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NEA Reiterates Support for Nomination of Julie Su as Labor Secretary

Acting Secretary Su has an extensive record of fighting for workers’ rights.
Submitted on: February 27, 2024

Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions 
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510   

Dear Senator:

On behalf the National Education Association—the nation’s largest labor union—whose 3 million members support and nurture students from pre-kindergarten through higher education as teachers, education support professionals, specialized instructional support personnel, and adjunct and full-time professors, we urge you to vote YES on Acting Secretary Julie Su’s nomination to be Secretary of Labor. Votes on this issue may be included in NEA’s Report Card for the 118th Congress. 

At the Department of Labor, Acting Secretary Su has continued the mission she began in her home state of California: fighting for workers’ rights, protecting our nation’s most vulnerable workers, and leveling the playing field for employers that pay higher wages, provide benefits such as paid leave and workplace flexibility, keep workplaces safe, and take other steps to support employees. 

Her many achievements include:

  • Helping broker deals that averted two major strikes; 
  • Finalizing regulations that define who is an employee and who is an independent contractor, consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent; 
  • Taking significant steps to modernize the unemployment insurance program so that it is less susceptible to fraud and better able to pay out equitable benefits; 
  • Implementing recent interagency initiatives between the Labor Department and the Department of Health and Human Services to combat exploitative child labor violations; and 
  • Improving workforce development programs and expanding pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities. 

Given this extensive record, she will be more than ready on Day 1 to assume the mantle of leadership.

Su’s accomplishments as California Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development and California Labor Commissioner position her well to manage the Department of Labor’s relationship with state-level counterparts. Under her leadership in the state, new systems were created to prevent and remedy fraud and abuse of the unemployment system; these systems stopped $60 billion in fraudulent payments. 

Acting Secretary Su’s life story is a testament to the role our nation plays as a beacon to families who come to America from across the globe. Her immigrant parents owned a small laundromat, and she grew up as their translator. This gave her a deep understanding of the immigrant experience and small business, inspiring her to dedicate her career to ensuring that the most vulnerable workers are protected and that businesses adhering to workplace standards do not face unfair competition from those that do not. 

Although the COVID-19 health emergency has ended, American workers continue to suffer the fallout from a pandemic that took millions of lives, devastated many families’ finances, and upended employers of all sizes and kinds. Elevating Julie Su—who would be the first Asian American member of the Biden cabinet—to Secretary of Labor would allow for a smooth transition and continuity to assist workers and employers in their ongoing recovery from the pandemic.  

Acting Secretary Su’s experience, expertise, perspective, and ability to listen deeply to all points of view will improve workplace protections and economic opportunity for all workers. Please vote YES on her nomination to be Secretary of Labor.  

Marc Egan
Director of Government Relations
National Education Association                                                                                                                                                                                                             

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.