ATA, Hill Republicans Continue to Oppose Julie Su

Committee Advances Biden’s Top Labor Nominee, Again
Julie Su
Julie Su, shown Feb. 14 in Mississippi, is the nominee to lead the Department of Labor. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

Following a Senate committee’s approval of Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su’s nomination to lead the department, freight stakeholders and congressional Republicans renewed their opposition efforts.

American Trucking Associations is among the groups still staunchly opposed to the Biden White House’s support of Su’s nomination for the top post at the Labor Department. Last month, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced her nomination to the Senate floor along party lines.

“No matter how many times she’s renominated, Julie Su’s record remains a huge red flag for our industry and any senator concerned about radical policies from California becoming federal law,” said ATA President Chris Spear on Feb. 27. This year, President Joe Biden again nominated Su for the secretary position after her nomination stalled last year in the Senate.

“The independent contractor rule she just finalized as acting secretary undermines the livelihoods of 350,000 professional truck drivers across our country who choose to run their own small businesses, and she needs to answer for it. A public hearing is warranted so that committee members can have the opportunity to question her on the impact of this destructive rule,” Spear went on, adding, “We continue to oppose her nomination as she continues to avoid the tough questions to which we and the American people deserve answers.”

Congressional Republicans also keep pushing back on Su’s record in an attempt to play a role again in halting the nomination process. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the panel’s ranking member, continues to express his opposition to Su’s renomination. The senator recently unveiled a joint resolution of disapproval specific to the department’s recent rule on employee classifications. More than four dozen colleagues signed on as co-sponsors, including Reps. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Kevin Kiley of California.

“The Biden administration’s priority should not be to do whatever makes it easier to forcibly and coercively unionize workers. It should be to increase individual freedom and opportunity,” said Cassidy on March 6. “This new Biden rule does the opposite, jeopardizing 27 million workers’ ability to make their own hours and make a living without being pressured into joining a union.”

“Independent contractors, entrepreneurs and small businesses are fed up with the Department of Labor continually breathing down their necks,” added Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx. “The bicameral Congressional Review Act resolution led by Rep. Kiley and Sen. Cassidy offers Congress the opportunity to take a unified stand against the department’s thirst for more government control over America’s workforce.”

“Entrepreneurial opportunities and flexibility should be encouraged, not extinguished with heavy-handed mandates from the federal government,” the chairwoman continued.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing above or go here for more info

ATA endorsed the resolution, which if adopted would set in motion congressional procedures for overturning the department’s rule. “The ATA stands firmly behind Rep. Kiley and Sen. Cassidy’s effort to defeat this ill-advised rule, and we will continue to work alongside them and other members of Congress to protect Americans’ right to earn a living in the way that they choose,” Spear said.

Freight stakeholders have repeatedly raised concerns about any changes to the business model for independent truck drivers.

The new rule announced at the start of the year adopts certain factors for companies to evaluate and determine whether an employee’s classification is that of an independent contractor. The rule is modeled after a California law that was informed partly by Su.

At a confirmation hearing last April, Su defended her record and promotions of Biden-era policies. “I believe that the Department of Labor should make it as easy as possible for employers to keep workers safe on the job,” she told senators last year, affirming, “If confirmed, you can count on me to listen to employers’ views about how best to do that.”