President Biden on Tuesday announced his intention to nominate Julie Su, the deputy labor secretary, to succeed Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh, who has said he plans to leave the department in March.
Ms. Su has helped oversee a department that put forth a series of rules meant to benefit workers, including rules designed to protect workers from Covid-19, a rule making it more likely for workers to be classified as employees rather than contractors, and a rule that would probably raise the wages paid to workers on federally funded construction projects.
“Julie Su is broadly respected by unions, cares about the plight of workers, and folks appreciate her ability to manage the plumbing inside of D.O.L. and make the case to the world,” said Patrick Gaspard, a former senior union official and ambassador to South Africa who now heads the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
Ms. Su, a fluent speaker of Mandarin whose parents were immigrants, served as head of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency before joining the Biden administration in 2021.
Before entering government, she was known for her work in the 1990s on behalf of several dozen Thai seamstresses who had been forced to work in a Southern California sweatshop for far below the minimum wage until authorities freed them. Ms. Su helped the workers win compensation from the companies that used the sweatshop as a supplier. The MacArthur Foundation cited her work on behalf of the workers when it awarded her a “genius” grant in 2001.
This is a developing story. Watch for updates.