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Alex Acosta by DonkeyHotey

Acosta: I work for Trump, el jefe

Politico reports that AFL-CIO's Trumka said Acosta had the chance to show how he would enforce labor law, but "he failed us"

Press and Media's picture
Mar 23, 2017

Acosta: Trump is Boss: Labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta left little doubt at his Wednesday confirmation hearing that he will be a loyal soldier for Trump. Acosta told the Senate HELP Committee that Cabinet members "work for Trump, and we will all ultimately follow his direction unless we feel that we can't."

"Senate Democrats grilled Acosta, in vain, about whether he would preserve Obama Labor Department regulations governing overtime pay, health and safety, and retirement," reports POLITICO's Marianne LeVine. "Acosta repeatedly declined to express his views, citing [Trump's] instructions that Cabinet members review all regulations for possible elimination or modification."

Acosta came closest to expressing an opinion on the subject of the Obama administration's overtime rule, which doubles (to $47,476) the salary threshold under which virtually all workers are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours in a given week. A federal judge enjoined the rule in November. The Obama administration filed an appeal, but it's doubtful that Trump will want to continue it.

"Noting that the overtime rule 'hasn't been updated since 2004,'", LeVine writes, "Acosta seemed to suggest he'd favor some increase in the salary threshold. But he also said he had 'serious questions' about the Labor secretary's authority to increase the threshold as high as $47,476. That 'goes beyond a cost of living adjustment,' he said, and suggested an inflation-adjusted threshold would be about $33,000."

What they are saying:

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka: "Working people wanted to hear how Mr. Acosta would enforce and uphold labor laws to benefit us and not further tilt the balance of power toward corporate CEOs.... Presented with the opportunity, he failed to do so."

National Restaurant Association Executive VP Cicely Simpson: "Mr. Acosta clearly has the experience and the knowledge to lead the Department of Labor.... We strongly urge the Senate to quickly confirm him so he can get to work helping American workers."

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry: "Working families need and deserve a Labor secretary who will put their interests first; Alexander Acosta is not that person. Senators should oppose his nomination."

Workforce Fairness Institute Spokesperson Heather Greenaway: "We are confident that he has the background and expertise to fight for workers and advance pro-growth policies that further everyday Americans' interests, not those of Big Labor bosses."

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