When we heard that Trump nominated two anti-labor nominees to administrative positions at the Department of Labor, Working WA members stepped up to tell Senator Patty Murray what to ask them about at their confirmation hearings.
Cheryl Stanton, who Trump nominated as the head of the Wage and Hour Division, has spent nine years at a law firm representing big corporations that were accused of wage theft & misclassifying drivers. Not only that, she was also sued last year for failing to pay her OWN house cleaners!
And David Zatezalo, Trump’s pick for head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, is a former mining exec at a coal company. His company has been cited for 160 health & safety violations by the very agency he’s being nominated to run — including a roof collapse that killed one miner.
Washington’s own Senator Patty Murray is a key member of the committee that held confirmation hearings for Stanton & Zatezalo. Sen. Murray said she was disappointed with the timing of the hearings (which coincided with two Senate votes) and their length (just 90 minutes), which didn’t allow her to ask the questions she wanted to ask. At the end of the hearings, she said she planned to submit inquiries for the DOL nominees in writing instead.
This week, the committee narrowly approved both Stanton and Zatezalo in a 12-11 vote (with Sen. Murray voting against both), which means their nominations will be passed on to the full Senate for a vote. As the Senate decides whether to confirm these nominees, here are a few questions that hundreds of Working WA members have for them:
- Cheryl Stanton: What do you have to say about your history representing employers in wage disputes?
- Cheryl Stanton: Why haven’t you paid your own house cleaners?
- David Zatezalo: What were you doing when your company was cited in a roof collapse that killed a worker?
And here are some of the other questions we have for these anti-worker nominees…
For Cheryl Stanton, the Wage and Hour Division nominee:
- Will you advocate for employees? (Madeline, Seattle)
- How do you feel about an increase to the federal minimum wage? (Heather, Bellevue)
- How about paid maternal leave to close the wage gap? (David)
- How about pay equity for women? (Sandra, Vashon)
- What are your current investments? (Thomas)
For David Zatezalo, the Mine Safety & Health Administration nominee:
- What have you done to support workers that you think qualifies you to be in charge of Mine Safety or Health Administration? (Ronald)
- How about putting displaced coal miners to work remediating old coal mines? (David)
- Do you consider 17 mining violations/$500 thousand in fines while president of mining companies a good record? (Jerry)
- Were all your company’s violation fines paid in full? (Thomas)
- What are you doing to ensure safety inspections for the miners that won't get biased reports? (Geri, Port Townsend)
- Will you uphold OSHA regulations? (Madeline, Seattle)
For both nominees:
- What are your qualifications for this job? (Patrick, Seattle & Jean, Seattle)
- With your past record, how are you going to advocate for workers? (Jerry, Enumclaw)
- Why do you want this job? (Roseann)
- Who would you represent if nominated? (James)
- Why do you think you can represent workers, or do you just plan on giving your old bosses more breaks? (Wesley, Vancouver)
- Why do you want to advocate for workers when it is obvious that you abhor them? (Glen)
- What makes you think you can do this job? Are you familiar with the fox in the henhouse? (Dennis)
- How do you feel about the push for $15 per hour federal minimum wage? (David, Kirkland)
- With your background, why should any worker believe you're qualified and committed to protecting workers? (Paige, Shoreline)
- Whose side are you on, the workers or the employers? Can you fairly run your agencies? (Robert)
- How would you encourage union organizing? (Joan)
- They wouldn't appoint a general to lose a war. So why have an anti-labor Labor Secretary? (William)
- If you were in a worker’s position, would you feel confident in nominees with similar history as yours to represent you? (Isaac, Bothell)
- How can you expect to regulate the corporations when your employment history has been in those industries? (Randy, Seattle)
- What do you believe is the primary directive of the Dept. of Labor? Do you intend to foster or subvert it? (Richard, Vashon Island)
- What were your revenue sources in the last 5 years? How would those sources affect your administration? (Howard)
- Where do you stand on expanded labor rights for workers in the workplace? (Robert)
- You seem to believe that profit has more value than people and the planet — can you please explain? (Don, Kettle Falls)
- WHY! (Joe)
Thanks for submitting your questions for the DOL nominees & making your voice heard!