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AFL-CIO Press Clips: April 21, 2023

Berry Craig
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Battle Over Labor Secretary Nominee Reflects a Larger Fight for Biden

The New York Times

By Noam Scheiber

April 20, 2023

This time, labor unions and other supporters are making a more determined push. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, Liz Shuler, announced on Wednesday that a coalition of unions would make a “six-figure buy” of ads backing Ms. Su in states like Arizona and West Virginia and would urge local union members to contact their senators.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Members of Congress And Organizations Rally Around Julie Su’s Nomination

The White House

April 20, 2023

AFL-CIO: “With Julie Su as Deputy Secretary of Labor, the @USDOL has RAPIDLY expanded apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans, from the trades to cybersecurity to teacher apprenticeships. These life-changing opportunities must continue & another reason why we #StandWithSu!” [Tweet, 4/20/23]. Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO: “Julie Su will level the playing field & hold businesses accountable as ⁦‪@USDOL⁩ Secretary of Labor. Corporations lobbying against her confirmation are scared of how she defends workers & can’t be bought. Our Senators must stand with working people & #StandWithSu!” [Tweet, 4/20/23].


Labor nominee Julie Su defends record as key Senate Democrats remain undecided

The Hill

By Karl Evers-Hillstrom

April 20, 2023

Biden Labor Secretary nominee Julie Su defended her record during Thursday’s confirmation hearing amid a series of hurdles facing her nomination. The AFL-CIO is launching its own six-figure ad campaign backing Su, signaling her importance to the labor movement. The country’s largest labor federation is also targeting the Democratic holdouts in their home states. “This is the time for them to show who they stand with. Is it workers or is it big corporations?” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler told reporters Wednesday. 

Confirmation battle for Biden labor secretary pick heats up, complicated by Democrats

ABC News

By Isabella Murray

April 20, 2023

She also has backing from much of organized labor, which has said "well-heeled lobbyists and corporate special interests are spending big to block her confirmation." "What stands out about Su, beyond her expertise in labor law and policy, is that she believes so deeply in what she does," the AFL-CIO, the nation's main labor federation, said in a statement."Prior to her predecessor, it had been decades before workers even had a union member at the helm of the Labor Department," the union added.

As GOP states shut hospitals, nurses and labor push for health care

People’s World

By Mark Gruenberg

April 20, 2023

Republican lawmakers are presiding over the shutdown of rural and other hospitals from coast to coast by starving them of funds while the nation’s nurses and the labor movement, with the support of progressive Senate and House Democrats, are pushing instead for more staffing to provide good health care to more people. Citing nursing shortages exacerbated by coronavirus-caused burnout on the job, National Nurses United and several union and congressional allies re-launched their legislation mandating national safe-staffing standards in medical facilities. The safe staffing measure, by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a strong supporter of NNU and its goals, faces an uncertain future in the Republican-run U.S. House. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is its lead sponsor there. Other union backers include the Teachers (AFT), AFSCME and the AFL-CIO.


The Economy Alone Can’t Fix the Racial Divide in Labor

The Washington Post

By Claudia Sahm

April 20, 2023

The Black unemployment rate fell to 5% in March, the lowest since the US government began collecting the data in 1972. Also, its ratio to the White unemployment rate is one of the smallest on record. That’s progress and another sign that a strong labor market is helping people on the margins. Progress on racial equity, however, must not be left to the ups and downs in the economy alone. Lasting changes in policies and workplaces are necessary, too, and they may need to differ some across groups of workers.The Black-White gap in men’s participation has essentially closed, so why does a sizable unemployment divide remain? The answer is complex. William Spriggs, a professor at Howard University and chief economist for the AFL-CIO, says we should be wary of simple explanations like fewer Black men go to college. In fact, Black men with an associate’s degree have a higher unemployment rate than White men with only a high school education, except in a strong labor market. More than personal characteristics affect the employment gap. Raj Chetty, a professor at Harvard University, and his co-authors found that growing up in poorer neighborhoods — as Black men are likely to do — reduced upward economic mobility of Black men relative to White men.


Labor-backed bills moving forward in the Oregon Legislature

Northwest Labor Press

By Mallory Gruben

April 20, 2023

The 2023 session of the Oregon Legislature reached its midpoint April 7, and a number of labor-backed bills in the Oregon Legislature appear to have good chances of becoming law, including measures to increase Oregon OSHA’s fines, and modernize the organizing process for public sector unions. Others of the roughly 50 bills supported by labor organizations at the start of the session probably won’t make it through this year. Under rules the legislature set for this session, policy bills that weren’t approved by the first committee they were assigned to by April 4 are considered dead. A proposal to restore transit workers’ right to strike died because of that rule, and so did a measure to set responsible contracting standards for projects that get federal American Rescue Plan Act funding.