Sara Lonardo,, 202/730-7332

Issued April 27, 2017

SEIU’s Henry: Working families challenge Acosta to uphold DOL’s mission for working people

WASHINGTON—SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement after the United States Senate officially confirmed Alexander Acosta to be Secretary of Labor:

“Despite working longer and harder, working families in the U.S. continue to struggle to pay the bills without going into debt. Now that he has been confirmed, Alexander Acosta holds the vital position responsible for fulfilling the Department of Labor’s mission to ‘foster, promote and develop’ the ability of wage earners and working people to pay the bills, save for retirement and provide for their children. Working families will be watching and will hold him accountable for ensuring that high standard is met.

“President Trump has already proposed a budget that would significantly harm the Labor Department’s ability to crack down on unethical employers who put their employees in danger or steal their wages. Acosta refused to speak out against those actions or oppose dangerous budget cuts during his confirmation hearing, and SEIU members and working families across the country will now be looking for him to take DOL’s mission to heart. We will hold him accountable if he decides to defy the DOL mission and allows greedy corporations to continue to make record profits by taking advantage of working people.

“Working families need and deserve a Labor secretary who will put their interests first.  We have already seen cabinet appointments, especially Health & Human Services, Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, who are in direct opposition to the core values of SEIU members.  SEIU members and our families want affordable healthcare, justice for communities of color, and clean air and water. But most of all, SEIU members want fair treatment from employers and the ability for workers to join together in a union. We are challenging Secretary Acosta to uphold the rights of working people as the top enforcer of labor law in the US. We will keep a watchful eye on his actions and hold him accountable if he does not.”