Washington Post story about the nomination of Julie Su as secretary of labor begins, “President Biden on Tuesday nominated Julie Su to be the next labor secretary, elevating a longtime advocate for workers to implement a key part of the administration’s agenda.” The print version of the same story carried this headline: “Biden nominates longtime pro-worker advocate to lead Labor Department.”
Probably not truck drivers, who had their business models upended by California’s A.B. 5 law, of which Su was “an architect,” according to the Post, during her tenure as California’s labor secretary from 2019 to 2021.
Probably not other independent contractors, who had to be reclassified as employees under A.B. 5 in many different industries. Independent contractors, contrary to media impressions, are mostly not “gig workers” and are commonly found in countless industries holding well-paying full-time jobs. When surveyed, they overwhelmingly say they prefer their independent status over traditional employment.
Probably not fast-food workers, many of whose jobs would be automated away if California enacts the FAST Act and raises the minimum wage to $22 per hour. Su supports the FAST Act as well, but it was so radical that even Californians said it went too far. They put the law on hold through a petition drive, and it will be up for a referendum in 2024.
Probably not workers who needed unemployment assistance from the California state government during the pandemic. Many of them were put on waiting lists or had their benefits frozen while scammers took billions from the state government due to mismanagement by an agency Su oversaw. Scammers stole an estimated $32.6 billion from the state, spurring the NBC affiliate in Sacramento to produce an entire documentary series about the failures of the agency.