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UNITE HERE President Letter to Senate HELP Supporting Julie Su as DOL Secretary

April 19, 2023 7:10 pm Published by Leave a comment

Link to PDF of letter on letterhead

The Honorable Bernie Sanders
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Bill Cassidy, M.D.
Ranking Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
U.S. Senate
Washington D.C. 20510


Dear Chair Sanders, Ranking Member Cassidy, and Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions:

On behalf of the more than 250,000 members of UNITE HERE, I write to convey our enthusiastic support for Julie Su to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Labor. Su is a visionary leader and a staunch advocate for workers’ rights, with the experience and expertise to lead this critical agency. She is an excellent choice for this role.

For the entirety of her career, Julie Su has advocated for the well-being of the most vulnerable workers in this country. Nearly thirty years ago, Su stood with immigrant workers in the garment industry to shut down sweatshops. As a successor union to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, UNITE HERE continues to represent predominately women, immigrants, and people of color, now primarily in the gaming, hotel, food service, and airport industries. Sadly, more than 100 years after the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which claimed the lives of dozens of mostly young female workers, workers like our members are still too often exploited, subject to wage theft, unsafe working conditions, or discrimination for speaking in their native tongues. Alongside robust union organizing, a fully functioning Labor Department with strong leadership is one of the best defenses against worker exploitation.

Strong leadership of our nation’s Labor Department also works with unions to address one of the most pressing issues employers face today — worker recruitment and retention. Many employers in our industry report staffing challenges as they return to full capacity following the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on hospitality. Our experience is that union employers fare better in attracting and retaining talent, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Labor to improve job quality across the board. Travel and tourism are crucial to the US economy, and it benefits hospitality employers and our members to have a partner who understands that good jobs are good business for our industry.

We are witnessing a resurgence of illegal anti-union practices, the loosening of child labor regulations, and attempts to roll back workplace protections. The next Secretary of Labor must stand ready to work with unions and employers to eliminate wrongdoing and uplift the industry when it delivers for workers. I am confident that Julie Su can succeed in doing so. I strongly encourage you to vote to approve her nomination without delay.



D. Taylor
UNITE HERE President