Julie Su is A Disaster for Small Businesses and American Workers

This morning, Julie Su – President Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Labor – will appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Su’s egregious record of implementing anti-small business and anti-worker policies will be on full display.

Su claims to support small businesses, but she has dedicated much of her career to destroying them. She has a history of targeting independent contractors like Uber drivers and midwives, seeking to eliminate franchises, and working to end the tipped minimum wage. Julie Su has made clear that she prioritizes unions over American workers. She has also proven not to be trustworthy when she oversaw the distribution of $30 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims during her tenure as California’s Labor Secretary.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board said it best, “Ms. Su has a record of putting union interests above those of individual workers or flexible business models that workers like but unions oppose.”

One thing is clear: Julie Su would be a disaster for small businesses and American workers.

What They Are Saying: Julie Su is A Disaster for Small Businesses and American Workers

  • Julie Su’s California Labor Department distributed $30 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims while overseeing the Employment Development Department (EDD).
    • Cottie Petrie-Norris, California State Representative (D): “[Su] has done a tremendous job on many different initiatives, but she has not done a good job at running the Employment Development Department and, as a result, has wasted billions of dollars and, more importantly, caused heartache for millions of Californians.” (Fox News, March 14, 2023)
    • Elaine Howle, California State Auditor: “Despite repeated warnings, EDD did not bolster its fraud detection efforts until months into the pandemic, and it suspended a critical safeguard which, combined, resulted in over $10 billion in claims that it has since determined may be fraudulent.” (Auditor.Ca.Gov, January 28, 2021)
    • Kerry Jackson, Center for California Reform Fellow: “Julie Su might not be the worst pick for U.S. Labor secretary in the 110-year history of the job, but many Californians might say as much if they had a chance to testify at her Senate confirmation hearing this week.” (City Journal, April 19, 2023)
    • International Franchise Association: “Deputy Secretary Su has been consistently hostile to small businesses throughout her career, and she mismanaged California’s unemployment insurance program as head of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Based on her record, she does not deserve a promotion from a largely operations role to the principal policymaker at the Department.” (IFA, February 28, 2023)
  • Julie Su led the charge for California’s AB-5, a state law reclassifying California independent contractors and attempting to end the gig economy.
    • Julie Su: “[AB-5] will set a model for the country.” (Orange County Register, April 8, 2023)
    • Kerry Jackson, Center for California Reform Fellow: “Should Su become secretary of Labor, there’s no doubt that she would work for a national version of AB-5—first through the PRO Act and then, if that fails, through an executive order drawn up by the Labor Department. She doesn’t seem to care that AB-5 is so despised among gig workers that they continue express their frustrations and anger on Twitter through hashtags like #RepealAB5, #FightForFreelancers, #independentcontractors, and #NoProAct.” (City Journal, April 19, 2023)
    • Evan Worrell, West Virginia State Delegate (R): “[AB-5] received major backlash that transcended party lines, as employers simply chose not to renew many freelance contracts. The wave of job loss caused not only heartache, but a swath of workers to seek employment in other states. […] It is imperative we get this nomination right — both my constituents and the rest of Mountain State’s workforce cannot afford otherwise” (Herald Dispatch, April 19, 2023)
    • American Trucking Association: “[AB-5] is an all-out assault, in our opinion, on a very vital component of our workforce. We feel she should atone for the time she spent shaping those policies.” (Los Angeles Times, April 18, 2023)
    • National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors: “AB-5 may be one of the most flawed business legislative initiatives in recent memory. The legislation has been so difficult to implement due to its flaws that the California state legislature and the Governor were forced to enact multiple new laws to exempt over 100 occupations, and was so unpopular that 59% of California voters voted via a ballot measure to roll back other provisions in the law.” (NAW, March 14, 2023)
  • Julie Su supports a new joint employer rule that would jeopardize 800,000 franchises.
    • Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “Ms. Su also opposes the franchise industry, a well-trod path for small-business ownership. She’s supported California’s FAST Act, which empowers an unelected board to impose work rules and a minimum wage as high as $22 an hour. California’s Department of Finance opposed the law, warning it would raise costs.” (WSJ, April 18, 2023)
    • National Review Editorial Board: “California also passed the FAST Act, which Su supports. That bill would allow government to micromanage the fast-food industry in the state, with an unelected board that would have the power to set wages and create new regulations. […] The FAST Act is so radical that even Californians said it went too far.” (National Review, March 2, 2023)
    • Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “Saddling franchisers with liability for thousands of franchise owners that actually operate the small business would be a sure way to destroy the system of franchising. This model has allowed those underrepresented in the business community, such as women and people of color, the ability to live the American dream, becoming successful small business owners as they help create jobs lifting other workers out of poverty.” (Floor speech, March 27, 2023)
    • National Restaurant Association: “Nine in 10 restaurants are small businesses. Ms. Su’s support of California’s FAST Act and other regulatory mandates unfairly target restaurant operators and set dangerous precedents for restaurants everywhere. In backing the FAST Act, she took a firm stance against entrepreneurship.” (National Restaurant Association, March 31, 2023)
  • Julie Su wants to eliminate the tipped minimum wage.
    • Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “She also wants to eliminate the so-called tip credit, which lets workers earn a lower minimum wage as long as their overall tips provide compensation at least equal to the statutory minimum. Most workers find they earn much more in tips, and last year voters in progressive Portland, Maine, defeated an initiative to replace the tip credit with a minimum wage. The Biden Labor Department has issued a rule limiting the number of employees who can qualify for the tip credit.” (WSJ, April 18, 2023)
    • Portland Press Herald: “Su’s confirmation would not only jeopardize this effort, but also would ensure that tipped workers in Maine and nationwide would face unprecedented threats to their livelihoods. […] It is clear that there could be no worse candidate to ‘advocate’ for workers than Julie Su, whose record demonstrates a commitment to policies that will create instability instead of transformation.” (Portland Press Herald, April 10, 2023)
    • Karen Anderson, Freelancers Against AB-5, and Tom Manzo, California Business and Industrial Alliance: “To put it plainly, Julie Su is anti-worker, anti-business, and anti-free market. She has proven time and time again that she will jump at every opportunity to increase regulations and restrictions on businesses. If Su is given the reins to the Department of Labor, the rest of the country will soon follow in California’s footsteps.” (Orange County Register, April 8, 2023)
    • Restaurant Workers of America: “Julie Su turned her back on tipped workers when she participated in an event describing our industry and livelihoods to a legacy of slavery. This kind of rhetoric is offensive to restaurant workers across the country.” (Politico, April 3, 2023)