Letter in Support of Julie Su as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor

Letter in Support of Julie Su as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor

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March 10, 2021

The Honorable Patty Murray
Chair, Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Richard Burr
Ranking Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Re: Nomination of Julie Su as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor

Dear Chair Murray and Ranking Member Burr:

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, together with the 51 undersigned organizations dedicated to civil rights and workplace justice for all working people, write in strong support of the nomination of Julie Su to serve as the next Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.

The ongoing global health pandemic has resulted in a national economic crisis that has exacerbated existing inequalities in the labor market that have long disadvantaged communities of color, women, immigrants, people with disabilities, and other groups that have borne the historic and ongoing burden of systemic discrimination. In this moment, the work of the Department of Labor is critical to ensuring an equitable shared recovery — one that does not leave behind those communities hardest hit by the pandemic but seeks to improve the economic security of all working people. Su, together with Labor Secretary nominee Marty Walsh, will be the leaders we need to ensure that the Department can deliver on its mission to promote the welfare of working people, improve working conditions, advance opportunities, and protect and enforce workplace rights.

Su possesses deep expertise in civil rights and workplace rights and is exceedingly qualified to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor:

  • As the current Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Su is responsible for thousands of employees charged with protecting and improving the well-being of the country’s largest civilian workforce. Su oversees the state departments and boards that enforce labor laws and administer benefits, including workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and paid family leave.
  • Su has worked with business leaders, labor, community-based organizations, philanthropists, and the tech community in California to design a High Road Recovery from the COVID pandemic — one that “rejects the idea that any job is a good job” and instead builds “an economy that is premised on eliminating working poverty” and pathways to safe, quality jobs that provide a decent standard of living and opportunities for growth for all communities.
  • Su has demonstrated a deep understanding of the role equity must play in economic recovery in order to ensure economic opportunity for all working people. She has provided steady leadership to the California Future of Work Commission to help chart a forward-looking vision of economic equity, across race, gender, age, education level, sexual orientation, disability status, military service history, housing status, citizenship status, and criminal record in order to create shared prosperity for all Californians.
  • Su has worked specifically to advance race and gender equity and close pay disparities. As Secretary, Su co-led the California Pay Equity Task Force to help ensure robust implementation of the state’s gender pay equity law. The Task Force has explicitly called attention to pay disparities at the intersection of sex and race/ethnicity and its impact on women of color.
  • While serving as California Labor Commissioner, Su significantly increased enforcement of wage theft laws, helping low-wage workers make ends meet and ensuring fair and just workplaces for workers and employers alike.
  • Su has a long career of promoting human rights and protecting vulnerable people from exploitation and abuse. Before entering government service, as a civil rights lawyer at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Su led landmark litigation to protect the rights of immigrant workers who were victims of trafficking, receiving the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant for her work.

Throughout her long career in public service and as a civil rights attorney, Su has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to ensuring that all working people are treated with dignity and are able to enjoy basic protections in the workplace. Her work has reflected a deep understanding of how equity, justice, and economic security are linked, especially for working people from communities that have been marginalized economically, socially, and politically.

The communities we represent have been hard hit by both the pandemic and by the policies of the outgoing administration. Those policies served to exacerbate existing inequalities caused by systemic racism and discrimination and have long posed barriers to obtaining good jobs — those that pay fair wages, offer reasonable benefits and safe working conditions, and ensure the dignity of working people. The current crisis necessitates a strong Department of Labor that can help guide an equitable recovery, one that prioritizes the maintenance and creation of good jobs, the health and safety of working people, and the protection of worker rights. Together with Labor Secretary nominee Marty Walsh — a leader who has prioritized the well-being of working families — Su will work to implement and strengthen workplace protections and improve economic opportunities for all. For this reason, we urge you to support the confirmation of Julie Su to be the next Deputy Secretary of Labor.

If you have any questions, please contact Gaylynn Burroughs, senior policy counsel at The Leadership Conference, at burroughs@civilrights.org.


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services)
African American Ministers In Action
American Federation of Teachers
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Bet Tzedek Legal Services
California Employment Lawyers Association
California Work & Family Coalition
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for Popular Democracy
Center for Workers’ Rights
Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
Economic Policy Institute
Equal Justice Society
Family Values@Work
Feminist Majority Foundation
Futures Without Violence
Granite State Organizing Project
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
Legal Aid at Work
National Action Network
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Association of Human Rights Workers
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Council of Jewish Women
National Education Association
National Employment Law Project
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Immigration Law Center
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women’s Law Center
National Workrights Institute
North Carolina Justice Center
Our Revolution
Paid Leave for All
People’s Action
People’s Parity Project
Public Justice
Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition
Southwest Women’s Law Center
SPLC Action
The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest PA
Workplace Fairness

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