Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta appears headed for a much smoother confirmation process than that experienced by his predecessor, Andrew Puzder, who was forced to withdraw after losing support from both Republicans and Democrats alike.
Acosta, a former Justice Department official, has the backing of a number of unions, including the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), the Labors International Union of North America (LIUNA), The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).
Unlike Puzder, a fast food company CEO with no government experience, Acosta served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board from 2002 to 2003 in addition to his stint at the Justice Department, where the positions he held included assistant attorney general in the civil rights division.
Both the IAFF and the LIUNA based their support on Acosta from dealings they’ve had with him in the past. Spokesmen for the two unions called him “fair and reasonable.”
ABC vice president of legislative and political affairs Kristen Swearingen said Acosta has a “strong record of honorable public service.”
The UBC released a statement calling Acosta an “advocate for the middle class” who had helped fight payroll fraud.
If confirmed by the Senate, Acosta will head up the United States Department of Labor (DOL), which is responsible for wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, reemployment services, and some economic statistics and occupational safety. The DOL is tasked with helping to develop jobs, improve working conditions and enforcing federal regulations regarding work that affect 10 million employers and 125 million workers.
D.C. observers expect that Acosta’s confirmation will succeed.