Senate Should Reject Anti-Freelancer Julie Su for DOL Deputy Secretary

Photo Credit: Tim Evanson

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing Tuesday on President Biden’s nomination of Julie Su to serve as Deputy Secretary at the Department of Labor. 

If confirmed, Su will wage war on the livelihoods of more than 57 million Americans that engage in freelance work. OCC opposes Su for Deputy Labor Secretary and urges the Senate to reject her nomination. 

Su, who has served California’s labor secretary since 2019, was one of the top architects of California’s independent contractor-crushing Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) law. 

Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) instituted an onerous and overly-broad three-stage worker classification test to prove that a worker is an independent contractor and not an employee. AB5’s work restriction is known as the “ABC” test and goes far beyond federal guidelines on independent contractor classifications.

Under the ABC test, businesses must prove that a contractor is doing duties “outside the usual course of work of the hiring entity” and that “the worker customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.” This significantly limits the ability of businesses to retain contractors who may operate within the scope of work sometimes performed by employees in similar circumstances. It’s an unnecessary distinction that prohibits most businesses from working with independent contractors.

The ABC test forced the mass reclassification of California’s independent contractors, forcing countless residents to flee the Golden State to flee the state to pay their bills and chase their dreams. More than 90 percent of California independent contractors opposed the ABC test reclassification before it was signed into law by Su’s boss, Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom.

ATR has compiled 655 personal testimonials from independent contractors who details the ways that AB5 has hurt them, which you can view here

Su has been AB5’s most aggressive enforcer. In an interview, Su bragged about her ability to use government power to crush independent contractors: 

“The other [way to enforce AB5] is just doing investigations and audits. That will be on both wages and tax because AB5 expands the ABC test that way. So we will be doing investigations and audits so that those who want to comply with the need to reclassify can do so and those who don’t will understand that’s not the kind of economy we want in California. So we can issue citations and demand both wages and taxes and other kinds of penalties.”

Freelancers offer vibrancy to the American economy, and the ability to work as an independent contractor provides Americans with the flexibility that does not come with a traditional employment relationship. Think of a single mom earning a living by selling homemade goods on Etsy, or an Uber or Lyft driver using extra cash he earns to start a business of his own. These are real Americans chasing their dreams without the need to have a boss. 

In contrast, the left wants all Americans to have a boss. If you don’t want a boss, the left will use government power to bully you into compliance and force you to have a boss. 

Julie Su’s aggressive anti-independent contractor stance disqualifies her from serving as Deputy Labor Secretary. All senators should vote against Su’s nomination.