May 8, 2023

Julie Su’s Record Demonstrates Anti-Business Activism and Mismanagement

Business and trade associations, including FEDA, are sending a letter to U.S. senators asking them to oppose the confirmation of anti-business activist Julie Su to replace Marty Walsh as secretary of labor.

After two years in the role, Walsh left President Joe Biden’s Cabinet in March 2023 to become the head of the National Hockey League Player’s Association. Biden has nominated Su, the federal government’s deputy secretary of labor, to fill the position, but her nomination has come under scrutiny over her record on labor relations and her effectiveness during her tenure as California’s Secretary of Labor. During her time overseeing labor relations in the country’s largest state, Su spearheaded initiatives that jeopardized millions of independent contractor relationships. She was also integral in the formation and implementation of A.B. 5, a law that effectively banned independent contractor relationships in the state and left millions unsure whether they could continue to work as self-employed individuals. California voters eventually rejected the bill by passing Proposition 22 in 2020.

Su was also a supporter of California’s Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Act), which gives an unelected board complete autonomy over the state’s fast food industry, including the power to set wages and establish employment conditions. The law was opposed by California’s own Department of Finance on the grounds that enforcement would increase government costs and lead to a fragmented regulatory and legal environment for employers.

Under Su’s leadership, the California Employment Development Department mismanaged COVID-19-related unemployment insurance funds, resulting in $30 billion in fraudulent payments. The situation led to delays or denials in receiving benefits for hundreds of thousands of Californians.

“We ask you to vote against Ms. Su for secretary of labor based on her troubling record and her failure to adequately explain how she would run the department in a manner that engages employers and employees alike to best achieve our shared economic goals,” the letter states.

The full letter is available here.