With the anticipation of rejuvenating the Senate’s response to Julie Su’s nomination for labor secretary. The White House seeks to harness the influence of her involvement in facilitating an agreement between West Coast dockworkers and shippers
In an effort to bolster the Senate’s commitment to confirming Julie Su as labor secretary, the White House is eagerly relying on her instrumental role in successfully mediating an agreement between West Coast dockworkers and shippers.
Su traveled to San Francisco with the purpose of assisting in finalizing the preliminary agreement, following a prolonged conflict that had caused intermittent disturbances at several major ports across the country. President Joe Biden, seeking to prevent possible work stoppages amidst escalating tension during the negotiation process, requested the involvement of Su—a civil rights attorney who had previously served as deputy labor secretary before assuming the Cabinet position in February—according to a representative from the White House.
Biden expressed his gratitude to Su, the interim leader of the department, acknowledging her invaluable “extensive knowledge and discernment” in propelling the negotiations forward.
According to Biden, “This agreement will undeniably foster a favorable influence on trade. Su has unequivocally demonstrated her exceptional leadership qualities, and I firmly believe she deserves confirmation.”
Both the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association celebrated Su’s instrumental contribution in sealing the deal. Prominent figures within the White House expressed optimism that her involvement would effectively tackle two concerns raised by uncertain senators: her limited experience in worker-management negotiations and the perception of being anti-business. Apart from the maritime association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce commended Su for her unwavering dedication to the process, facilitating a mutually beneficial agreement for both parties involved.
In April, Su’s nomination successfully passed a crucial Senate committee, yet her confirmation faced a hurdle as no Republicans publicly expressed their support. Consequently, the Biden administration and her supporters have been working tirelessly to secure the necessary 50 Democratic votes. Over the course of several weeks, numerous moderate Democrats have remained undecided about their voting intentions.
There is considerable doubt surrounding Senator Joe Manchin’s stance, given his recent rejection of three Biden nominees, which was in contrast to the unanimous endorsement from fellow Democrats but aligned with Republican opposition. Another influential figure, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, holds significant sway with business organizations. This has raised concerns among some Su supporters who fear that she may reject a nominee who is perceived as being too closely aligned with unions.
Criticism has been directed towards Su due to her management of California’s labor department, as she supported a law that was subsequently overturned. This law aimed to mandate app-based ride-hailing and delivery companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as trucking businesses. To classify their workers as employees, ensuring benefits such as paid sick leave and unemployment insurance, instead of treating them as independent contractors.
Additionally, Su has faced scrutiny for the agency’s performance during the pandemic. Where a surge in unemployment benefit applications resulted in extensive delays for many individuals. Furthermore, the state incurred substantial financial losses. Amounting to billions of dollars. Due to fraudulent claims that were processed under her watch.
Senator Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, has chosen not to reveal his stance regarding the issue. In a statement on Thursday, he mentioned that he was actively seeking input from various individuals. Tester also expressed his frustration with the current situation, stating his desire for a definitive vote to enable progress. He emphasized the need for a clear decision, regardless of whether it is in favor or against the issue at hand.”
The prioritization of appointing Su is of great importance to labor unions. Which are significant allies of President Biden, as well as Asian American advocacy groups. These groups have expressed disappointment with the current administration. As it is the first in two decades not to include an Asian American Cabinet secretary. Su, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, has personally shared poignant stories about her mother’s journey to the United States. Including her arrival on a cargo ship due to financial constraints preventing a passenger ticket purchase.
High-ranking officials at the White House have engaged in daily discussions to devise effective strategies aimed at securing her confirmation. Jeff Zients, the chief of staff, and Louisa Terrell. The director of legislative affairs. Maintain regular communication with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat from . Regarding this matter. Marty Walsh, President Biden’s initial labor secretary, has privately advocated for Su among senators.
In contrast, Republicans are actively endeavoring to generate opposition. Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, addressed Su this week concerning the protracted dockworker negotiations. Expressing doubt about her ability to resolve labor disputes due to a perceived . Lack of a clear track record in collaborating with both labor and management.
The approval of the agreement is pending, and if finalized. It will impact approximately 22,000 dockworkers stationed across 29 ports along the West Coast. To come into effect, both parties must officially ratify the agreement. Since July, dockworkers have been carrying out their duties without a formal contract.
In a statement, Su expressed that the agreement demonstrates the effectiveness of collective bargaining, even in challenging circumstances.