Politically, the tide is turning on Capitol Hill, and the latest evidence is the surprise defeat of David Weil as head of the Labor Department’s wages and hours division. Three Democrats — Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly — opposed the union favorite in the Senate.
Mr. Weil had the same job in the Obama administration when he tried to destroy the franchise business model and gig economy as Americans know it. President Biden nominated him for a second term in the expectation that he would regulate much of Big Labor’s Pro Act, which failed to pass the Senate.
Mr. Weil’s joint employer leadership during the Obama years held companies jointly and severally liable for their franchisee minimum wage and overtime violations. The unions want to remove the distinction between companies and franchisees to make organization easier.
Mr. Weil also redefined most independent contractors as “employees.” This meant so-called gig economy companies like Uber and Instacart had to plan shifts in advance, reducing worker flexibility and customer convenience, and increasing costs.
California’s AB5 law, which reclassifies most independent contractors as employees, was inspired by none other than Mr. Weil. And this could be one reason the two Democratic Arizona senators opposed his nomination. They’ve seen the headaches the law has caused for businesses and workers next door, and they don’t want them coming to Arizona. During the pandemic, more workers have turned to freelancing. So why would Mr Biden nominate someone for a top job at Labor who wants to kill his jobs?
Mr. Weil’s embarrassing defeat is a sign that the political mood on Capitol Hill is changing as the November election draws near. The president’s radical candidates, at least some of them, are coming under closer scrutiny.
These regulatory appointments will become more important as progressives turn to the executive branch to get what they can’t get in Congress. The next Biden candidate who deserves to be defeated: Gigi Sohn for the Federal Communications Commission.
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Appeared in the print edition on April 1, 2022.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-big-defeat-for-big-labor-david-weil-senate-kyrsten-sinema-joe-manchin-mark-kelly-11648763142 A great defeat for great work