Incoming acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella will replace Alex Acosta after his resignation. Pizzella, who is now the deputy Labor secretary, has a questionable past, according to CNBC.
Pizzella worked for ill reputed Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the 1990s and 2000s at his lobbying firm, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds. Pizzella lobbied on behalf of sweatshops, urging Congress to not impose minimum wage laws in the Northern Mariana Islands.
“Foreign workers pay up to $7,000 to employers or middlemen for the right to a job in the CNMI. When they finally reach the Commonwealth, they are assigned to tedious, low paying work for long hours with little or no time off. At night they are locked in prison-like barracks,” one government report said.
In 2006, Abramoff was found guilty of fraud and was sentenced to six years in prison.
During Pizzella’s confirmation hearings in 2017, former Senator Al Franken said, “You’ve been nominated to a position where you’ll be closely involved with enforcing minimum wage laws and other worker protections. Yet, as we discussed in my office, one of the key issues you lobbied on was to block bipartisan legislation for basic worker protections in the Northern Mariana Islands, where garment manufacturers could produce clothing labeled made in the U.S.A. without having to comply with U.S. minimum wage laws.”
Kristine Lucius, the executive vice president for policy and government affairs at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, also weighed in. She said Pizzella’s past “shows he has a clear bias against working people’s rights- which may be good for Trump’s agenda, but bad for the people the department is meant to serve.”
Pizzella was confirmed to his post in April 2018. Following Acosta’s resignation, he will become the new Labor Secretary.
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