Trump's Labor Guy is Out
UCOMM exposed Alexander Acosta's child abuse deal coverup two years ago
On Friday, embattled Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned. At a press conference announcing his resignation, Trump called Acosta "a great Labor secretary not a good one" and "a tremendous talent.”
Acosta resigned just two days after holding a press conference of his own where he said that he would not step down and defended himself against accusations that he gave billionaire Jeffery Epstein a sweetheart deal when he was an Assistant US attorney.
The deal is coming under new scrutiny after Epstein was arrested last week and was charged with sex trafficking. In 2008, when Acosta was the Assistant US Attorney, Acosta was charged with prosecuting Epstein for a number of sex crimes. Instead of throwing the book at him, Acosta allowed Epstein to cut a plea deal that allowed him to serve just 18 months in jail. Epstein was also allowed to leave the prison during the day to go to work in his office. The case was recently reexamined when the Miami Herald published a lengthy story on it and a district court judge ruled that the plea deal violated the Crime Victims Rights Act. The Justice Department has also opened an investigation into Epstein’s handling of the case.
Union leaders have been split on how to handle Acosta. Some, like American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and the Communications Workers of America, have been calling for his resignation for months.
“The facts that have emerged about Alex Acosta's role in reducing Jeffrey Epstein's sentence for his vile crimes have made it clear that he thinks there is one set of rules for the rich and powerful, and another set for everyone else,” the Communications Workers of America said in a statement. “This double standard has no role in the Labor Department or any other part of our government, and we welcome his resignation.”
Yet many at the AFL-CIO and their affiliate unions have kept quiet. While Acosta was bad for labor, recent stories have said that administration officials were frustrated with Acosta’s slow pace in repealing pro-worker regulations.
Those fears may come to fruition as Trump has named Patrick Pizzella as acting Labor Secretary. Pizzella worked alongside disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to shield the Northern Mariana Islands from federal labor laws in the 1990s and has deep ties to groups like the National Right to Work Foudnation and the Chamber of Commerce. Some of the work that Pizzella did with Abramoff included lobbying against Northern Mariana residents being subject to a minimum wage.
When Pizzella faced a Senate hearing to be confirmed as Deputy Labor Secretary, Senator Al Franken accused him of lobbying on behalf of employers who were abusing female workers including forcing them to have abortions, forced prostitution, and beatings.
“If the president is serious about helping working people, selecting Patrick Pizzella wouldn't be the way to demonstrate that,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement. “My dealings with Patrick have been limited, but his dubious track record, including his association with Jack Abramoff, doesn't bode well."