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Democracy Now

Acosta is no friend to labor

Trump’s next pick to lead the Labor Department went easy on child molesters

Kris LaGrange's picture
Feb 17, 2017

After Trump’s first selection for Labor Secretary Andrew Puzder crashed and burned, Trump announced yesterday the nomination of Alexander Acosta.  While he is better than Puzder, do not be fooled he is no friend to labor.

Alexander Acosta, is a former National Labor Relations Board member.  He served during the Bush years from December of 2002 until August of 2003, when he left to join the Civil Rights division of at the Justice Department. Acosta then served as the US Attorney for the Southern district of Florida and most recently as the Dean of the law school at Florida International University.  

Acosta brings with him serious baggage that should worry many in the union movement.  In 2008, the Justice Department’s Inspector General found that Acosta failed to “sufficiently supervise” one of his top aides at the civil rights division who illegally used political and ideological affiliations as a litmus test to evaluate job candidates and career attorneys, favoring conservative blowhards and Republicans. If Acosta is approved, he will now be in charge of enforcing laws that promote fair hiring, a law he failed to comply with at the Justice Department.  As US Attorney, he also faced controversy after he cut a deal with Trump confidant Jeffery Epstein who was accused of sexual misconduct with a dozen underage girls.  Instead of a long jail sentence, Epstein pled guilty to one count of soliciting a prostitute and one count of soliciting a prostitute who was a minor and spent 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County jail. At the time, Epstein was a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. 

Acosta is definitely more qualified to be Labor Secretary and is a more moderate choice then Puzder, but he’s still a staunch conservative.  According to Politico, anti-union forces are cheering the nomination.  Congresswomen Virginia Foxx, who said last year that she thinks that unions are no longer needed, said that Acosta will make a fine Secretary of Labor.  Hal Coxson, of the union busting law firm Ogletree Deakins, which was the main law firm that was brought in to bust the Boeing Union drive, told Morning Shift that Acosta would "likely be very supportive of free enterprise, job creation and reducing government regulations that burden job creation."

Labor leaders have also commented on the appointment.  AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that unlike Puzder, Acosta deserves serious consideration. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) also issued a press release supporting the nomination of Acosta. What the fcuk?

 It should worry every union member that anti-union forces like Foxx and Ogletree Deakins are so happy with the nomination of Acosta.  After the Epstein trial, Acosta admitted that he came under intense pressure from Epstein’s lawyers to go easy on him. To many, it looked like he caved in.  We have to wonder, if Acosta comes under the same pressure from Foxx and other anti-union forces, will he cave in and give them sweetheart deals as well?

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