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Against the Nomination of Eugene Scalia as U.S. Secretary of Labor

September 25, 2019 - New York, NY: The Jewish Labor Committee opposes the nomination of Eugene Scalia as U.S. Secretary of Labor to replace Alexander Acosta, who resigned last July.

A partner in the Washington, DC, law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Eugene Scalia has a long career defending corporate interests against American workers:

  • He is most known for defending Walmart against a proposed Maryland State law that would have required the industry giant to pay a portion of its payroll toward health insurance for its employees or pay into the State’s Medicaid fund.

  • He led the opposition to OSHA ergonomic rules that would have protected an estimated one million workers, calling studies on MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorder) “junk science.”

  • Scalia is on the wrong side of the “wage theft” issue; he defended Wynn Las Vegas Casinos arguing that employers had the right to take employees’ tips and redistribute them to other workers, including supervisors.

  • He is anti-union: Scalia defended Boeing in a lawsuit brought by the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of its workers in Washington State who were threatened with the company leaving the state if the workers did not meet its demands.

  • When a trainer at Sea World was killed by an Orca whale, Scalia argued that the theme park was not required to follow Federal safety standards that might have prevented the tragic death.

  • He helped reverse stricter transparency regulations that the Obama Administration had required of financial advisors who recommend investments for retirees.

  • He lobbied against President Obama’s executive order requiring a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour for Federal contract workers.

  • When President George W. Bush, in 2001, tried to appoint Eugene Scalia as the Labor Department official responsible for developing and implementing regulation procedures, the Senate refused to hold hearings due to his extreme anti-worker history. He was eventually made the Department of Labor’s chief lawyer via a recess appointment by President Bush, allowing him to serve in that position for one year.

Workers in the United States need a Secretary of Labor who will defend their rights and interests, not one who, as his resume indicates, will advocate on behalf of corporate interests. We therefore call on the Senate to oppose his appointment.