The Leadership Conference Cannot Support the Nomination of Alex Acosta

Media 03.29,17

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions

View a PDF of this letter here.

Dear Chair Alexander and Ranking Member Murray:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 210 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we are writing to express that we cannot support the nomination of Alex Acosta for U.S. Secretary of Labor.  We believe that he failed to adequately respond at his confirmation hearing to many of the concerns that we raised prior to the hearing.

The Leadership Conference is committed to advancing the civil and human rights of all workers in America and believe it is critical that the American public and Department of Labor (DOL) employees can trust that the civil service will not be politicized under Mr. Acosta’s watch, and that the laws the Department is mandated to implement and enforce will be carried out effectively.

Fundamental to DOL’s mission is protecting the welfare, health, and safety of workers and insuring compliance with labor standards. While DOL is expected to serve as a voice and advocate for all workers, its role is particularly critical in ensuring that those most vulnerable, including migrant workers and other workers of color, are treated fairly.  Unfortunately, Mr. Acosta was evasive in his testimony, refusing to answer specific questions posed at the hearing about the pending overtime regulations, the fiduciary rule, silica standards, and pay equity for women.  In addition, he did not even address the need to increase the minimum wage, which is so critical for workers of color and other low-wage workers.

Given that Mr. Acosta refused to make any specific commitments on the record about how he will ensure that DOL’s policy and enforcement work will be effectively carried out to further the interests of all workers, we cannot support his nomination. If confirmed, The Leadership Conference will closely monitor his actions and seek to hold him accountable. We urge the Committee to do the same. If you have any questions, please contact June Zeitlin, Director of Human Rights Policy at The Leadership Conference, at [email protected] or at 202-263-2852.



Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President