By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Labor Department Deputy Secretary Julie Su to head the agency after current Secretary Marty Walsh departs next month.
“Julie has spent her life fighting to make sure that everyone has a fair shot, that no community is overlooked, and that no worker is left behind,” Biden said in a statement.
“Over several decades, Julie has led the largest state labor department in the nation, cracked down on wage theft, fought to protect trafficked workers, increased the minimum wage, created good-paying, high-quality jobs, and established and enforced workplace safety standards,” he said.
Su is already being prepared for her Senate confirmation hearing, sources familiar with the decision said.
Before joining the U.S. Department of Labor, Su was the secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, and before then was California labor commissioner from 2011-2018.
A report on her tenure released in May 2013 found that her work resulted in a spike in enforcement activity.
In 2014, Su launched the first ‘Wage Theft Is a Crime’ multimedia, multilingual statewide campaign to help low-wage workers and their employers understand their rights and feel safe speaking up about labor law abuses.
There was a concerted push by many union and labor officials, as well as progressives in the Democratic Party, to get Biden to appoint Su to the role both for her familiarity with the agency and labor policy.
She was expected to take over as acting secretary after Walsh steps down in mid-March to become executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
There is currently no Asian American or Pacific Islander in the Cabinet at the secretary level and Su recently scored endorsements from the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
In a letter to Labor Department colleagues announcing his exit, Marty Walsh called Su an “incredible leader” who “has been central to our success as a team and as a Department.”
(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Bill Berkrot)