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ATA Opposes Bidens DOL Nomination Citing Her AB5 Stance

The American Trucking Association has expressed their opposition to Julie Su’s nomination as U.S. Secretary of Labor.

This opposition stems from Su’s role in helping pass and implement California’s AB 5 as Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

“… we have grave concerns over Ms. Su’s role in implementing California’s disastrous AB 5, which essentially outlawed this business model for trucking,” wrote ATA President & CEO Chris Spear. “Her responses to questions posed during Committee consideration of her nomination and a lack of outreach to the business community she would be charged with regulating have failed to reassure the trucking industry on how she would approach such an existential issue if confirmed to lead the Department of Labor.”

Back in March, Spear wrote a letter to Congress, “We are concerned by Ms. Su’s public position on key issues, most notably her leading opposition to the right of drivers to operate as independent contractors — a cornerstone of trucking,” Spear wrote. “For 90 years, the economy and supply chain has benefited from the power of individuals to run their own trucking businesses. More than 90 percent of motor carriers operate six trucks or fewer, many of whom started as independent owner-operators and continue to operate in that capacity.”

Currently, Su’s nomination is on pause in the Senate due to not having enough votes to be confirmed into the role.

In Biden’s nomination back in February, he called Su, “a tested and experienced leader, who will continue to build a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive economy that provides Americans a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead.”

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear has called on the industry to oppose any nominee who considers AB 5 a successful policy. 

“[t]hat state bill was designed to strip independent drivers of the freedom of choice to operate as contractors. It wreaked havoc on tens of thousands of small businesses. It forced families to leave California to preserve their incomes and their way of life.”

Spear goes on to say, “Its destruction of the ecosystem of independent contractors in California would be an unparalleled disaster for our supply chains if rolled out nationwide. Freight would cease to move, and the American dream for hundreds of thousands of small businessmen and women could be eradicated.”

Other organizations have expressed a similar concern with Su’s nomination. Notable groups are the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Truckload Carriers Association.

OODIA and TCA’s have also shown concern for DOL potentially revising its own guidance in determining who is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Todd Spencer, president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, has also expressed his concern over Su’s nomination, saying the Senate should “reject her nomination in order to protect the livelihoods and careers of the hard-working truckers we represent.”

“We remain concerned by the notice of proposed rulemaking published by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in October 2022, because it would likely have a similar effect as California’s AB 5 unless the administration changes course. Ms. Su already has significant authority over that rulemaking in her current position as Deputy Secretary of Labor and would have nearly complete authority to author a final rule if confirmed as Secretary,” Spear wrote. 

“Our nation’s truckers cannot support her elevation to that position given her demonstrated willingness to eliminate the independent contractor business model and throw supply chains into chaos, and her unwillingness to address this matter with the Senate or our industry.”

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