Our “Federal Watch” blog series responds to developments in Washington, D.C. that seek to roll back women’s rights and workers’ rights, and threaten our core values of fairness and economic security for all families. We are committed to defending federal laws and policies that have opened the doors to opportunity for millions, as we continue to push for more family-friendly reforms at the state and local level.
President Trump has nominated Eugene Scalia, a labor lawyer with a long history of representing corporations against the interests of their employees, to be the next Labor Secretary. Scalia’s demonstrated hostility toward basic workers’ rights poses an alarming threat to American families.
Scalia has opposed workplace protections for decades, beginning in the 1990s, when he campaigned against a rule requiring workplaces to warn their employees about repetitive stress injuries. Scalia has likewise spent his legal career representing large companies in their efforts to weaken workplace benefits and protections for their employees.
He represented Walmart in opposing a law requiring businesses to spend a portion of their payroll on employee health care and defended Sea World against federal safety rules after an orca killed a trainer. He represented a casino forcing its workers to pool their tips and helped roll back the fiduciary rule requiring managers of 401(k)s to act in the best interests of their clients. And in a sexual harassment suit against a large bank, Scalia shamelessly victim-blamed the woman who had been harassed and insinuated she was looking for an easy pay day.
Scalia’s history is in direct opposition to the Department of Labor’s mission to “foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” We therefore believe his appointment would undermine the work of this crucial federal agency.