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Rodriguez Starts as ETA Assistant Secretary; Su to Testify on Appropriations

Washington Update

Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration

Jose Javier Rodriguez has finally been confirmed as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  On Thursday, March 21, the Senate voted 50-48 to confirm the former Florida state lawmaker as Assistant Secretary of the DOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Senator Joe Manchin (WV) was the sole ‘no’ Democratic vote. Rodriguez’s nomination had been stalled since last November, when both Manchin and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) joined Republicans in blocking his advancement. Rodríguez, a workers’ rights lawyer, served from 2016 to 2020 in the Florida Senate, where he represented coastal Miami-Dade County cities including Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Key Biscayne and downtown Miami. Before that, he served two two-year terms in the Florida House. USCM supported Mr. Rodriguez’s nomination when he was first put forth by President Biden for the position.

Click here to read the USCM Support Letter. 

House Committee Hearing on Appropriations

On Wednesday, May 1, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su will testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on President Biden’s FY25 budget request for her agency. The hearing, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Department of Labor,” will focus on department operations and the President’s FY25 budget request.

Click here to view a livestream of the hearing.

Department of Labor Overtime Rule 

On Tuesday, April 23, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled its long-awaited final rule that will change overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Taking effect July 1, workers making just under $44,000 will be entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a given week before increasing to $58,656 at the beginning of 2025 — up from the $35,568 overtime threshold set in 2019 by DOL under former President Trump. Additionally, salary thresholds will update every three years starting on July 1, 2027. Under former President Obama, the Department attempted to set a higher threshold but was stopped by a federal judge in Texas. Tuesday’s regulation is likely to face similar challenges, although Biden officials believe it will hold up in court. When DOL released their initial proposed rule in August 2023, they estimated it would benefit 3.6 million workers.

Click here to access the final rule.

Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Appropriations

On Tuesday, April 30, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will testify before the Senate Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee on President Biden’s FY25 budget request. Cardona will likely face questions related to the department’s rocky rollout of the student aid application, turmoil on college campuses, and new Title IX rules.

Click here to access a live broadcast of the hearing.

USCM ASWA/WIOA Reauthorization Mayoral Sign-on Letter

Last week, on behalf of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Jobs, Education, and the Workforce Committee, USCM announced A Stronger Workforce for America (ASWA)/Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Reauthorization Mayoral Sign-On Letter. This letter was sent to all mayors in an Action Alert memo from USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.

Mayor Gallego is leading USCM’s advocacy efforts on WIOA reauthorization/ASWA. This sign-on letter outlines mayors’ significant concerns in ASWA regarding the bill’s local workforce area redesignation language, fifty percent training mandate for adult and dislocated workers, and increased state set-aside. It is critical that all WDC members inform their mayors about the letter and encourage them to sign on by accessing the portal below. The deadline to sign is Thursday, May 9th, 2024 by 9:00 p.m. ET.  If and when your mayor wants to sign on, they must use their own specific log-in credentials provided to them prior by USCM staff to ensure a secure and legitimate approval process. Alternatively, the mayor or his/her designee can request log-in credentials by emailing Jim Welfley on the USCM staff at

Click here to access a PDF version of the letter.

Click here to access Tom Cochran’s Action Alert to All Mayors.

If you have any questions, or are having issues accessing the portal please contact Kevin Verge,

Department of Labor H-2A Final Rule

On Friday, April 26, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that will update existing law to increase protections for temporary or seasonal agriculture workers who receive H-2A visas, including increasing wage transparency and adding more protections against labor trafficking and employer retaliation. The rule, published in the federal register today, will take effect in 60 days. It prohibits employers from confiscating workers’ travel or immigration documents and requires employers to disclose details of their agreements with H-2A foreign recruiters, including names and locations. The Department of Labor also specifies under what circumstances H-2A workers could be legally terminated to protect them from employer retaliation. Employers who only hire agricultural workers are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act, which provides union organizing protections to employees in most private workplaces. Under the rule, H-2A workers could now select a representative to attend any disciplinary meetings with them.

Click here to read the full press release.

White House Announces Workforce Hubs

On Thursday, April 25, President Biden announced four new Workforce Hubs to get U.S. workers prepared for manufacturing jobs. While visiting Syracuse, Biden announced the new hubs in upstate New York, Michigan, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia and touted a $6.1 billion preliminary agreement with Micron to expand its semiconductor manufacturing operations in New York as well as Idaho. The White House said the upstate New York hub will help workers enter the semiconductor manufacturing field, the Michigan hub will benefit workers breaking into the electric vehicle industry as the Administration looks to retool existing auto plants to shift to EV production, and the Milwaukee and Philadelphia hubs will train workers to replace lead pipes to follow through on President Biden’s commitment to replace lead pipes in water systems through the country within 10 years. Previously, the Administration announced investments in five hubs in Columbus, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Phoenix, and Augusta, Georgia.

Click here to read the White House press release on the Workforce Hubs.

Click here to read a White House article on President Biden’s Workforce Strategy.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending April 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 207,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 212,000. The 4-week moving average was 213,250, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 214,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending April 13, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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