Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Deputy secretary of labor confirmed to serve

Today, the Senate confirmed Patrick Pizzella to serve as deputy secretary of labor in a party-line vote of 50-48 with Sens. McCain (R-AZ) and Duckworth (D-IL) not voting. Mr. Pizzella is currently a member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and had previously held a number of government positions under the George W. Bush administration.

Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) opposed his nomination to the position on the grounds of his long record of hardline anti-worker positions and his private-sector work with the convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

“Mr. Pizzella has a record that is, time and again, at odds with the goals of the very Department he would help lead as deputy secretary,” said Sen. Murray. “His track record is one of not merely failing workers, but of failing to enforce laws to protect the health and safety of workers; seeking to diminishing workers’ rights and protections; and of undermining the unions that represent and fight for them.”

“While Congress was looking at taking action to change the law to better protect workers, Pizzella was working with Abramoff to coordinate all expense paid trips for dozens of Republican lawmakers and staff and seeking to maintain the sweatshop status quo,” Sen. Murray continued. “Patrick Pizzella chose not to fight for workers, but for corporations. These efforts aren’t just counter to the mission of the Department of Labor, they are counter to our national values.”

Questions remain over Pizzella’s approach to protecting workers’ rights and safety.

“NALC congratulates Deputy Secretary Pizzella on his confirmation to the Department of Labor and looks forward to working him and Sec. Acosta on issues that affect America’s letter carriers and workers,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “We will do everything we can to ensure that workers’ safety and protections are not abandoned.”

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