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Biden's union-label Labor secretary pick must be stopped. Look what she did to California

In Joe Biden’s America, Big Labor privilege and power take precedence over workers, even union workers. The latest example is Biden’s nomination of Julie Su, a pro-Big Labor radical, to be the secretary of Labor. 

Su left a trail of economic destruction in her wake as she rose through the ranks of California’s labor department, and is now poised to direct California-style destruction to the entire country if approved to lead America’s labor bureaucracy.

As secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Su was notorious for cracking down on independent contractors through her aggressive enforcement of Assembly Bill 5. AB5 subjects workers to a stringent “ABC test” to determine their employment status, such that many independent contractors were forcibly reclassified as full employees.

Joe Biden and Julie Su

President Joe Biden links arms with Julie Su, his nominee to be the next secretary of Labor, at the White House on March 1, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Most independent contractors say they do not want to become employees, and value the flexibility independent contracting affords. In the wake of AB5’s passage, more than one million freelancers lost work. To quell public outrage, the California legislature carved out scores of professions from the draconian legislation so that it no longer applied to musicians, translators, writers, photographers and many others.


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has suggested that AB5’s sponsors and enforcers may have had no legitimate policy objectives in mind when granting exemptions to AB5, and instead acted out of “animus” by targeting companies that facilitate vast swaths of independent contracting. 

Unlike independent contractors, traditional employees are subject to unionization. In non-Right to Work California, unionized workers can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of getting or keeping a job. Can you smell the money? Union bosses can and so can the politicians that enable them. 

Julie Su smiling

Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su attends a Learn About Worker Experiences event in Brooklyn on April 11, 2022. (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for One Fair Wage)

AB5 represents a potential financial boon to the union boss special interests that dominate California politics, especially if aggressively enforced. Julie Su happily obliged as California labor secretary. She conducted aggressive audits of businesses’ employment practices, and continued them even during the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, she failed to properly manage her department. When the state shut down schools and small businesses in response to the COVID pandemic, Su oversaw the distribution of between $30 billion to $40 billion in unemployment funds to ineligible criminals and fraudsters, a taxpayer fleecing unprecedented in state history.  As Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., noted, “in fact, murderers, people on death row, deceased individuals, and organized crime members in China and Russia fraudulently amassed extraordinary amounts of money on her watch.”


At the same time, many genuinely deserving Californians who turned to unemployment compensation when their jobs were destroyed by government shut-down orders were unable to get relief. Su admitted her office was not prepared for the increased demand for unemployment assistance and the LA Times termed the situation a “crisis.”

Schumer Julie Su

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer meets with Julie Su, President Biden’s nominee to be the next secretary of Labor, in his office at the U.S. Capitol on March 28, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

But even if one was to take Su at her word that her COVID-era mismanagement was simply an accident brought on by the unforeseen demands of the pandemic, AB5 was no accident. The wrecking of independent contractors’ livelihoods was a feature, not a bug. The bill’s sole purpose was to expand union work arrangements requiring forced dues payment, while limiting independent work off-limits to Big Labor.


The Biden administration sees California as a model, not a warning. The Labor Department is already considering rule changes to reclassify independent contractors as employees, and Biden has repeatedly called to eliminate all state right-to-work laws that empower workers to make choices about union financial support.  

Julie Su should not be allowed to do to the entire country what she did in California. Her mix of cronyism and forced-unionism ideology is another ingredient in a Biden recipe for economic disaster at a time when many Americans are fearing for their jobs and the health of the economy.  Senators should vote “no” on her confirmation.


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