OPINION: Strong condemnation of Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor


Jewish Labor Committee cites his pro-corporate legal work against the rights of workers

AS A CORPORATE LAWYER, Eugene Scalia devoted his career to fighting for corporations and against workers’ rights, protections and economic security. The Republican-controlled Senate recently confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Scalia as Labor Secretary. – Cliff Owen/AP photo

One of the strongest condemnations yet of the recent appointment of Eugene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor was voiced recently by the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC).

“Workers in the United States need a Secretary of Labor who will defend their rights and interests, not one who, as his resume indicates, will advocate on behalf of corporate interests,” the JLC said.

In a blistering statement with ample justification, the JLC noted that as a partner in the Washington DC law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Scalia has a long career defending corporate interests against American workers. They cited the following:

  • He is anti-union: Scalia defended Boeing in a lawsuit brought by the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of its workers in Washington State who were threatened with the company leaving the state if the workers did not meet its demands.
  • He helped reverse stricter transparency regulations that the Obama Administration had required of financial advisors who recommend investments for retirees.
  • He is most known for defending Walmart against a proposed Maryland State law that would have required the industry giant to pay a portion of its payroll toward health insurance for its employees or pay into the State’s Medicaid fund.
  • Is on the wrong side of the “wage theft” issue; he defended Wynn Las Vegas Casinos arguing that employers had the right to take employees’ tips and redistribute them to other workers, including supervisors.
  • When a trainer at Sea World was killed by an Orca whale, Scalia argued that the theme park was not required to follow Federal safety standards that might have prevented the tragic death.
  • Led the opposition to OSHA ergonomic rules that would have protected an estimated 1,000,000 workers.
  • He lobbied against President Obama’s executive order requiring a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour for Federal contract workers.

The Jewish Labor Committee, an independent secular non-profit organization, is the voice of the Jewish community in the Labor Movement and the voice of the Labor Movement in the Jewish community. The JLC works with the trade union movement on important issues of shared interest and concern, in pursuit of a shared commitment to economic and social justice.



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