March 25, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – The AFL-CIO announced Mar. 22 that it was opposed to the confirmation of Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor.
The announcement came after the nominee told a Senate committee that he would not commit to defending the Obama administration’s increasing the number of salaried workers eligible for overtime pay against a court challenge.
He said that while he believed that the threshold for exemption should be more than $23,000 a year, raising it to $47,000 would create “a stress on the system,” and there were “serious questions as to whether the Secretary of Labor even has the power to enact this.” “Alex Acosta’s testimony today raises serious questions and doubts whether he is committed to making life better for working families,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “Presented with the opportunity, he failed to do so and ensure America’s workers he’s on our side.” The federation had previously called Acosta a great improvement on Trump’s previous choice, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, and said that he “deserves serious consideration.” Acosta also refused to promise Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that he would preserve a rule strengthening standards for exposure to cancer-causing silica dust. Read more